A guide to help you transition your baby out of the swaddle.
There is nothing quite as precious as watching a newborn baby sleep – safe, secure and perfectly cocooned in a swaddle. This newborn swaddling phase is a treasured time for mom and baby – a period of bonding and sensory comfort that so easily mimics the security that your baby once experienced inside the womb.
Around the age of four to six months, however, your little one may start to display certain signs that it is time to transition out of their newborn swaddle. This often coincides with other developmental milestones as your baby grows stronger, becomes more active, and eagerly learns to engage in the big wide world around them.
Why is swaddle transition important?
As your little one grows and their developmental needs change, so too will their sleep cycles. Once your baby becomes more active and alert, they may begin to shift positions in their sleep, wake more frequently, and even begin to unravel their swaddle at night. At this stage, with baby moving and learning to roll over, the swaddle may become a serious hazard.
So, how do you know when the time is right to transition your little one from their newborn swaddle? If your baby displays any of the below signs, then it is very likely a good time to start a transition plan out of the swaddle.
Four signs to take note of:
* Baby starts to fight being swaddled and prefers to keep one or both arms uncovered.
* Baby is strong enough to roll over and unravel the swaddle during the night.
* Baby is very active during sleep and dislodges the swaddle due to mobility.
* Baby experiences a change in sleep cycles and wakes up much more frequently at night, despite the swaddle.
If you’ve identified any of these signs, it’s time to begin a transition plan. However, changing your little one’s sleep routines and environment can be tricky. Here are a few guidelines to help you make this process as smooth as possible and ensure optimal rest for your baby.
One Arm Out
Slowly transition your little one from a swaddle to sleeping with one arm out. Swaddle your baby with the dominant arm out to give them more freedom of movement. In this way, if they begin to roll over, they can use the free arm to lift their heads without the fear of suffocation. Allow your little one to sleep with one arm out for a few nights to adjust to the new sense of freedom.
Both Arms Out
Once your baby is comfortable sleeping with one arm out, you can now progress to allow both arms to be left free for a few nights. In this position, baby has greater freedom over their limbs yet will still feel the sense of security they may need for peaceful sleep, wrapped up from the torso down.
Transition to A Sleep Sack
Once your baby is comfortable sleeping with free limbs, it is highly recommended that you transition them to a wearable blanket or sleep sack to ensure safer sleep and greater peace of mind. There are a number of swaddle transition products on the market today to help your children adjust to the new environment. Here are some of our favorites:
* The Magic Merlin Suit. This suit allows for more freedom of the limbs without the constriction of a newborn swaddle. Open feet and hands also help to keep baby at a comfortable temperature.
* The Guna Muna Pod. This cleverly designed swaddle sack offers five different swaddling options for a smoother transition. Adjust to meet your baby’s needs with options that include arms in, arms out / inside sack for warmth, arms up, arms out, and a conversion into a sack.
* The Love to Dream Swaddle UP. Designed to promote self-soothing and more restful sleep, this swaddle wraps your baby in soft comfort, while still giving them access to their hands. It is ideal for a transition as you can simply unzip one ‘wing’, wait a few nights for your baby to adjust to the sensation of sleeping with one arm released, and then remove the second wing for an ‘arms free’ night of sleep.
* The Nested Bean Zen Sack. This sack incorporates lightly weighted pads which extends the gentle pressure of your touch during sleep. It is also great for active sleepers and can be worn backwards by tummy sleepers who can roll independently.
* The Halo Sleep Sack. This is a wearable blanket that your little one can’t kick off at night, thus ensuring better, safer sleep.
Make the right choice for your little one and ensure a more peaceful night of rest in your home. Be sure to contact us to chat about your family’s unique sleep needs and how we can offer support, sleep training advice and more.