Every parent wants what’s best for their baby, but it’s not always easy knowing what that is or how to deliver it. No two babies are alike in terms of personality, preference, or development, which makes it even more challenging. If swaddling was effective for your newborn, but now they’re getting a bit older, it may be time to consider your next steps. There are several signs you can look for to know when to stop swaddling, and strategies you can employ for how to stop swaddling but keep them sleeping through the night.
When to Stop Swaddling
The first sign to look for to know when to stop swaddling a baby is rocking back and forth. When newborns start striving for a greater range of movement, the swaddle can start feeling too restrictive. The next clue your baby might be ready to transition from swaddling is that they are able to break out of the swaddle. The purpose of a swaddle is to restrain the limbs from flailing so the baby can sleep, and if the swaddle can’t hold them anymore it isn’t working like it should. Finally, when your infant can roll over on their own – which usually takes place at about three months – it is most likely time to stop swaddling because the infant could get stuck on their stomach and have difficulty moving their head off the mattress.
How to Stop Swaddling
If you’ve realized it’s time to stop swaddling, your next question is probably how to make the transition as smooth and easy for your baby as possible. Sleep is very important to development for newborns, and it’s important for parents too! There are a few methods you can use to help your infant sleep comfortably without the swaddle. You can ease away from the swaddle gradually by leaving one arm free for a night or two, then following it with the other arm, and so forth. There are also some products that are specially designed to assist with this transition. They allow for a greater range of movement than the swaddle but still give your baby the same warm, comfy feeling. Finally, you can introduce a stuffed animal for comforting cuddles.
Knowing when and how to stop swaddling your baby isn’t an exact science, especially because every baby is different. There are some common signs to look for such as rocking, breaking out of the swaddle, and rolling over. When it’s time to stop swaddling you can make the transition painlessly by easing out of the swaddle gradually or using a transitional sleep product or stuffed animal.