Parents have swaddled their babies for a long time because it is an effective way to calm babies and make them sleep without any issues. Swaddling involves wrapping your baby in a soft and breathable blanket to make them comfortable and give them a feel of their mother’s womb. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, swaddling can be an effective way to promote sleep. So many parents say swaddling helps to prevent their baby from waking up unnecessarily at night since they feel snug and comfortable. It is important to note that while swaddling your baby it should be gentle and not too tight and only their bodies should be covered.
Although swaddling can be helpful to a newborn baby, it becomes risky as your baby becomes older. You might be wondering when to stop swaddling your baby so you don’t stop swaddling prematurely or too late. Swaddling should stop when a baby begins to roll without any support. Most times this can happen when your baby is 2 months old although some babies begin to roll over when they are 3 – 4 months old. It is important to notice when your baby starts to roll over so you can ease into transitioning your baby from sleeping with a swaddle to sleeping without a swaddle.
Signs that show when to stop swaddling
All babies do not have a fixed time when they can stop being swaddled. Some can be stopped at 2 months, others can be stopped at 3 or 4 months, although, babies often show signs when it safe to stop swaddling them. Below are some of the signs to take note of so you can know when it is safe to stop swaddling your baby.
- When your baby starts rolling over: Your baby can begin to roll over while being swaddled because of an increase in arm and neck strength and this is a good sign to stop swaddling. It has also been recommended by medical professionals that swaddling should stop immediately a baby begins to roll over without support.
- Sudden wake ups at night: A baby who sleeps well while being swaddled and suddenly begins to wake up at night because he or she is not comfortable or looks for a more comfortable position to sleep might be showing signs that it is time to stop swaddling.
- Resistance to being swaddled: When a baby begins to get stronger and mobile you might encounter some resistance to being swaddled and this might be a sign that you need to stop swaddling. Your baby might begin to fight being swaddled and want both arms out of the wrap when being swaddled or even take both arms out at night without any assistance.
- Increase in activity: A baby’s activity increases as development takes place. Your baby now has the strength to stretch out and move around and might find being swaddled a constraint to be mobile. When you notice an increase in your baby’s activities when swaddled, it means it’s time to stop swaddling your baby.
How to transition from the swaddle
When a baby starts showing signs that indicate a need to stop swaddling, you would need to transition from swaddling your baby. Below are a few guidelines on how to transition from a swaddle.
- Transition gradually: You should keep in mind that change is gradual. Babies are different and your baby might not transition as fast as another baby. So, transition gradually with patience and consistency.
- Swaddle with your baby’s arms out: When you are transitioning your baby from a swaddle, start with swaddling your baby with one arm out for some night and then proceed to swaddle your baby with both hands out until you notice that your baby is comfortable without being swaddled.
- Use a wearable blanket or sleepsuit: When your baby gets comfortable with both arms out, you can proceed to put your baby in a sleepsuit or a wearable blanket. This gives your baby the comfort needed while transitioning. Sleepsuits and wearable blankets are made for babies that are transitioning from a swaddle to help reduce a baby’s startle reflex.
Ways to make your baby sleep well without a swaddle
Your baby might have a difficult time sleeping properly without a swaddle when you are transitioning. The last thing you would want is to see your baby restless at night but don’t be worried because your baby will eventually get used to sleeping without a swaddle. Below are a few guidelines on how to make your baby sleep well without a swaddle.
- Create a calm atmosphere for your baby: A calm atmosphere can help your baby sleep well. While putting your baby to sleep, sing a lullaby or speak softly as your baby goes to sleep. You can also dim the light of the room the baby sleeps in to help your baby sleep faster.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine: Having a relaxing bedtime routine can make your baby sleep well without a swaddle. You can create a routine like- a bath, night feeding, reading a bedtime story or rocking your baby close to you. It is important to know that babies love a mother’s touch. So, ensure you have your baby close to you or gently give your baby a massage to get your baby to sleep comfortably.
Although swaddling helps your baby sleep peacefully, you should note that you would have to stop swaddling your baby at some point. The signs given above would make you know when to stop swaddling your baby. It is important to take note of these signs so you don’t stop swaddling your baby too late or too early. The guidelines given would help your baby have an easy transition from a swaddle and also help your baby sleep peacefully after transitioning from a swaddle. So, ensure you are consistent with your baby’s bedtime routine to establish a peaceful sleep for your baby.