How and when do I transition my baby out of a swaddle?
Good question! And a super important question because swaddling too long can be a huge safety risk.
The short and loose answer is around 4 months.
You should start transitioning out of a swaddle when your baby shows signs of being able to roll from BACK to FRONT. [Rolling front to back is A-ok.] Once they get that leg over and start to move on their playmat it’s time to start transitioning. If your baby is a slow roller, we recommend starting this process after the 4 month sleep regression! [Some babies take a LONG time to roll...and may even master sitting before rolling.]
I’ve definitely spoken to parents with 6,7,8 even 9 month olds that never got the memo to stop swaddling. Not only is there the risk of your baby rolling over and suffocating [I know, scary. I’m sorry.] but also your baby needs to MOVE. They practice stretching and wiggling throughout the night and before/after they sleep. They may want to get onto their side or stomach to sleep in a more comfortable position. If you are reading this and your baby is past 5 months old this is your newborn care specialist saying to get them out. Today.
Okay so HOW do I transition my baby?
Slowly if you can.
- Day 1: Start with naps! That way if it goes bad your whole night isn’t shot. Do one arm at a time alternating different arms each nap.
- Day 2: Same thing
- Day 3: Same thing but also leave an arm out at night
- Day 4: Usually I have parents go cold turkey arms out this day/night. If your baby is struggling it’s okay to reswaddle them for a nap or in the middle of the night. Just keep practicing and they will get it eventually. If they are overtired nobody wins!
What do I do if my really little baby is rolling?
Well, how little? The first couple weeks babies are still all scrunched up and they are often so light that they end up on their side. Just make sure they surface they are on is completely flat because a slight tilt on a bassinet can send tip them over. And wait patiently because they will flatten out soon. You can use a transitional swaddle like the love to dream if you are nervous.
If you just have a strong baby that is rolling at 2 months. First of all we’re sorry. Your baby developmentally still wants to be swaddled but physically they can’t. This is where the transitional swaddle comes in. A Love To Dream or even a Zipadeezip can be used to slow down the startle reflex until they are ready to be arms out.