Dreamland Baby

The 3 Signs it's Time to Stop Swaddling Your Baby

The 3 Signs it's Time to Stop Swaddling Your Baby
You know your baby needs good quality sleep. One strategy that works for many babies is swaddling. But as is true with many baby milestones, just as soon as you think you've finally gotten this sleeping routine down to an art, they start showing signs that make you wonder if it's time to stop swaddling your baby. You may not be ready to face that your baby's swaddling days are numbered (you've all been sleeping so well, after all!), but the truth is that your baby is growing and they're probably ready for the next step. 
So, what are the three signs to tell when to stop swaddling your baby?
  1. Your baby is rolling over from back to tummy.
  2. You have an escape artist who consistently gets out of his swaddle.
  3. A baby who normally sleeps soundly isn't anymore.

Here we'll address the tell-tale signs that your little one is ready to transition out of their swaddle as well as provide some swaddle transition solutions. We will address when to stop swaddling, how to stop swaddling and what age to stop swaddling a baby.

Your baby may be growing, but that doesn't mean that her sleep isn't just as important as it's always been. Many parents wonder should I stop swaddling cold turkey or is there a way to transition?

When Should You Stop Swaddling Your Baby?

It's really important to pay attention to developmental signs from your unique child about when should you stop swaddling. Try your best to avoid advice similar to, "Well, my son was 5 months old when he stopped swaddling and so that's what your baby should be doing, too." Ultimately, you'll be doing best by your baby by letting him show you when they're ready to move from the swaddle.

With that said, it's definitely nice to know when a new milestone might be heading your way soon. That way you can be prepared to know about how long you should swaddle your baby.

You can likely expect your baby to show signs that they are ready to stop swaddling between 3 - 5 months of age. But what age to stop swaddling is different for every baby. It is completely normal for your baby to show these signs sooner or later than that 3-5 months. If it's later - don't worry! As long as baby is happy and safe in their baby burrito (not rolling yet), there is no reason to stop swaddling.

Now let's get into those signs that your baby is ready for a swaddle transition solution.

1. Your baby is rolling over from back to tummy.

When placing a baby in their crib to sleep, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the baby always be laid down on their back. For those first few months, this is an easy enough task. You swaddle your baby exactly the way she likes and you place her on her back as she falls asleep. When she wakes, she's right there on her back like you left her.

But then one day, she's playing on her play mat, and she rolls over for the very first time. Usually, once your baby learns this exciting skill, it's easy enough for her to do it again and again. This is your clearest sign that it's time to stop swaddling your baby for sleeping. Even if she hasn't rolled over before while swaddled, she will have the ability to do so. For safety reasons, it's important to stop swaddling. This can happen as early as 2 months but will be much longer for others. You'll know.

2. You have an escape artist who consistently gets out of the swaddle.

Lots of parents come to us and say, "My baby doesn't like to be swaddled!"

This may happen from day one or it may happen suddenly. When your baby develops and becomes more aware it's possible they may no longer like the feeling of being snuggled up so tightly.

At this point, you can either choose to try different swaddling methods to see if they'll get used to it, or you can stop swaddling.

If you have a younger baby who is routinely getting out of their swaddle, we recommend a little patience and persistence on your part to try and get your baby used to being swaddled. (Because it really DOES help most babies sleep!) On the other hand, some babies just don't like being swaddled and will try to break free no matter what. I think we can agree that this is not relaxing for your little one.

You don't want to push it if they're showing clear signs that they don't like it.

3. A baby who normally sleeps soundly isn't anymore.

Up until this point your baby has probably loved their swaddle. They sleep peacefully, and clearly enjoy the comfort they closely associate with being in the womb. Then all of a sudden, your baby starts waking up in fits. When you check on them, they may look uncomfortable. It's pretty clear they'd much prefer to be out of the swaddle instead of inside it.

Once your baby is rolling over, you have no other choice than to stop swaddling your baby. This goes back to the what age to stop swaddling question. Some babies roll as young 3 months while others can be over 5 months before they roll.

However, if your baby is consistently escaping their swaddle or showing other signs that it's making them restless, you may have to make the transition sooner

Making a Smooth Transition Out of the Swaddle

It can be tough to transition a baby out of their swaddle when they've been sleeping through the night. Anything that disrupts baby's (and everyone else's) sleep can be stressful. Luckily, there are ways to help this inevitable transition to go smoothly with either a slow swaddle transition or a quick transition via the stop swaddling cold turkey method.

Dreamland Baby offers the perfect swaddle transition solution! The Wearable Weighted Blanket utilizes a detachable wing so that your baby can stay safely swaddled during the newborn stage when they still need the extra warmth and security. When your baby begins showing signs that it's time to move away from swaddling, you don't need to go off looking for another solution or try to figure out how to stop swaddling. You can do 1 of 2 things:

1. Transition Baby Out of Their Swaddle Slowly

  1. The slow transition out of the swaddle starts by leaving just one arm of your baby out of the swaddle initially. This is considered safe even when your baby is showing signs of rolling. Leaving one arm tucked in is a good way to counteract the Moro reflex that can startle and wake your baby in those early months.
  2. After several days, you can move to both arms out. The swaddle can remain secure around your baby's chest to maintain the security they are used to. You can do this for a few days or really for as long as your baby is comfortable that way.
  3. The last step in this process is to take the wings off completely and stop swaddling. Most parents choose to use a wearable blanket after they've moved on from swaddling. With the Dreamland Baby Wearable Weighted Blanket, you simply remove the detachable wing. Baby is able to keep the wearable weighted blanket they've used all along without having to get used to a different feeling of something new.

2. Use the "Cold Turkey" Method to Unswaddle

Once your baby shows signs that it is time to stop swaddling, you simply remove their swaddle. With the Dream Wearable Weighted Blanket, that means removing the detachable wing and placing them in their wearable weighted blanket without the swaddle. There is no transition period. If you know your baby is truly ready to be unswaddled, this can be a simple and great way to handle the transition. That way, there is no grey area.

For a more in-depth look at how to make the transition out of the swaddle go as smoothly as possible, read our article, "Transitioning Out of the Swaddle: Methods and Tips for When it's Time."

Life Beyond Swaddled Sleep

Knowing when you should stop swaddling a baby is pretty clear and the transition out of a swaddle doesn't have to be difficult. Keeping your baby comfortable through the process is key in helping them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.