When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby and How to Transition Out of the Swaddle. The first three months after birth, often called “the fourth trimester,” is a time of significant changes for your baby child, but not in a bad way.
For the last 40 days (give the option of taking), Your baby was the security of a warm, secure place to call home in your womb, and now they need to adapt to life outside.
It’s an extremely stressful experience for a baby. Like the one they depend on for everything, you’ll wish to make this change as easy as possible. This is the reason you may be able to wrap your infant.
Swaddling involves your child’s body around a blanket or a swaddling product. Its purpose is to provide your baby with the security and comfort they need as they transition into their new surroundings.
Swaddling can be a great strategy to help your baby sleep more peacefully.
Tucking her into a comfortable wrap can help her feel secure and safe when adjusting after the baby’s womb.
Keep her snug while her body temperature rises, and also stop her from fluttering her legs and arms and activating the startle response.
Swaddling is a calming effect on infants; it’s not something you can do for the rest of your life. It’s time to take your infant out of a swaddle between 3 and five months old. Let’s review how to accomplish this.
When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby
While the exact duration will vary for every baby, as per the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies begin to show signs of stopping swaddling as young as two months old.
Also, between 2 and 6 months, your baby is likely to exhibit signs that it might be time to stop swaddling your baby.
If your baby is doing any of these 6 behaviors, it’s an indication to begin an approach to transition from a baby swaddle.
- Activity increases, and you can take your arm(s) out of bed.
- Being too solid or mobile to be able to stay awake through the night.
- They swaddled in a fight and wanted either or both arms removed.
- The rollover process is beginning because of the increased neck and arm strength.
- The first thing you notice is that you wake up during the night, often following a previous history of being able to sleep well.
- A decrease in or absence of a trigger response ( Moro reflex).
If you know that it is time to put down the swaddle for your baby and transition to a swaddle sack wearable blanket or baby sleeping bag, it’s essential to have a plan in place to make the transition smooth.
Instead of just going cold turkey, we’ve developed a simple, step-by-step process that you can follow daily to move from a swaddle to a wearable blanket in 7-10 days.
When is the right time to start transitioning from a swap?
If your child is happy with their surroundings and sleeping well in their swaddles, why would you want to change them all?
This is a valid question. It’s crucial to remember that swaddling shouldn’t be considered a way to last forever.
It’s only a temporary technique for helping newborns adjust to life after birth. Swaddling is a risky activity that is risky as an infant grows mature and becomes more mobile.
One indication that it’s time to move out of a swaddle could be your baby’s tendency to roll to the side on its back or stomach.
Swaddled babies shouldn’t be sleeping in a position that is face down since this is an indicator of the sudden death of a baby (SIDS).
It’s also an excellent time to move on. If you’ve noticed that your child isn’t as fond of swaddling anymore or swaddling, they will fight against the swaddle or get out of the blanket at night.
It is possible to end swaddling your baby once his begin reflex reduces.
It is an involuntary baby’s body makes shortly after birth, mostly when they hear loud sounds. Swaddling can reduce this reflex, allowing newborns to feel more secure.
Related: Soon To Be Mommy? Get Ready With These Newborn Baby Care Tips
Methods of transitioning the baby from the Swaddle
Every baby eventually transitions to a different environment — they’re not wearing their swaddles when they head off to college, for instance, even though they may wear a Snuggie, and getting comfortable sleep without a wrap may require a couple of days.
Here are some ways and tricks to help make the transition more manageable.
During this transitional period, keep all the other elements identified in the baby’s sleeping environment, such as a dark space or white noise.
If you believe it’s appropriate, you could include a cuddly to hold to manage their newfound freedom using their arms.
This method works by doing the unswaddling bit by bit, nap by nap.
Remove one arm from the swaddle during the morning nap since it’s the easiest way for your baby to sleep.
Let them lay down on their own, but if they’re having trouble settling, you could try actively settling them for a couple of minutes to sleep while they become used to not being in a Swaddle (this could be gentle pats or side resting).
In the meantime, ensure both arms are in the swaddle for their naps and even overnight.
Overnight – after your baby is accustomed to taking their arms out for a morning nap, you can rest one arm from the swaddle.
Both arms should remain in the swaddle for resting during the day.
Lunchtime nap – after your baby is accustomed to having their arms free take a nap in the morning and over the night, take one arm from the swaddle and take it out for a lunchtime nap.
They may wake after one night, so you can put them back in if you’d like to keep them sleeping longer.
You should keep both arms in for a late afternoon nap. Since this is the toughest nap to attain, take this nap in the stroller or car to ease the change.
Day 6-7 & Beyond
When your baby is taking all of his naps (except the afternoon nap) by taking one arm in, you can take the other arm out by taking a morning nap.
Continue following the same procedure as you took the arm out before. Start with two arms in the morning for a nap and then for the night before your lunchtime nap.
The baby may wake up after a night to take a nap, in which case, you could take them out and put them back to sleep.
After both arms have gone, you could also do this idea for the afternoon nap. However, you may find that your baby can’t settle for this nap; therefore, you should try with the stroller or in a front pack.
It’s normal for your child to feel uneasy through this transition. They have an entirely different “normal” to adapt to, which is quite different from the norm they’ve had. The transition will be better!
Other suggestions and tricks for getting an infant out of his swaddle
There’s no way of knowing how a baby’s transition will go until the transition begins. Therefore, some parents opt for a “cold turkey” approach.
They remove the blanket or swaddle entirely and see how their child reacts to the alteration.
Sure babies adjust instantly to their new environment, while other babies a couple of nights, so you should mentally prepare yourself for a few tears.
The cold turkey approach might be more appropriate for babies with a knack for soothing themselves.
If your baby is still trying to learn how to relax, abruptly removing the swaddle can disrupt the baby’s sleeping (and you too).
Swaddles for the night
Another option is a swaddle that is only worn during the night. The baby can sleep without the swaddle and can sleep in this manner for approximately one-third or half in the evening.
If your child wakes up crying, you can wrap them throughout the night.
The idea is to let your child remain asleep for more extended periods without having to swaddle them every night until they can remain unsaddled for the whole night.
It’s crucial to start the process before your child can roll over. If you notice them rolling over, even if it appears to be a single incident done in error, a swaddle will not be secure for any night.
Swaddle with one arm inside as well as one arm to the outside.
Another option for a slow transition to a gradual change is to wrap your infant with one arm inside the swaddle and another out.
This method gives your baby the safety and comfort they’ve grown accustomed to and helps them get comfortable sleeping without the blanket.
Begin by taking one arm out for a few nights, and then you can take both arms for a couple of weeks (or longer) before taking the blanket off completely.
You can do this using a regular swaddle blanket. You can also purchase a swaddle that allows arms to move out or in.
You can look into these two online options: The nested Bean Zen Swaddle or the embedded 2-Way Swaddle Sack for Transition.
Wear a sleepsuit
Ensuring your child is in a sleepsuit, sometimes called a wearable blanket, is another method of helping your baby move out of a Swaddle.
There are different designs. Some suites have a heavy pad at the center that mimics the soft touch of a newborn’s hand resting on a baby’s chest.
Sleepsuits are comfortable, provide safety, and help reduce a child’s fear of being screamed at.
They look similar to onesies but with slightly bigger openings for arms and legs. Others look like a quilted blanket.
They’re also a lot thicker and warmer than pajamas or a onesie. Do not use an outfit for sleep when your child has a fever.
Some options on the internet are Baby Merlins Magic Cotton Sleep Suit or the Halo SleepSack. Baby Merlins Magic Cotton Sleep Suit, as well as Halo SleepSack. Halo SleepSack.
Make use of a strap to swaddle.
It’s also an excellent device to gradually remove a baby in a swaddle. The strap will be opened; lay your baby down on the middle of the pillows, then wrap the ends of it around the chest of your baby.
It’s an arms-only swaddle meaning that your baby’s legs and feet are left free, allowing them to adapt to sleep without being wrapped in a blanket.
Some straps are made to hold both arms, while others use both.
Various options are available online, including SwaddleMe Love, the SwaddleMe Love Sack Swaddle Wrap (which includes a sack to the feet, but it’s not just an accessory) as an Anna as well as Eve Babies, and Swaddle Strap.
Will My Baby Sleep Worse Without the Swaddle?
If your baby isn’t heavily dependent on swaddling convenience and has excellent self-soothers, it can be simple to end the swaddling.
Your baby could sleep as well, and maybe perhaps even more, without having to be swaddled! Infants more and more resistant to swaddling may be more open to it!
If your child is dependent on being wrapped to go to sleep, it might be challenging to get them to quit swaddling.
There’s no way to anticipate the outcome, but you can do it and return to your swing if things go unfavorable.
The best method to stop swaddling an infant is to take it slowly. In time, you’ll build up to the point that you’re never swaddling.
The idea behind this is that this gradual, slow transition will allow infants to adjust to sleeping without swaddling and not lose some sleep. This can help you avoid significant sleep disturbances, too!
Related: Does Cold Formula Cause Gas in Babies?
How about unwrapping during nap time?
A different option would be, to begin with, a swaddle at naptime. Even though you may think this is “inconsistent,” keep two distinct parts of the brain control that night and day sleep. Your baby should be introduced to “freedom” one step at each step.
Of course, it’s essential to be aware that a baby who used to be asleep all night could not continue to do so as they adjust to sleeping with no swaddle.
Remember that it may require a couple of weeks for her to adjust to not having to be swaddled and getting used to her legs out.
Related: Does Foam in Formula Cause Gas?
What if Sleep Is a LOT Worse Without the Swaddle?
If safety isn’t an issue, but you’re still concerned about safety, consider keeping the swaddle longer. It’s not necessary to hurry.
You can also put off swaddling in more gradually!
The fact that you do not wrap your child in a time of bed does not mean you have to keep him the same way throughout the night!
Wrapping your legs or arms following the first night of waking is a good idea.
While he might begin sleeping for just an hour, say it can grow throughout a few nights as your child adjusts to having arms and legs completely free.
What do you think of Moro’s reaction?
If your child’s Moro and startle response isn’t easing and continues to recur, it may not be easy. You might have to swap her again and try it another time, perhaps a couple of weeks to one month after.
Babies ‘ personalities change quickly during the first year, and things that weren’t working initially may work well one week later. Be patient and allow your baby the time needed to adjust.
But I’ve noticed that some babies with the Moro reflex can adapt quickly in a few days or weeks. It’s worth giving this a shot!
Related: Is Ready-to-Feed Formula Easier to Digest?
How Long Does It Take to Stop Swaddling?
Over my more than 10 years as a sleep expert, I’ve observed that most infants adjust to sleeping without the swaddle blanket in 2 weeks, on average.
If younger children start rolling early but have a Moro reflex, they typically require 3-4 weeks or longer, depending on the age and developmental stage.
Each baby’s development is at its pace, according to my experiences. Certain things cannot be done in a hurry.
Last but not least, keep in mind that if you’re getting rid of a sleep-related connection, it can disrupt sleep.
That means that if you decide to end swaddling your baby to sleep, the baby might stop sleeping throughout the night at first.
Adjusting to a non-swaddling lifestyle can take up to a week; in the meantime, your baby’s sleeping patterns could be affected.
This is normal. Once your baby is comfortable sleeping unsaddled, his sleep will resume.
How long will it take to get an infant out of the Swaddle?
The time to start transitioning your baby from the swaddle is around 3 to five months.
This process can take different times for every baby, so take your time and never give up! Swaddle transitions typically last between 7 and 10 nights.
How do you gradually unwrap an infant?
Our Zen Sack is great for taking your baby out of the swaddle. Set the sack on top of an ordinary onesie, and cover your child in a gentle swaddle made of muslin.
Gradually lift each arm out of the swaddle. Start with the dominant arm until your baby can no longer take arms to be out.
How long is a baby to be wrapped?
Your child must have the opportunity to breathe and stretch in their swaddle. But swaddling can be extremely soothing for infants and can be used up to 20 hours a day.
Should I wrap my baby in the morning for naps?
Babies must be swaddled any time of the night as it helps them feel more at ease. Moving your child from their swaddle to their own, you must focus on nap times and sleep at night.
When is the right time to stop swaddling your baby?
Swaddles should transition as soon as your baby rolls over while they sleep. This typically occurs between two to four months. It is required to allow your baby to recline when they fall onto its stomach.
Swaddling is an excellent method of helping a baby transition from the womb into the world. At some point between 3- and five months old, babies must be removed from the full swaddle.
Your baby may yell or be unable to sleep throughout this time. However, don’t quit. You’ll improve and be able to rest comfortably through the night — and the stages of independence will not stop.