How To Transition Out Of Swaddle?

how to transition out of swaddle

Transitioning out of the swaddle or saying “goodbye to swaddle” as the time comes, is when your baby needs to be swaddle free, having their arms available for safe sleep.

If you’re curious about how to bring about this transition or planning to do so, we’ve got you covered! Here we will see how to transition out of the swaddle and make this ride smooth for your little one!

Using swaddle blankets helps babies get adjusted to life outside of the womb. Newborn babies feel safe and secure when they are put in bed using a swaddle blanket. As babies grow, you need to remove this protective gear because it could be more harmful rather than helpful.

Parents need to pay close attention when they’re planning to stop swaddling. Once your baby starts rolling over, it’s advisable to discontinue swaddling, indicating that they are prepared for a significant transition.

Generally, for most children, rolling occurs at 2 – 4 months of age (different times for different babies). There are ways to ease this transition so babies can smoothly adopt the new nighttime routine.

Typically, babies adapt to sleeping without a swaddle in 1-2 weeks. Using sleeping aids and following a well-thought step-by-step plan to accomplish this transition, might help ease this journey for your baby.

The plan usually involves gradually removing the swaddle blanket using various techniques, such as swaddling with arms out, legs out, or even part-time swaddling.

What Is A Traditional Swaddle?

Tradition swaddles are a swaddling technique used to swaddle overnight to mimic the mother’s womb warmness to sleeping helped babies to sleep well and longer and are very helpful to prevent baby’s startle reflex and “soothing Colic”.

How Do I Get My Baby To Sleep Without A Swaddle?

Before starting, initially for a few nights try to swaddle with one arm out so your baby’s arms will help balance out the startle reflex, prevent it, and then gradually transition out of the swaddle which helps the baby transition easily.

Method To Make Your Baby Sleep Without A Swaddle:

Planning to drop the swaddle? But you’re worried about how would you do so. Well, we’ve got you covered! Here are two methods to go for a swaddle-less sleep environment for your little one.

Method 1: Cold Turkey

Stop swaddling cold turkey is removing the swaddle completely at once, this approach works wonders! Your baby responds instantly and adjusts to the new baby’s sleep environment. Some babies might take some time before adjusting to this new environment- so be prepared!

Cold Turkey method is good for self-soothing babies. Abruptly stopping swaddling altogether can disturb your newborn’s sleep, especially if they are still developing self-soothing skills, leading to frequent night waking.

Method 2: Four-Step Swaddled Transition Plan

Here is a simple four-step-by-step plan to make your infant’s sleeping environment swaddle-free.

Step 1: Arm Free-Swaddle.

Most babies swaddle with the dominant arm out for 2-3 nights, this helps to reduce the infantile startle reflex, medically referred to as the Moro’s reflex, as the closed arm offers the required resistance to curb the disturbance caused by jerking of both arms that comes with no swaddle.

Step 2: Verify – Is the Transition Premature?

Observe for 3-4 nights, if your baby can handle the one-arm-free step, try the same with both arms out. Otherwise, try for 2-3 more nights. The duration of the swaddle transition process can vary from a few days to several weeks. Therefore, it is essential to be patient, don’t rush the process, and successfully transition.

Observe the baby’s response, and whether he/she finds the new state comfortable or not. Baby wakes during the day nap gives you a better chance to observe.

If Moro-reflex signs are present, it’s too early for transition. Give your baby more time and continue swaddling. It is normal that initially, the baby takes more time to fall asleep. But it’ll bounce back to normal after a couple of weeks.

Step 3: Transit To Wearable Blankets

Minute increments in tummy time during the daytime are good for muscle development and achieving the crawling milestone.

According to experts, it’s recommended to give your baby 5-6 tummy time sessions daily, each lasting for about 3-5 minutes. As your baby grows, you can gradually increase the duration of the sessions, and they may eventually be able to tolerate up to an hour of tummy time.

Increasing tummy time encourages babies to practice rolling over, which is a vital skill for sleeping without a swaddle while maintaining safety.

Start using a wearable blanket. The soft pressure of the wearable blanket provides a more secure and comforting feeling. Using a wearable blanket provides ample space for your baby to move and grow in tandem with their body’s development. Furthermore, it eliminates the risk of loose blankets in their sleep environment, ensuring safety. Parents who opt for wearable blankets have reported an average increase of 2 hours in their baby’s sleep.

When using a sleep sack for your baby’s sleep, it is recommended to position the weighted portion on their chest while they sleep on their back. Continue with the method for 2-3 days before determining its effectiveness, ideally, before your baby starts rolling over.

Step 4: When Babies Begin Rolling Over.

As your baby is comfortable with arms-free swaddling, Now is the right time to change completely to sleep sacks. Different types of sleep sacks for babies are available in the market with a lightly weighted pad, which rests on your wee one’s chest where your palm would go. It offers a greater sense of comfort and security compared to a conventional blanket.

To determine the effectiveness of the solution for your baby, it is crucial to maintain consistency for 2-4 days.

How Long Does It Take to Transition out of A Swaddle Blanket?

It is good to have a time frame in mind for this transition. Individual babies have individual adaptive characteristics, some infants adapt to changes quickly while others might take some time.

Infants having difficulties adapting to the new sleep environment need a more gradual approach- transitioning over a couple of weeks. During the transition period, your little one might fuss or have trouble sleeping. But DON’T GIVE UP!

The process of implementing all the steps mentioned above usually takes a few weeks. Initiate the swaddle transition process when your baby displays signs of rolling over.

You might need some extra nights for each step, as your newborns will transition out of the swaddle, and this transition is a big milestone in independence and will go a long way.

When To Stop Swaddling A Newborn Baby?

When To Stop Swaddling A Newborn Baby?

Swaddling provides a smooth transition for your baby as they transition to the world from their mothers’ womb. As your baby grows and develops, it might need to grow out of the swaddle as swaddling could be more harmful than a swaddle-less sleep environment.

As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should discontinue swaddling at two months of age or when your baby starts rolling over, whichever comes first. It is also advisable to consult a certified pediatric sleep consultant,

Typically, babies exhibit clear indications that they are prepared for the transition. These may include struggling against being swaddled, breaking free from the swaddle, attempting to rock or start rolling over, or experiencing frequent nighttime wake-ups, especially after previously sleeping soundly. These signs may suggest that your baby is ready to sleep without the swaddle.

Decrease Moro reflex is a telltale sign that your baby is ready for the gradual transition of this big change. Usually when the infant is 2-4 months old, can roll themselves back over when they are on their tummy and have good tummy time, it is a good time to stop swaddling providing more space for growth and muscle development. But no age is set in stone, your wee one can be transitioned out of the full swaddle even when they are around 3-5 months old.

How To Transition Out Of A Swaddle Blanket

It is advisable to commence the transition swaddle process early and begin practicing the new sleeping routine, even before your baby displays any signs of rolling over. This way you will have a good time moving away from full swaddle, little by little over a couple of weeks. Helping you overcome the anxiety about making changes to your baby’s sleep routine.

Various types of swaddles are available, including traditional swaddle blankets, two-in-one swaddles, and sacks.

To deal with the first two types you can go around the swaddles in simple steps. Begin the swaddle transition process by initially removing one arm from the swaddle. For the subsequent nap even daytime naps, repeat the process by transitioning the other arm out of the swaddle, for the next nap, swap again! This time with the previous arm. Continue swapping to let your baby experience sleeping with arms free.

When To Stop Swaddling?

As your baby starts showing signs of rolling while they are sleeping, which is usually at the age of 2 months, you can start the journey to stop swaddling. Depending on your baby, you might be able to achieve a swaddle-less sleep environment for your little one within a few weeks.

Around 3-5 months old, most newborns can easily be transitioned out of the full swaddle.

Do Babies Sleep Better Not Swaddled?

Swaddling provides a smooth transition for your baby as they transition to the world from their mother’s womb. Some parents suggest that swaddling helps their infants sleep for longer and some find that it can calm their little ones.

As your baby grows and develops, they need to get out of the swaddle sleep environment because swaddling could be more harmful than no swaddle sleep environment.

Initially, it is better to use swaddling and as the baby starts showing the signs of rolling while sleeping, they should transition to a no-swaddle sleep environment to continue their journey towards their independence.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Swaddling?

Swaddling is a lifesaver according to some parents, while others suggest, it’s a harmful practice. Here we’ve enlisted some pros and cons of swaddling so that you can choose wisely!

Pros Of Swaddling:

Swaddling might be helpful for longer sleep or naps and helps reduce Anxiety in your wee one. Moreover, it limits the newborn startle reflex in your baby. Additionally, it helps parents eliminate blankets, prevent their babies from scratching their faces, and reduce sleep time crying.

Cons Of Swaddling

On the contrary, swaddling might interfere with your baby’s breastfeeding, eventually affecting your little one’s health as well as their weight. It also affects your baby’s body heat regulation and might result in Hip Dysplasia, and decreased Arousal. Swaddling can be very risky if your baby can roll over themselves.

Final Thoughts

While on one hand, swaddling your baby helps babies sleep longer, manage anxiety, and prevent scratching on the face, there are a few risks that tag along with this method of sleeping.

A swaddled baby is at risk of overheating, hip dysplasia, and decreased arousal, which may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

So don’t over-swaddle your baby, and ensure a secure swaddle. Avoiding swaddling too tightly. Most experts suggest parents top swaddling as soon as the baby starts to roll over (around 2 months old baby) to avoid suffocation risks.

Whilst achieving independence in his/her life, every newborn must achieve essential developmental milestones, which include sleeping in a swaddle-free sleeping environment.

You might consider dropping the swaddle once the startle reflex decreases and your baby seems comfortable with one or both arms out of the swaddle during day naps and/or nighttime sleep.

Once your infant begins rolling over independently, it is advisable to discontinue swaddling. It’s time to provide him/her more space for growth and mobility.

Keep in mind that there is no fixed time for when to start and how long it might take an infant to adapt to the changes made to their favorite sleep environment.

Babies that can adapt quickly might take lesser time for the transition, while resilient ones might take a much longer time.

As you start your infant’s journey towards a swaddle-free environment, using different types of swaddles – Wearable blankets, and Sleep Sacks can help smooth the transition your baby is going through.

Moreover, you can try out – the “Cold Turkey” method in some cases but try to keep an eye out to check if your baby is okay with this abrupt change. This method of dropping the swaddle can save you time and money.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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