There are many benefits of swaddling, I recommend using a swaddle to encourage better, more restorative sleep for your newborn and infant. The swaddle helps minimize the impact of the moro reflex, also called the startle reflex. While it’s a great tool for newborns and young infants, when your baby starts showing signs of rolling, it is time to transition out of the swaddle and into a sleep sack or wearable blanket. Leaving your baby in a swaddle when they are showing signs of rolling can become a safety hazard and may disrupt your baby’s sleep. It can be overwhelming to stop swaddling but most babies start to sleep better when you give them access to their hands – let’s learn how!
How To Transition Out Of The Swaddle
There are a few different ways you can transition your baby out of the swaddle and I’m here to share my tips on ways to do this so that there is a minimal impact on their sleep!
Signs To Stop Swaddling Your Baby
Here are some of the signs that it’s time to stop swaddling!
- Baby starts to break out of the swaddle
- Baby starts to get one or both arms out of the swaddle
- Baby starts to roll to side when awake
- Baby starts to roll to belly when awake
- Baby is 12 weeks or older
- Baby used to sleep well in the swaddle and suddenly isn’t
How To Stop Swaddling Your Baby
Start by taking one arm out of the swaddle for nights and naps for 2-3 days. There may be disruption in your baby’s sleep because they now have access to an arm and they haven’t had that freedom yet! Try to ensure that you continue the same and consistent sleep routine that you have been so that your baby knows what’s next, this will make the transition out of the swaddle easier.
Once your baby has adjusted to one arm out, take the other arm out so both arms are free. It may take your baby several days and nights to get used to having both arms out, this is new for them so try to be patient and remember that!
Now your baby’s arms are free you can transition them to a sleep sack. If you want a quicker way to transition your baby out of a swaddle, you can just go cold turkey straight to a sleep sack.
What To Use After A Swaddle
I recommend transitioning to a cotton sleep sack, one that is not weighted. Weighted sleep sacks are not safe for sleep, per AAP recommendations.
Halo 100% Cotton Sleep Sack
This sleep sack is great for all climates! You can use a cotton or fleece sleeper underneath depending on the temperature of your baby’s room.
Burt’s Bees 100% Cotton Sleep Sack
Similar to the halo, this is a great sleep sack for all temperatures as you can adjust what your baby is wearing underneath.
Burt’s Bees 1.0 TOG Sleep Sack
I LOVE this sleepsack, it feels a bit thicker which can be more comforting, this feels like a true wearable blanket
Woolino 4 Season Sleep Bags
The woolino sleep sacks are incredible, they are a bit pricier but they adjust to temperatures so you really just need to buy 1 for all seasons!
HALO Micro-Fleece Sleepsack
These go up to size XL which will fit children up to 40 inches tall and 36 pounds! This is great for toddlers, especially if your child is trying to climb over the crib! These are great if you live in colder climates.
I know how daunting it can be to think about transitioning your baby out of the swaddle but it’s a natural part of development from newborn to infancy. Babies start to have more meaningful use of their limbs once the startle reflex starts to subside and this is a great time to transition out of the swaddle. This is also a great time to start thinking about sleep training as it can be beneficial to put your baby down awake to help them learn to put themselves to sleep. If you’re struggling with where to start, I’m here to help!