If you’re asking yourself, “When should I stop swaddling my baby?” then here’s the answer. If you are still in prime swaddling time, here are must know swaddling tips. Also, check this post out on everything baby sleep.
Swaddling is so precious.
When babies are little and swaddled they are snug as a bug in a rug and it just brings out all types of Warm Fuzzies. We often swaddle for months, but there comes a time to swaddle wean and it can be difficult to know when.
We know swaddles are good for baby sleep, but when do they need to be weaned?
First, the main reasons most people give for swaddling are these:
- to keep baby wrapped snugly as they were in the womb
- to help prevent baby’s startle reflex from waking them
- to keep them warm and communicate safety
When Should I Stop Swaddling My Baby?
If you aren’t sure if you’ve still got a few swaddling months left yet or not, here are some key indicators it’s time to wean the baby from swaddle use. My favorite way to wean, FYI, is by using one of these Woombies pictured below. You can wean one arm at a time which helps baby transition to napping and sleeping without being swaddled.
When Baby Keeps Rolling on Tummy
When your baby, usually around 4 months or later, starts rolling onto their tummy often during naps or at nighttime, this is a good time to start weaning. Since they are usually unable to prop themselves up well with a swaddle on (though this depends on the swaddle) you’ll want them to have use of their arms and hands. They may attempt to roll back on their backs and if they’re packed too tightly they’ll be unable to. At this stage the startle reflex is gone anyway, so this may be your key indicator.
When Baby Learns to Push Up
Babies start rolling side to side before they learn to push up. If your baby is swaddled, rolling on his tummy, and attempting to use his arms to prop himself up then it’s a good time to swaddle wean. Especially if they are used to doing this during tummy time or free play, they’ll want to be able to do the same. Having arms swaddled in will cause a lot of frustration in an otherwise happy baby around the age of 4 or 5 months.
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When Baby is 5 Months Plus
You might decide that there is no big “indicator” but perhaps it’s summer and you fear baby getting overheated. As a general rule, around 5 months or older you can be sure your baby will do fine napping and sleeping unswaddled. There is something to be said for weaning your baby from the swaddle before they are too old. The longer they’re swaddled the more difficult the transition to napping without a swaddle.
If the above conditions are met then you can feel good about starting to wean from the swaddle.
How to Wean from the Swaddle
I don’t usually go cold turkey on the swaddle, although you can try. Here are a few things you can do to begin swaddle weaning:
- Let the legs free.
- Do one arm at a time. I use swaddles that have a little space for one arm to go free. I’ll do one arm out for a few days then lose the swaddle altogether.
- Give a good wind-down routine. Swaddling is a good sleep association and it’s something your baby will associate with calming down to rest. As you begin swaddle weaning, their naps or night sleep may be affected somewhat, but it will go back to normal soon.
Get Your Free Swaddling Tips For Newborns Checklist
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- fighting sleep to embracing it
- night wakings to sleeping through
- needing you to jump through hoops to going to sleep on their own
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