How to Drop the Swaddle
Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with the swaddle? I know I did! Was it tight enough? Too tight? Was my baby going to ninja their way out of it? The swaddle was so beneficial until the dreaded day of needing to drop it. So, let’s talk about why we swaddle, the importance of dropping the swaddle, and how do we stop?
Why do we swaddle?
Swaddling a newborn provides comfort and makes them feel secure, which oftentimes helps them sleep better. We recommend using the swaddle because it is a helpful tool that keeps your baby warm, safe, and rested. Babies are used to the womb where it is snug and warm, so a swaddle helps them transition into this world. This calms a newborn's startle reflex, helping them stay asleep instead of flailing their arms waking them up multiple times.
Why do we need to drop the swaddle?
It is important to transition out of the swaddle before it becomes a prop. I recommend having your baby transitioned out of the swaddle 8-11 weeks before your baby becomes too mobile and before the 4-month sleep regression.
Here are some signs to watch for to know if it is time to stop swaddling.
- Your baby wants to have their hands or feet mobile.
- Your baby is kicking out of the swaddle, causing it to loosen or unravel, and you need to fix it. Side note: My favorite swaddles were the Velcro ones!
- Your baby can roll around.
How do we stop swaddling?
- Begin at bedtime when sleep pressure is its highest. Your baby’s natural sleepiness will make this the least impacted time to remove it. You can do one arm out at a time for 2-3 days, then take the other arm out, or cold turkey.
- Next, move on to naps.
I know it seems like a hard transition. But babies always do better than we give them credit for!
Which mom are you: the gradual swaddle dropper or the cold turkey method?
Sonja Tapper is a certified pediatric sleep consultant at Sleep Wise Consulting. She lives in Southwest Missouri with her husband and two young kids. She believes a well-rested family is a happier and healthier family. Her mission is to help families get the rest that they deserve so each member can thrive. She supports (virtually) and guides parents of babies as young as one week old through toddlerhood by helping them sleep 10-12 hours a night. She specializes at working with each family learning their unique needs, and creates a personalized plan for every little one. Parents are provided with the tools, resources, and confidence while working with her, setting them up for long-term success.
Follow her on Instagram @sonjatapper, where she loves giving advice and providing parents with helpful sleep tips!
Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees and/or contractors.