Swaddling is a great option to help your baby sleep well. Swaddling makes them feel safe and secure as they adjust to life outside the cozy space of your womb.
But sooner or later you both will have to say goodbye to the swaddle and move on to the next stage.
Though swaddling is safe for newborns as long as you are following the safe sleep guidelines, swaddling does become riskier as your baby gets older and their mobility increases.
In this article
- At What Age Should You Stop Swaddling?
- How Do You Transition From Swaddling?
- Swaddling Alternatives
- Are Sleep Sacks Safe For Babies Who Can Roll Over?
- The Final Thought
At What Age Should You Stop Swaddling?
Not every parenting question has a simple and straightforward answer. But the question of when to stop swaddling has a pretty simple answer.
As soon as you notice your little one becoming more active and attempting to roll over, you should stop swaddling them. This can happen as early as 2 months and so this is the safest time to stop swaddling your baby.
Although just because your baby is attempting to roll over, the actual event may not happen for a few months yet. But once they start attempting it, it is safer to ditch the swaddle straight away.
Once your baby starts to become more mobile being confined could potentially prevent them from practicing age-appropriate motor skills. This can impact their development.
You may be thinking that you should stop swaddling as early as 1 month old due.
But to be honest, as long as your baby is not showing any signs of rolling over then there is no need to stop swaddling them at this age – especially if this helps your baby to feel safe and sleep well.
But if you do want to stop sooner, because you are finding the whole swaddling thing a bit of a faff, then you certainly can. Before you give up on swaddling altogether, you could consider trying a velcro swaddle wrap.
How Do You Transition From Swaddling?
When you eventually make the decision to stop swaddling it can feel like the end of an era.
For many babies, their swaddling blanket becomes a critical part of their sleep routine. So is the lack of swaddling now going to throw off their great sleep routine.
Do not panic there is good news in that all babies will eventually adjust to sleeping without being swaddled.
And if you want to stop cold turkey, you certainly can try and you never know your baby may sleep just as well without being swaddled as they did swaddle.
If like most parents who have cracked the sleeping routine, you don’t want to upset your little one and potentially have to deal with sleepless nights again, you could try a more gradual approach. Here is how you can do it gradually:
- Start by swaddling your baby and leaving one of their arms free of the swaddle.
- Once they are happy with having one arm out, move on to swaddling them with both of their arms free.
- A few nights later remove the swaddle blanket completely.
Swaddling your baby with one or both arms free is perfectly safe as long as you ensure that the blanket is wrapped securely. Some newborns prefer this method of swaddling right from the start.
Another option is to swap out your swaddling blanket for a sleep sack. These still offer the snugness of a swaddle, but do not come with the risk of your little one kicking them off while they are sleeping.
If you do choose this option, understand that you are just putting off the inevitable and you will have to transition them from a sleep sack as well.
How Do I Get My Baby To Sleep Without Being Swaddled?
Many parents worry that their baby will be unable to sleep without being swaddled and even if they have some issues at the beginning they will eventually get used to it.
You still have plenty of other ways to help your little one get to sleep. Babies thrive on routine and a good bedtime routine will help enormously.
A bath, feeding, rocking, and a story is a good example of a bedtime routine. These will help your baby to unwind, relax and hopefully fall asleep.
We have looked at some swaddling alternatives that may be a great option for some babies. Here are some of our favorites:
Pros Of A Sleep Sack
- Leaves baby’s arms free.
- 2 way zippers for convenience.
- Can be used for any season.
Cons Of A Sleep Sack
- Will eventually have to transition out of this too.
Pros Of Arms Free
- Can extend the time that you can swaddle your baby.
- Help baby to transition to sleeping without being swaddling.
Cons Of Arms Free
- will eventually have to transition out of this too.
Are Sleep Sacks Safe For Babies Who Can Roll Over?
Sleepsacks have open arms and are a great option once your baby shows signs of rolling over.
Your baby is perfectly safe in a sleep sack even once they have started to roll around as long as you take a few additional steps:
- Keep their sleeping space free of any blankets, pillows, or other suffocation hazards.
- Ensure the crib sheet is tight-fitting and flat.
- Your baby should always be put to sleep on their back.
Can babies be swaddled after they can rollover?
Definitely not and this can happen as early as two months old. Swaddling does actually help to prevent babies from rolling onto their stomach which is a SIDS risk factor.
What if my baby roll’s over while swaddled?
If a baby who is swaddled rolls over onto their stomach, there is a high probability that they will not be able to get back onto their backs. This becomes a suffocation risk.
Can I swaddle baby with arms out?
If your baby seems to prefer having their arms free, it is fine to leave one or both of their arms out of the swaddle.
Is it OK not to swaddle a newborn?
Babies do not have to be swaddled and if your baby is happy without being swaddled then don’t bother. Just follow safe sleep guidelines such as ensuring that your baby is put to sleep on their back.
The Final Thought
Swaddling and sleepsacks are a great option to help your baby sleep soundly in a cozy and snug environment. But it is a normal part of their development for them to outgrow this stage.
Once they can roll over you may find that they are disturbing their own sleep but do not panic this stage will not last more than a few days.