How to transition from swaddling

How to transition from swaddling

I was (and still am) the swaddle pro of our entire family. When someone has a new baby around here, they turn to me for advice on how to wrap up their new bundle of joy just like the hospital nurses do. Ever since I read Happiest Baby on the Block, I have been a devout “swaddler” of newborns. My kids loved being wrapped up tight like little burritos, and as weird as it may seem it’s been proven through research that swaddling makes babies feel comfortable and safe. It’s my number one tip for helping your newborn chill out. Sadly, this swaddling phase of life does not last forever and when it comes to an end a lot of parents are left thinking, “Well, what now?” and hoping they won’t be giving up too much sleep. Luckily, there are some ways to ease out of this phase and into a swaddle transition.

How to transition from swaddling

The first parenthood struggle about this subject will probably be about how to know your baby is ready to stop being swaddled. There is not set in stone answer obviously, but there are some typical signs that it’s time. At some point, your baby just will not stay swaddled through naptime or at night. This means they have become strong enough to escape their comfy warm burrito. They may also begin to fight being wrapped into a swaddle in the first place and especially want their arms to be free. The clearest indicator that it’s time to stop swaddling is when they begin to roll over. It’s obviously dangerous for your baby to sleep on their belly in a swaddle and if they can get in that position themselves then it’s no longer safe to have them wrapped up.

Once you have made the decision to stop swaddling, you should know there is going to be a bit of a transition period. Especially if your baby was a big fan of being all wrapped up, they might not quite know what to do with themselves. Just be patient, it will all get easier once you have a new routine.

Understanding the Moro Reflex

You probably have seen babies fling their arms up in the air with clenched fists while bringing their knees close to their chest. This funny little move is the Moro reflex. It is often referred to as the startle reflex and is your baby’s attempt to protect itself from any danger. The What to Expect books do a great job of explaining what the Moro reflex is really all about and how swaddling helps babies feel secure which keeps them asleep.

While it’s incredible that humans are born with this reflex, it can be a real pain when trying to lock down a sleep routine. Understanding this reflex is an important part of knowing if your baby still needs to be swaddled or if they can move on to a new phase.

How to do the Swaddle Transition – 4 Easy Steps

1. Loosen up.

No, not your overall attitude (although I could definitely use this tip, personally) This step will help you to determine if your baby is ready to stop being swaddled. Loosen your swaddle up a bit from how you usually secure it. This will help the transition from being held in so tightly. If they escape from this loose swaddle, it will also be a clear sign it’s time to move forward.

2. Swaddle leaving one arm free.

Your baby probably has one dominant arm and it’s best to choose this as the arm to be free. For this step and the next one, there are some awesome swaddle blanket options to make it a little easier.

How to transition from swaddling

3. Swaddle with both arms free.

When attempting this step, it is important to check again if your baby is really ready to transition out of swaddling. If they’re still showing signs of the Moro-reflex or they aren’t sleeping well, it might be too early still.

4. Wearable blankets!

These little contraptions are a lifesaver going through this transition. They were not popular when my oldest kids were babies, but are now super popular and something every mom should have. They will comfort your baby without the restriction of swaddling.

Best Swaddle Blankets for Swaddle Transition

As with all baby products, make sure to read the safety guidelines for each of these items before trying them out.

  • The Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit
    How to transition from swaddling
  • Zipadee-Zip
    How to transition from swaddling
  • Woombie ConvertibleHow to transition from swaddling
  • Love to Dream Swaddle Up 50/50
    How to transition from swaddling
  • Anna & Eve Swaddle Strap
    How to transition from swaddling

After some time, sadly your baby won’t be so much of a baby at all! As they become toddlers, they will grow out of needing any type of sleep comfort like this but don’t worry the next stage of “fun” begins! Let’s talk about climbing into mom and dad’s bed….WOOHOO!

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Pin for Later – How to do the Swaddle Transition – 4 Easy Steps

How to transition from swaddling

How to transition from swaddling

March 24, 2018 6:46 am Amber Mamian Filed Under: Baby, Month 4-6, Month 7-9

So you’ve reached that wonderful — and often dreaded milestone: your baby is ready to give up the swaddle. But are you? Do you know how to wean from swaddling?

Many parents of newborns worry that they will have to actively “wean” their baby from swaddling. Luckily, babies often send clear signals that they don’t like being swaddled anymore as they get more mobile. You’ll learn:

  • When to stop
  • Intermediate options to try
  • Helpful products to try
  • Wakefulness windows for babies

How to transition from swaddling

When to Stop Swaddling

On average, babies are ready to be weaned off swaddling between three and four months. However, many babies continue to enjoy being swaddled for naps while not be swaddled for night sleep. That’s ok! It’s more difficult to go to sleep during the day so swaddling can help.

It’s time to stop swaddling when your baby:

  • Wiggles out of their swaddling blanket frequently.
  • Rolls over
  • Fights the swaddle more than usual
  • No longer quiets easily when swaddled

Too early to sleep train? What can you do until then?
Read: Starting Sleep Training? 10 Steps to Take BEFORE You Start

How to Wean From Swaddling

  • Try swaddling her with one arm out. If she fusses and hits herself, she is not ready. Try again in a couple of weeks.
  • If she is happy, leave her arm out. In a couple of days or weeks you can try putting her down with both arms out. It’s ok to keep the torso swaddled if your baby likes it!
  • Some babies even like having their legs unswaddled first before trying the arms. It’s worth a try!
  • If your newly unswaddled baby is fussing when you put him down, you can stay by his crib and put your hands on his chest to calm him. Then slowly reduce the pressure, and finally lift your hands off completely. Be careful, you don’t want to form a new sleep crutch during this process.
  • You can begin weaning at night first and work on naps later if you have been swaddling for naps in addition to nights, and your baby is not yet rolling but you sense it’s around the corner, .
  • If your baby is rolling, it’s time to start weaning him off the swaddle, one arm at a time, right away. If your baby is not rolling yet but busting out of her swaddle despite your expert swaddling techniques, try transitioning with a blanket sleeper, or a sleep sack. That will let them move around, but still give them that cuddly contained feeling. You can even try a sleep sack with “wings” that you can gradually loosen.

What is the Sleep Lady Shuffle?
Read: The Sleep Lady Shuffle: How to Gently Sleep Train your Baby

Products that Help You Wean From Swaddling

Swaddle Up 50/50 by Love To Dream

Designed with safety in mind, the Swaddle Up line of baby sleep sacks can be used from the newborn stage on. The Swaddle Up 50/50 is specifically designed for the baby who is weaning from the swaddle. Hana-Lia Krawchuk, founder and owner of the Love To Dream three-stage swaddle and sleeping system, identifies the transition period as whenever the baby first rolls.

“Rolling is a pretty big milestone for babies. They start rolling at anywhere from three to six months in a full-term baby. And we get questions about direction — rolling is rolling. Once they start showing signs of rolling, they need to get out of the swaddle for safety and development.”

How to transition from swaddlingAll of the sleep sacks from Love to Dream feature hands-up wings and a safe, gentle, lower-body swaddle with legs and hips free to move. Once a baby gets rolling, the 50/50 — designed for babies who are 4 months and up or who show signs of rolling — features zip-off wings. The wings can be removed one at a time to ease the transition to hands-free, and are soft and silent enough to be removed after the baby has fallen asleep!

How to transition from swaddling

Wish I’d known about this book sooner!

“I feel so confident having this book to refer to and know that I can do this easily and in a short amount of time! You will not regret buying this book!”

Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit

Another product clients raved about is called the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. Developed by a pediatric physical therapist, it is a sleep suit that is made of a soft material that provides “input” to the baby to calm the startle reflex while still providing baby the freedom to move arms and legs. Perfect for babies who are not rolling yet, still have their startle reflex, and are busting out of their more traditional swaddle blanket. The Magic Sleepsuit keeps baby warm all night long, with easy access zippers and no loose blankets or material.

How to transition from swaddlingBe Mindful of Wakeful Windows and Tummy Time

During waking hours, babies need to have time to move and practice rolling both directions. Make sure your baby has plenty of tummy time during the day so that they can master their new skills. Don’t forget to watch for your baby’s sleep windows so he is not over tired.

Remember that your child’s naps are changing in the next few months, so take a few minutes to look at the appropriate nap and wakeful window schedule for your baby:

Want to know more about flexible schedules?
Read: Sample Schedules: Sleep and Naps From 6 Months to Preschool

Now that you know when to stop swaddling, you can plan ahead to make an easier transition. It is always easier with a well-rested baby. Try to keep naps within your baby’s “wakeful window” of 1-1.5 hours to avoid an overtired baby. Be consistent with your pre-sleep routine as you begin swaddle weaning.

Chances are, within a few nights, your baby will enjoy being able to move around freely, and the swaddle will be a distant memory!

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Author: The Sleep Lady

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!

Sleep Schedules for Your Baby – Video from Kids in the House

My 8 Month Old is Standing In the Crib — It’s Disrupting Her Sleep

“How do I Transition or Wean My Baby from a Snug Swaddle?” is a question we often hear.

We offer a new EASY way to transition baby from a snug swaddle.

Our Transitional Swaddle Sack® has a snug body and uniquely shaped ¾ length, arms up, sleeves with fold over mitten cuffs that may be worn open or closed.

How to transition from swaddling

When the cuffs are closed the sleeves provide partial suppression of the Moro (Startle) reflex, and very importantly, if baby were to roll over, baby can use their arms to push up and get access to air.

How to transition from swaddling

Our Transitional Swaddle Sack may be used from Day One under a Swaddle blanket or by itself.

Cuffs may be worn open so baby can self soothe or closed if concerned about facial scratches.

How to transition from swaddling

It’s great for babies who prefer to sleep with their arms up, and it is recognized by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as Hip Healthy.

How to transition from swaddling

The Transitional Swaddle Sack is a very important, patent pending innovation for babies who can roll over, but are not ready for a loose sleeping sack or who do not sleep well in a roomier wearable blanket.

The Transitional Swaddle Sack is the ideal Stage 2 Safe Sleepwear solution.

How to transition from swaddling

The Transitional Swaddle Sack bridges the gap between a snug classic swaddle and a loose sleeping sack.

It has a 2 way zipper and is easy to use:

How to transition from swaddling

The Transitional Swaddle Sack with Arms Up design supports multiple natural sleep positions and partially suppresses the Moro (Startle) Reflex while providing swaddle comfort and support.

How to transition from swaddling

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents to stop restraining baby’s arms in a snug swaddle around two to three months or when baby shows signs of starting to roll over. However, many babies are not ready and are unable to sleep well in a loose wearable blanket at this stage. If parents continue to swaddle their baby with arms restrained at this stage, the risk of suffocation increases if baby was to roll over.

To address this issue, our founder, an experienced nurse, created The Transitional Swaddle Sack® with Arms Up and Mitten Cuffs. It is a very important innovation in Safe Sleepwear – especially for babies who can roll over.

Lynette, our founder, has made it her life mission, and the mission of SwaddleDesigns, to help new parents prevent sleep deprivation and exhaustion by providing educational content based on the AAP safe sleep recommendations and to provide safer sleepwear for babies.

How to transition from swaddling

To further help new parents, our founder created a 3 Stage Guide to help parents better understand the 3 stages of safe sleepwear when dressing baby for sleep.

Please consider the following solutions for a good night’s sleep from Birth to 18mo:

How to transition from swaddling

How to transition from swaddling

How to transition from swaddling

How to transition from swaddling

Our products are designed with baby’s best interest in mind and your style at heart®

After the first few months, it might be time for your baby to transition out of the swaddling stage. Watch for these signs.

By Grace Toby January 25, 2019

How to transition from swaddling

From the minute the labour and delivery nurse swaddled Joanne Sacchetti’s newborn twins, Nico and Serafina, the pair were happy and content cocooned in their wraps. “After being so compact inside, I guess it made sense that they would yearn for the same on the outside,” she says. But four months later, while Nico didn’t stir from his “baby burrito” during sleep time, Serafina would Houdini her way out, wiggling her hands and then her arms until she broke free. She slept soundly once her arms were out, but she soon learned to roll over. It was time to say “so long” to the beloved swaddle.

Swaddling, or wrapping a baby up in a blanket so their arms and legs are snug and secure, is an age-old technique that can help newborns sleep longer and cry less. It’s designed to recreate the cozy feeling of the womb. In North America, 90 percent of infants are swaddled during their first few months of life. While swaddling is wildly popular, it can also be a contentious topic, and there are ever-changing guidelines on how to do it safely. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), swaddled babies should always be placed on their backs, never on their stomachs or sides. Parents should use swaddling only for sleep and give baby plenty of time when awake to explore and move. And it’s important to leave some room for the legs to move to avoid hip problems. The CPS also warns against overheating the baby with too many layers. Still, when it’s done properly, swaddling is a great way to help your baby—and you—sleep better.

Swaddling comes with a shelf life. “We recommend transitioning out of a swaddle between four and six months, but it could be as early as three months,” says Sarah Gander, a paediatrician in Saint John, NB. It depends on when your infant starts to move and learns to roll over. Once they can roll, if the baby’s face ends up against the mattress, they could suffocate, so they need their arms and hands free (as well as more mobility in their legs) to be able to reposition themselves.

The CPS also recommends keeping the crib free of quilts, comforters, bumper pads, pillows and other soft items. That means you’ll need to wait until your baby is 12 months before using that cute blanket Grandma knit. How to transition from swaddlingWhy I carried my baby in a tikinagan

When it’s time to stop swaddling your baby, there are two options: Go cold turkey and remove the wrap entirely, or do it gradually, by taking one arm out for a few naps and nights, later followed by the other, says Gander. However, if the baby begins to fully roll over at any point (from back to front, or from tummy to back), then you must remove the swaddle—period. It may take the baby anywhere from a few nights to a couple of weeks to adjust to this change. (Sorry!) If they’re just showing signs of being more active and attempting to roll, this could be a good opportunity to start the transition.

What’s next? For some infants, a hybrid sleep sack, which can include the swaddling option for one or both arms but has more room for the hips and legs to extend, is a short-term post-swaddling solution. However, many infants transition straight to a regular sleep sack, a wearable bag-like blanket that doesn’t carry the risk of smothering or getting tangled around the baby.

“The sleep sack has been shown to be a safe option in lieu of loose blankets,” says Gander. But, she adds, it won’t add the same amount of pressure and coziness as swaddling, so it may take a few winks for them to get used to this new sleeping situation.

Alanna McGinn, a sleep consultant and the founder of Good Night Sleep Site, also says a sleep sack is an effective way to replace swaddling. “A sleep sack is a great transitional piece because it keeps arms free but still provides a sense of security and the feeling of something around their legs.” McGinn adds that some parents use this time to remove all external sleep aids, such as a pacifier or feeding and rocking the child to sleep.

If you do opt for a sleep sack, McGinn offers some suggestions. Remember, consistency is key. Make the sack part of both their nap and nighttime routines, so this new prop will signal that it’s time for sleep. Check the fit: It should be snug around the arms and neck, and looser around the legs. “Ensure they can’t get it over their face. Sleep sacks are big, so it’s normal for them to be loose, but you want to make sure they can’t slip down inside the bag,” says McGinn.

After swaddling, Sacchetti decided to move the twins to a hybrid sleep sack, which gave her the option to keep their arms in or out and didn’t restrict their hips and legs. She followed this up by removing all sleep aids, and put them to sleep in footed PJs only. This worked for a short time, but then at nine months, with the temperature dipping, the pair needed an extra layer in the crib. “I now put them both in sleep sacks that keep them warm and cozy, and help them sleep soundly,” she says.

A swaddle is used to simulate the warmth and comfort babies feel while being carried in the womb. It’s the easiest, most effective way to make newborns feel secure before and during bedtime. Swaddle transition products work to provide the same level of comfort while allowing them to transition into more mature sleep habits.

Some parents of newborns do not know the right time to transition, especially with their first child. The patented Magic Sleepsuit is an ideal option for parents that want to assist their children in achieving this important milestone.


As every baby is different, there is no set age for when to stop swaddling a baby. Rather than using age as a benchmark, the decision should be made based upon your observations of your own baby’s sleep behavior. Most babies are ready when they are seeking more freedom of movement but still need a cozy, contained sleep environment. If your baby is showing any of the following signs, it’s time to begin transitioning:

  • Increasing their movements while sleeping
  • Fighting or fully breaking out of the swaddle
  • Rolling onto their side or completely rolling over when swaddled
  • Waking more often and not being able to resettle and sleep


Once you’re clear on when to stop, the next question is how. The Magic Sleepsuit was developed by a pediatric physical therapist after experimenting with ways to get her own baby to sleep. It’s made out of soft, breathable layers of cotton and polyfill and is designed to muffle the Moro (startle) reflex and provide just enough security and comfort to promote restful sleep for both baby and parents!

Hear it from one of our happy moms:

Baby sleep is the one thing I wish I’d spent more time learning about before Viper arrived. The most recent challenge has been transitioning out of the swaddle and into the crib.

Swaddling was SO helpful when she was smaller but had started to really become uncomfortable recently, plus she’s on the verge of rolling. I tried the @magicsleepsuit after seeing it mentioned by other Mamas and was immediately hooked. The last several days I’ve been laying Viper down for a nap and walking out of the room feeling total joy. I just can’t believe it. This little suit has made a HUGE difference in her naps. I reached out to the company wanting to share.

Reasons I love the Merlin:

  • It makes her feel surrounded and cozy, especially in the bare crib without blankets or pillows! Kind of like your favourite duvet.
  • It allows her to use her hands! This helps her to self-soothe and to be able to touch me during night feeds.
  • It’s easier to handle her body, to put her down drowsy without her limbs falling and waking her too much. –Emily D.

How to transition from swaddling

The Magic Sleepsuit’s unique design and materials make it ideal for parents looking for an effective transition method from swaddling to regular sleep. Backed by pediatric sleep experts and parents alike, the Magic Sleepsuit does not restrict all movement. It is designed to provide a cozy and secure sleeping environment.

A good night’s rest is critical not only to your child’s growth but to his or her development. Help your child make this important milestone with the help of one of today’s most innovative swaddle transition product and give you and your child the restful sleep you both need and deserve.

Parents have swaddled their babies for a long time because it is an effective way to calm babies and make them sleep without any issues. Swaddling involves wrapping your baby in a soft and breathable blanket to make them comfortable and give them a feel of their mother’s womb. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, swaddling can be an effective way to promote sleep. So many parents say swaddling helps to prevent their baby from waking up unnecessarily at night since they feel snug and comfortable. It is important to note that while swaddling your baby it should be gentle and not too tight and only their bodies should be covered.

Although swaddling can be helpful to a newborn baby, it becomes risky as your baby becomes older. You might be wondering when to stop swaddling your baby so you don’t stop swaddling prematurely or too late. Swaddling should stop when a baby begins to roll without any support. Most times this can happen when your baby is 2 months old although some babies begin to roll over when they are 3 – 4 months old. It is important to notice when your baby starts to roll over so you can ease into transitioning your baby from sleeping with a swaddle to sleeping without a swaddle.

Signs that show when to stop swaddling

All babies do not have a fixed time when they can stop being swaddled. Some can be stopped at 2 months, others can be stopped at 3 or 4 months, although, babies often show signs when it safe to stop swaddling them. Below are some of the signs to take note of so you can know when it is safe to stop swaddling your baby.

  • When your baby starts rolling over: Your baby can begin to roll over while being swaddled because of an increase in arm and neck strength and this is a good sign to stop swaddling. It has also been recommended by medical professionals that swaddling should stop immediately a baby begins to roll over without support.
  • Sudden wake ups at night: A baby who sleeps well while being swaddled and suddenly begins to wake up at night because he or she is not comfortable or looks for a more comfortable position to sleep might be showing signs that it is time to stop swaddling.
  • Resistance to being swaddled: When a baby begins to get stronger and mobile you might encounter some resistance to being swaddled and this might be a sign that you need to stop swaddling. Your baby might begin to fight being swaddled and want both arms out of the wrap when being swaddled or even take both arms out at night without any assistance.
  • Increase in activity: A baby’s activity increases as development takes place. Your baby now has the strength to stretch out and move around and might find being swaddled a constraint to be mobile. When you notice an increase in your baby’s activities when swaddled, it means it’s time to stop swaddling your baby.

How to transition from the swaddle

When a baby starts showing signs that indicate a need to stop swaddling, you would need to transition from swaddling your baby. Below are a few guidelines on how to transition from a swaddle.

  • Transition gradually: You should keep in mind that change is gradual. Babies are different and your baby might not transition as fast as another baby. So, transition gradually with patience and consistency.
  • Swaddle with your baby’s arms out: When you are transitioning your baby from a swaddle, start with swaddling your baby with one arm out for some night and then proceed to swaddle your baby with both hands out until you notice that your baby is comfortable without being swaddled.
  • Use a wearable blanket or sleepsuit: When your baby gets comfortable with both arms out, you can proceed to put your baby in a sleepsuit or a wearable blanket. This gives your baby the comfort needed while transitioning. Sleepsuits and wearable blankets are made for babies that are transitioning from a swaddle to help reduce a baby’s startle reflex.

Ways to make your baby sleep well without a swaddle

Your baby might have a difficult time sleeping properly without a swaddle when you are transitioning. The last thing you would want is to see your baby restless at night but don’t be worried because your baby will eventually get used to sleeping without a swaddle. Below are a few guidelines on how to make your baby sleep well without a swaddle.

  • Create a calm atmosphere for your baby: A calm atmosphere can help your baby sleep well. While putting your baby to sleep, sing a lullaby or speak softly as your baby goes to sleep. You can also dim the light of the room the baby sleeps in to help your baby sleep faster.
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine: Having a relaxing bedtime routine can make your baby sleep well without a swaddle. You can create a routine like- a bath, night feeding, reading a bedtime story or rocking your baby close to you. It is important to know that babies love a mother’s touch. So, ensure you have your baby close to you or gently give your baby a massage to get your baby to sleep comfortably.

Although swaddling helps your baby sleep peacefully, you should note that you would have to stop swaddling your baby at some point. The signs given above would make you know when to stop swaddling your baby. It is important to take note of these signs so you don’t stop swaddling your baby too late or too early. The guidelines given would help your baby have an easy transition from a swaddle and also help your baby sleep peacefully after transitioning from a swaddle. So, ensure you are consistent with your baby’s bedtime routine to establish a peaceful sleep for your baby.

Swaddling is one of the best ways to settle a newborn baby and help them to sleep, but- like all good things- it cannot last forever! Sooner or later, usually around the age of four months onwards, you will need to think about an alternative method of comforting your baby at sleep time- and so here are my top tips on the gentle way to wean from the swaddle.

Why wean from the swaddle?

Swaddling provides comfort and security to your baby. It helps them to sleep, to feel protected and promotes calm. So imagine suddenly taking that away. No more swaddle, no more soothing hold as you sleep. Just like that. Some babies will be fine with this, and some will not. Weaning from the swaddle slowly is a more gentle way to change sleep habits without upsetting baby and throwing your sleep schedule off track.

Why stop swaddling?

Swaddling helps to emulate conditions in the womb, by holding baby close with the arms wrapped so that the startle reflex is controlled. This means that newborn babies are less likely to wake themselves with their arms flailing uncontrollably as they sleep. The problem that occurs as baby gets older, is that the startle reflex disappears, and your baby gains better control of their arms. Babies also start to become more mobile too- rolling over is usually the first major accomplishment. And when baby rolls over, if they’re swaddled, they may be unable to roll back again. For this reason swaddling is not recommended as a long term sleep solution.

How to wean from the swaddle

If your baby is ready to stop being swaddled, there really is no need to go cold turkey. Take it slowly and wean them gently!

  • Start with one arm out of the swaddle. It might help to go for the dominant arm (if you have noticed which hand your baby tends to prefer to use for grasping and reaching) and leave that one out of the swaddle for at least 3-4 days.
  • Once baby is settled with just one arm in the swaddle, move on to the other arm.
  • After another day or so, remove the swaddle completely.

If baby protests at having their arms out of the swaddle, and seems unable to settle- arms flapping and obviously unsettled- try this approach instead:

  • Pop baby swaddled into a sleeping bag, with arms inside. Make sure that the room temperature is not too high, and don’t use any other bedding so that baby does not over heat.
  • Unswaddle one arm, keeping baby in the sleeping bag.
  • After 3-4 nights, remove the other arm.
  • After 2 more nights, remove the swaddle altogether.
  • Baby can continue to sleep in the sleeping bag without distraction.

If baby’s arms are still an issue, pop some scratch mitts on while during sleep time to avoid accidental scratches. You can also introduce a lovey or comfort blanket for them to hold on to to keep the arms still, and to replace the comfort of the swaddle too.

If baby is still not happy, try swaddling a little looser each time so they can get used to the feeling of not being swaddled so tightly. Each night swaddle a little more loosely and after around a week you should be able to remove the swaddle all together.

If baby protests a LOT then it might just be that they’re really not ready give up the swaddle just yet, so try again in a couple of weeks. Many babies will end up telling YOU when they are ready to cut loose! Do let us know how you get on.

Take a look at Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit to help weaning from the swaddle.

Swaddles are a safer alternative to blankets. They keep the baby warm since they cannot kick them off like they usually do with the blankets. This translates into longer sleeping periods because they are less likely to wake up due to cold. You, on the other hand, start enjoying your sleep since the baby does not wake up too often at night. But, there comes a time when babies outgrow swaddling and have to start using sleep sacks or sleeping bags. So, when is the right time to transition from swaddle to sleep sack?

First, it is important to note that babies develop at different rates . Some will start to roll over as early as 3 months while others may start at 5 months or later. This means that there is no set time to transition your baby from swaddling.

However, in this article, we shall look at some of the things to look out for in order to determine when to stop swaddling your baby and start using a sleep sack or bag.

How to determine the appropriate time to transition from swaddle to sleep sack

You should immediately stop swaddling if;

Baby starts to roll over

This is a very important sign to look out for.

Most pediatricians recommend that parents should stop swaddling their babies when they start to show signs of rolling over. This could be between 3 to 6 months depending on the baby’s development.

Once they are able to roll over, they may roll on to their stomach with their face against the mattress and this may cause suffocation. Suffocation may occur if the baby is completely swaddled with their arms in such that they cannot be able to use their hands to lift their upper body up or roll over onto their back.

Baby strives to break out of the swaddle

Although babies love to be swaddled, it comes a time when they may want to self-sooth using their hands or explore their surrounding. So they may start struggling to break out of the swaddle by taking their arms out.

This is a clear indication that they want to be swaddled in something that allows them to have their arms out.

Thus, you may start transitioning them into a sleep sack or sleeping bag. Here is a review of some of the most suitable sleep sacks for babies around 3 months old.

Baby feels restricted and barely sleeps

One of the major benefits of swaddling is that it promotes better and longer sleep for infants.

However, if the baby starts feeling restricted and uncomfortable when swaddled, it may affect their sleep. So if your baby was used to sleeping longer while swaddled and now barely sleeps and keeps moving as if struggling to break free, it could be a sign that they are no longer comfortable being swaddled.

Once you notice this, it is time to start using a sleep sack.

How to successfully transition your baby from swaddling to a sleeping bag

Try swaddling with one arm out

As your baby gets older, you will notice that they have one dominant arm that they prefer to use when self-soothing or trying to reach for a toy.

This is the arm that you should start with. When swaddling, leave the arm out so that you can get used to not being completely swaddled. You can do this for a day or two.

Swaddle with both arms out

On the third day, unswaddle the other arm. At this point, you can put the baby in a sleep sack since it will be easier to leave both arms out.

Leave the legs unswaddled

Most swaddles have an inverted zipper that runs from top to bottom to ease diaper changes. You can unzip the swaddle from the bottom and leave the legs out for a day or two and watch your baby’s reaction.

Does the baby enjoy having the legs out? If so, you can unswaddle the rest of the body and put them in a sleep sack or sleeping bag.

Dos and Don’ts of swaddle transition

While unswaddling gradually, always pay attention to the baby’s signals during each step. For instance, if you unswaddle both arms and baby struggles to sleep, it could mean that they are not ready to sleep unswaddled.

Start again by leaving one arm out until the baby gets used to sleeping with an unwrapped arm and then move to the next step of unwrapping both arms. Give each phase sufficient time

Unswaddle at specific times. For instance, start by unswaddling them during their nap time before moving to night time.

Final words

You might be tempted to transition from swaddle to sleep sack ‘cold turkey’, but unfortunately, this rarely works. Suddenly unwrapping a baby who was used to sleeping all swaddled may create anxiety and make it difficult for them to fall asleep. Try a gradual transition process as we have discussed above and you will not any problems.