When To Stop Swaddling Your Baby – Complete Guide For Mommies

You just had your first baby, after an adorable ( and sometimes very hard ) nine months, he or she is finally here and you couldn’t be happier! There’s nothing like the feeling of holding your first born in your arms and just making this first connection when he’s out in the world.

Up until this point he was inside your body and everything was warm and cosy, and honestly one of the first questions new parents ask is when to stop swaddling their babies. Sometimes while still in the hospital it is the first thing that comes to mind.

When babies come out to the world, in the first few weeks and even months it can take some getting used to the whole thing, this is where swaddling comes in. This post will let you know everything you need and want to know about swaddling and similar things so you can relax and just follow us.

What is swaddling anyway?

when to stop swaddling - techniques

Swaddling is the act of wrapping your newborn baby tight and nice with a blanket so that he feels warm and cosy, When babies just come into the world it is very different from the environment that they were used to for nine months, so things can be overwhelming to say the least, the act of snuggling them in a warm blanket makes them feel safe and familiar to what they know like inside the womb.

why is swaddling important?

So like we mentioned before, coming out of the mom womb and into the world can be overwhelming to a newborn baby, By swaddling the baby we can create a somewhat similar experience for him and this helps the baby relax and feel more secure. It is common that in the first few weeks newborn babies will be swaddling for most of the day and as they get older in weeks the amount of time will be gradually reduced. Babies need to be swaddled so that they have a smooth transition from the womb to the outside world.

when to stop swaddling my baby?

when to stop swaddling - how to stop

One of the first questions new parents have after bringing their newborn home is when should they stop swaddling their baby. And while there is no cut and dry answer to this question you shouldn’t worry as like a lot of things in raising a child, your intuition will tell you. And if it won’t, your baby will definitely will!

Most parents will swaddle their baby during the newborn stage a lot as a soothing technique to make him feel safe, In general, at around 3 or 4 months old you will start to gradually phase the swaddling blanket from your baby, but there are cases when babies were still using a swaddle even at the age of 5,6,7 and even 9 months old. So don’t get too caught on the number here. Most babies will naturally start to reject swaddling and get themselves out or cry when they don’t want it anymore.

Having said that, here are some basic guidelines you can follow to know when to stop swaddling your baby:

  • The average age to stop swaddling babies is 3 to 4 months old.
  • Some babies won’t outgrow their startle reflex ( AKA the Moro reflex ) until the age of 4 to 5 months. So make sure to not stop swaddling them too early, if your baby’s startle reflex is still strong and you pull away the swaddling, he or she may startle themselves when they sleep or during naps and it will wake them up.
  • If your baby keeps breaking out of his swaddle every night, it might be time to start phasing it out as he is ready to sleep without it, but don’t do it if it happened only one or two times per week. Wait until you see he really doesn’t want it anymore and then you can change to a safer swaddling blanket so that you don’t have loose blanket inside the crib.
  • SWADDLED BABIES SHOULD NEVER SLEEP FACE DOWN! If your baby starts to roll over on to his stomach while sleeping it is time to stop swaddling your baby. Always remember, when it comes to babies, saftey first!
  • Don’t keep your baby swaddled up all day long. When your baby is sleeping and he’s in the newborn age it’s fine, but babies need time to move freely too, and won’t get stuck in the same position all day. This will allow them to grow stronger and develop their motor skills.
  • If you want to start sleep training your baby, you should first stop swaddling him. In the process of the sleep training you will train you baby to self sooth, and it will not be possible to teach them how to do this when they are swaddled.

How to stop swaddling my baby?

So you made it this far and you know what is swaddling and why it is important, you also learned when to stop swaddling your baby and when it’s the right time to do it. All you have left to do is to learn how to stop swaddling right? Well, keep reading.

Some babies are great self-soothers and are not too dependent on the swaddle. For these babies it will be pretty easy to live without the swaddle quickly, while for babies who are very dependent on their swaddle to sleep, it may be a longer task to phase it out. But we have some great tips for you so don’t feel discouraged.

half swaddle

The best way to start the phasing process of the swaddle is to do it gradually. You could do it by start leaving one arm or one leg out of the swaddle and see how the baby reacts. Then gradually start to leave both arms or both legs out of the blanket until you eventually get to the point where your baby won’t need the swaddle at all. This slow transition will make it easier for a baby to get used to sleeping without a swaddle.

Like a lot of things in the baby world, you have some products that will help you with this transition if you wish to use them. One of them is the Swaddle Strap by Anna & Eve. It’s a cool swaddling product or tool that is great for those warmer months when your swaddle blanket is just too much or just heavy for no reason. You can definitely use this product as a swaddle tool to wean the swaddle blanket out, one example is to use the Swaddle Strap and only swaddle your baby’s arms so his legs are free.

Another cool product is the Zipadee-Zip, this blanket is designed to help you phase out the swaddle blanket and it works by offering a bigger range of motion while wearing it, this will help your baby to learn and practice self-soothing while still feeling the warmth of the Zip. It could work great with older babies who are still attached to their swaddle but need more room to wiggle.

A final note to remember is that every time you are trying to wean your baby from something related to sleep, it will disrupt his sleeping routine. This means that when you decide to stop swaddling the baby for sleep, he or she will wake up in the middle of the night at first until they get used to the new situation. It is normal and it can take a week or so to fully wean your baby from swaddling. Once he feels comfortable sleeping without it, the sleeping routine should be back to normal.

We would love it if you share with us and the rest of our readers how and when did you stop swaddling your baby?  And also don’t forget to share this post with a new mother.