After being tightly cuddled inside mom for nine months, it's no wonder that some babies enjoy being swaddled after birth. It makes them feel snug, warm and secure. Swaddling can help calm many fussy or crying babies and even help them sleep longer in the first few months of life. In fact, many cultures have been swaddling their infants for thousands of years. Moms often tell us that they love to swaddle their baby because it helps their baby sleep better and longer. But, it’s a practice that cannot be continued indefinitely. And the thought of transitioning your child from swaddling can be distressing with worries of sleepless nights. But, it doesn’t have to be this way, here are some tips to help you’re little one transition from swaddling gently and at the right time.
It’s important to stop swaddling your baby when they show signs of breaking free from the swaddle wrap or when they show signs of rolling over. This can happen at different ages for your child, but generally it occurs on or before 4 months of age. If your child is able to break free from the swaddle there is the potential that the blanket or sack can bunch up and cover baby’s face, which is a suffocation risk. If baby can rollover in the swaddle, there is the potential they can roll to their stomach, an unsafe sleep position, and not be able to use their arms to turn over. The above risks are all important to watch for so you can correctly time the transition process.
Transitioning from swaddling to a SleepSack wearable blanket is different depending upon what type of swaddle you are using. Most, require you to stop “cold turkey”. The HALO® SleepSack® Swaddle on the other hand makes the transition easy with its adjustable swaddle that allows you to swaddle your baby with their arms in and arms out.
When it’s time to make the transition we recommend that you first swaddle your baby with one arm out for a couple days until they are used the feeling of having one arm free. Then, as you are comfortable, wrap them with both arms out. This gives them the secure sensation of the swaddle while allowing them to use their hands to self-soothe. Once your baby is sleeping comfortably in this manner moving to a SleepSack wearable blanket should be a breeze.
Swaddle One Arm Out: Fold left swaddle wing over baby's right arm and torso, tucking under baby's left arm. Fold right wing under baby's left arm and over baby's torso, allowing baby's left arm to remain free. Secure snuggly with the fastener strips.
Swaddle Two Arms Out: Fold left swaddle wing under baby's right arm and torso, tucking under baby's left arm. Fold right wing under baby's left arm and over baby's torso, leaving both arms free from the swaddle. Secure snuggly with the fastener strips.
For more information about safe swaddling, watch our Baby Care Basics Video with Dr. Tanya Altmann.