When should I stop swaddling my baby?
Ah, the baby burrito. Quite possibly one of the best ways to soothe a fussy baby, it eases the transition from a snug, warm womb to the outside world. Swaddling helps control the Moro reflex (the involuntary muscle movements sometimes associated with feelings of falling) can reduce night time wake-ups, and provides baby with a sense of security. Typically babies enjoy being swaddled until they are anywhere between 3-6 months old, with the average end time somewhere around 4 months ( or around when they outgrow the Moro reflex)
Eventually the swaddling must come to an end for both developmental and safety reasons, so read on to learn when you need to pull the plug on it.
If you have decided to sleep train your baby, you’ll need to think about cutting out the swaddle slowly. Sleep training is designed to teach your baby to self soothe and learn to regulate their emotional responses on their own, so the swaddle would inhibit that by providing instant soothing.
If your little one previously enjoyed being swaddled and suddenly begins to fuss, it’s probably time to transition away from the swaddle. As baby reaches developmental milestones, they’ll want to be active and mobile. You’ll notice that they may wiggle their arms out, and that’s also a sign that burrito time is coming to an end as they gain their independence. As you transition away from swaddling you can try an arms-out technique that baby may enjoy and still gain some security from as they grow.
If your baby has proven that they can wiggle out or unwrap themselves, it’s time to forego the swaddle entirely since loose blankets are a danger for babies. Never allow loose blankets in the crib or bassinet in order to help lower the risk of SIDS. You can utilize safer sleeping options like zip up baby sleeping bags or wearable blankets. There’s tons of great options out there. Here are some of our favorites:Zen Sack. The Zen Sack is "gently weighted" which "echoes your reassuring touch on baby’s chest. These are a great option to transition from the swaddle!
If your parental intuition is telling you to stop swaddling, then trust your gut. The only hard and fast rule is that as your baby begins to try and roll over, stop immediately. If baby does succeed in turning over, they need arms out to assist with head positioning and keeping them from becoming face-down. Swaddling will inhibit that and can be very dangerous in that situation and a risk factor for SIDS. NEVER place a baby on their stomach while swaddled.
Tips on finding the best swaddles-
We love a good breathable muslin blanket as a swaddle. Here’s a few of our favorites.
When baby is a newborn you can try a velcro swaddle. They make the burrito crafting process so easy, you’ll wrap them faster than Chipotle preps your lunch.
Here is a great option from SwaddleMe. SwaddleMe offers a range of swaddles for your baby in any stage.
Carters is the old trusted brand, but for good reason. Their swaddle blankets come in two packs and are 100% cotton.
With any swaddle you choose, just be sure that it’s a lightweight and breathable fabric like cotton to ensure the baby won’t overheat while wrapped or sleeping.
As always, consult with your baby’s pediatrician and follow any advice they give you in regards to how to properly swaddle, length of time, and when to stop.
Share with us some of your favorite brands of swaddles, muslin blankets, or wearable blankets in the comments! We love to know what other moms are using and loving!
Team New Bloom