How (and when!) to Transition Your Baby Out of a Swaddle

There's nothing cuter than seeing your baby wrapped up in a swaddle- the perfect little burrito! It's comfortable, cozy, and the ideal way to create a womb-like environment for your newborn. It's also a helpful method to soothe fussy babies and calm them if they are having trouble sleeping. But once your baby shows signs of rolling (usually between 3-5 months of age) or begins to break out of the swaddle, it's time to start planning to transition into a new sleep solution.

You may ask yourself, why transition them when they seem content in their swaddle? The answer comes down to safety. Once your baby becomes more mobile, swaddling can be dangerous, and if your baby starts to turn over on their side or tummy, it could put them at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). So, while this swaddle transition can seem daunting, especially after you've mastered the art of swaddling, it's critical for your baby's safety and development to take this next step!

How do you transition out of a swaddle?

So, now that you know it's time to transition your baby out of their swaddle, the big question arises - how to do it? The good news is that you can take a few different approaches to help transition your baby out of a swaddle. The first one is to "just do it" and immediately move your baby from a swaddle into a sleep sack. This cold turkey approach is a good option for babies who don't like being swaddled, have begun breaking out of the swaddle, or have begun to self-soothe. Remember you can also try using a sleep sack at nap time and then swaddle at nighttime until you can completely wean them from the swaddle.

If the all-or-nothing approach is not your style, another great option is to use a swaddle that can be worn multiple ways, such as the Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle. The Dream Swaddle can be worn three ways, both arms in, one arm in, or both arms out, to effortlessly adapt to your baby's changing sleep needs and provide them with the security and comfort they deserve during this transition period. To get started, wrap the integrated swaddle band over only one arm, leaving the other arm free. This approach can help them gradually adjust to having their arms free. After trying one arm out for a few days, you can take the next step and have both arms out of the sack. This step-by-step approach will help make the transition to a sleep sack easier on baby and you!

The third option is to consider an alternative sleep solution. Enter the Weighted Transition Swaddle, a sleep sack specifically designed to ensure an easy transition from swaddling.

Shop the Weighted Transition Swaddle

 

What is a Transition Swaddle? 

A Transition Swaddle is a wearable blanket/sleep sack that features sleeves to provide security for your baby while helping to reduce the Moro (startle) reflex. The Dream Weighted Transition Swaddle is unique in that the sleeves are gently weighted to provide ultimate comfort and security. It's ideal for babies who no longer want to be swaddled but still crave the secure and snug fit around their arms. It also provides a safe transition from a “traditional” swaddle for babies who show signs of rolling as their arms remain free.

It's important to remember that according to the American Academy of Pediatric (AAP)  Safe Sleep Guidelines, infants should always be placed on their back to sleep in a bare crib – no toys, loose blankets, or plush animals. The Transition Swaddle helps with safe sleep as there is no need for a blanket in the crib. The Weighted Transition Swaddle is 100% cotton to avoid overheating. Unlike some bulky transition swaddle alternatives on the market, the Weighted Transition Swaddle has a 1.2 TOG for year-round use and temperature regulation.

When to transition out of a swaddle

All babies are different, and while some love to be swaddled, others simply want to break free! The bottom line is that it's no longer safe to swaddle your baby once they start to roll over or have become a swaddle escape artist. The Dream Weighted Transition Swaddle is ready to come to your rescue with two different sizes depending on when your baby shows signs that it's time to stop swaddling:

  • Size Small, indicated for babies 3-6 months, 12-16 lbs, and 23-26 inches
  • Size Large, indicated for babies 6-9 M, 15+ lbs, and 26-28 inches

While your baby may be ready to say goodbye to the swaddle for good, most still love the feeling of being held. That is precisely why a Transition Swaddle can help ease the transition from swaddling, as it provides a snug fit around the torso and arms while still allowing freedom of movement. Your baby will love the feeling of being hugged, and you'll love knowing you're providing the safest post-swaddle sleep solution for them.

Shop the Weighted Transition Swaddle

Does a Transition Swaddle Help with Moro reflex?

The Moro or startle reflex usually occurs when a baby is startled by a loud sound or unexpected movement. In response, your baby might extend their arms or legs or throw their head back and possibly begin crying. You may also see it happen as you put your little one in their crib, which can frequently give them a sensation of falling. The Moro reflex is completely normal and can start at birth and may last until your baby is between 4 and 6 months.

While there is no way to prevent the Moro reflex, there are ways to help calm a baby experiencing it. These include lowering your baby into the crib horizontally, so they don’t tilt their head and holding them close as you lower them so they are comforted by your proximity as they get settled into the crib. Another option is to use our Dream Weighted Swaddle or Dream Transition Swaddle, as the gentle weight can help babies experiencing the Moro reflex feel a sense of security. The Weighted Transition Swaddle features innovative weighted arms that can help control the reflex by giving your little one the sensation of being swaddled. Which ultimately helps them feel calm, so they can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. As with all Dreamland Baby products, the Weighted Transition Swaddle was designed in collaboration with pediatricians, NICU nurses, and certified sleep consultants and approved by pediatric pulmonologists for breathing safety and is an excellent option for babies still experiencing the Moro reflex.

Can a baby move freely in a Transition Swaddle? 

A Transition Swaddle is designed to accommodate babies who are rolling. In the Weighted Transition Swaddle, your baby's arms remain free, so it's safe for them to roll or do anything they would do in a regular sleep sack with the added benefit of the gently weighted arm feature to help them feel secure. Like all of Dreamland's gently weighted sleep solutions, the Dream Weighted Transition Swaddle is 10% or less body weight so that your little one can roll, sit, stand, and move easily and comfortably while wearing it. Also, the hip-healthy design allows your baby to move their legs freely. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has acknowledged the Weighted Transition Swaddle as a "hip-healthy" product when used as directed.

And, of course, parents and caregivers can use the two-way zipper for easy diaper changes. The zipper, which opens from the top and bottom of the sack, is ultra-convenient and fuss-free to ensure clothing and diaper changes can be handled easily!

Help Ensure a Safe & Easy Transition from Swaddling 

The ideal time to transition your baby out of a swaddle is when your baby is showing signs of rolling or has begun to break out of a traditional swaddle. You can take a few different approaches to ease this transition but a Transition Swaddle is one of the safest and most successful options.

As mentioned, the Dream Weighed Transition Swaddle is a particularly effective "transition" from swaddling due to the innovative gently weighted arm feature that can help control the Moro reflex and allow your baby freedom of movement and the ability to roll over safely. The Weighted Transition Swaddle provides babies the comfort they need to help them fall asleep more quickly and to self-soothe when they experience the startle sensation. It also ensures temperature regulation and gives parents and caregivers the confidence that baby will feel snug and secure without any danger of overheating. The Transition Swaddle gives your baby the feeling of being hugged while leaving their arms free so they can fall back asleep if they are startled awake and sleep for longer stretches – which means your whole family can get the sound sleep you deserve!

So yes, the good news is there is life, or we should say, sleep after swaddling is no longer an option! You can stop swaddling cold turkey, try the one-arm-out approach, the naptime-only approach, or move to a Transition Swaddle. All of these are excellent ways to help your baby transition out of the swaddle. And while your baby might have some trouble sleeping during this period, just remember that with so many things, baby, time, and patience are key and will help you get to this important milestone in your baby’s sleep journey.

 

Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle, 0-6 months