Transitioning out of the swaddle is a very big milestone, and it can be a big stressor on parents. There is so much noise out there about swaddling. Should you swaddle? How long should you swaddle? What kind of swaddle should you use? How do you transition out of it? Hopefully I can answer some of those questions for you.
SHOULD YOU SWADDLE? WHAT KIND SHOULD YOU USE?
This is becoming a hot topic. The big debate today is about whether the swaddle stopping the moro reflex is damaging to a baby’s brain. I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m still doing my own personal research on the subject. Once I find out more, I will update you guys here.
Personally, I like to swaddle because it does remind babies of the womb and does help calm them. I do not like to swaddle babies so tightly that they can’t move an inch. This is surprisingly more easy than I thought it’d be, especially as a new parent. I remember Linda busting out of her little swaddle, and I’d get so frustrated. The natural response is to want to put it on tighter, but that is not a good solution.
I love swaddle sacks like the Love to Dream swaddle. I feel like these sacks replicate the feel of the womb because in the womb, that baby’s arms aren’t strapped down to their side. They are able to move them freely but still within the confines of a “sack”. With the swaddle sack, the baby’s moro reflex still kicks in, and they will startle. The purpose of the swaddle sack though is to keep it to a minimum and to comfort the baby by reminding them of the womb.
With Linda, we used the Swaddle Me swaddles. These are the ones with the velcro that secures them within the swaddle sack. I have to say though, they are not my favorite. The sound of velcro ripping at 3am to change a dirty diaper is NOT a welcome treat. If you choose to stick with a traditional swaddle, these are a great option. Another option if you are a swaddle wiz is the traditional swaddle blanket. These are the OG. I am not a swaddler pro so they are not for me.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU SWADDLE?
As you know as a parent, your baby gets swaddled in the hospital, many times even before you get to hold your baby. This goes to show that you can swaddle as soon as your baby is born. Babies typically are ready to drop the swaddle around 3-5 months. The way to really know if your baby needs to drop the swaddle is when your baby starts rolling over. Once this happens, your baby will need to be able to use his/her arms to push up and roll back over. Personally, Linda was a late bloomer when it came to rolling, so she was not rolling over when we transitioned out of her swaddle. We knew she was ready when she started fighting it more than it calmed her. In the end, it’s mainly up to you on when you should drop it.
HOW TO TRANSITION OUT?
I always recommend going to a sleep sack after a swaddle. It’s a great tool to use with your little one because it still keeps them semi-confined. It’s also great as they get older because it prevents them from jumping out of the crib. There are a few ways that you can transition out of the swaddle.
Cold Turkey - This is pretty self explanatory I think. You simply stop putting the baby in the swaddle and move to a sleep sack.
Transition product - When you do this, you will use a transition product like the Magic Merlin suit. Many people don’t like the Merlin suit because it’s just another thing that you will have to transition from. We loved the Merlin! It literally looks like a baby sumo suit. It’s quite literally the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. The thought behind it is that the puffiness and slight weight from the suit will still help soothe your baby and keep them asleep. I personally like the Merlin suit because, even though you will have to transition out of it, it buys you some more time until your baby’s moro reflex settles down. When using a product like this, you will drop the swaddle and move directly to the product.
Slow Transition - This is the “one arm out” trick. The idea is that you will slowly get your baby used to sleeping without a swaddle. You will go from a full swaddle to having one arm out but the rest of the body swaddled. Do this for 3-5 days. Once your baby gets used to that, move the other arm out. This will look like just swaddling your baby’s torso. Again, do this for 3-5 days. After this, you will go straight to the sleep sack. When you are transitioning out of the swaddle, be sure to continue to keep the swaddle snug, but don’t make it too tight.
Another option is the Love to Dream swaddle transition sack. This is a sack that has
zippers on the arms so that you can just unzip an arm and let it out.
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