When Do I Stop Swaddling?
Let's say you have an embe swaddle you and your baby love. You also have a great nighttime routine to help wind down your evening. You've even got an excellent sleep space complete with blackout curtains, noise machine, and a controlled temperature! But, all of a sudden, baby's sleep schedule goes out the window. You’d been making so much progress and all of a sudden, a huge regression occurs. You’re seemingly doing everything right, and yet it's not clicking anymore. This could potentially mean it's time to ask the question “when should I stop swaddling my baby?”
There are certainly other reasons baby may be experiencing sleep regression, but swaddle transitioning is definitely a common cause. What can be tricky to decipher is if really it's time to stop swaddling. How can you really know?
I’m sure by now you have caught on to the fact that nothing about raising a baby is cookie cutter. Every baby is different. As much as we would like the perfect formula to do everything just right, it sadly doesn't exist. This applies to swaddling as well! There isn’t one exact formula of when to ditch the swaddle. Thankfully this is not to say that there are not some incredible guidelines for the process.
In fact, there are very straightforward and clear guidelines laid out by the AAP that parents should be aware of when it comes to weaning off of the swaddle. We obviously want to create the safest sleep environment for our baby, so keeping swaddling safe is something important to think of!
What the AAP says
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, parents should stop swaddling around 10 weeks of age (around the 2.5 month mark) OR when the baby shows first signs of rolling over. This is due to the fact that if a baby is going to be rolling (especially at night), they are going to need their arms free to support their torso and head. Rolling in a swaddle can be a breathing hazard. So overall rule of thumb, parents should start the transition away from swaddling at first signs of rolling or at the 2.5 month mark!
Be in tune with baby's progress
The biggest implication from this guideline is this: parents and caretakers really need to be in tune with their babies' progress in this area. Not all babies roll right around 2.5 months, so it's important to look out for early signs. Baby could roll early, or take their time and have no rush in the rolling game. If baby is showing no interest in rolling, the numerical prompt of 2.5 months of age is the appropriate guidelines to follow. Whichever milestone comes first!
Food for thought
According to HappyBabyBlog, swaddling can actually prevent baby from rolling onto their stomach during sleep time prematurely. This creates an interesting dichotomy. We don’t want to stop swaddling too early, but we also cannot swaddle too long due to safety reasons. Remember, no timeline is exact. You know your baby best, so watch for those rolling signs. If you are unsure of what rolling signs may look like, a few common ones are lifting of the head more frequently during tummy time, rocking onto shoulders or scooting around when on their back. If there are none, try not to be too eager to scratch the swaddle before the 2.5 month mark! It may be in their best interest to not ditch the swaddle too soon.
How to notice if baby is ready to transition even before rolling
Your baby may actually be ready to stop swaddling before they show interest in rolling. If baby is suddenly extra fussy at night, they may be uncomfortable in their swaddle. There are other factors that could switch a babies sleep schedule (change in sleep environment, change in bedtime routine, growing pains etc). But if you have exhausted all other options, it could just boil down to the swaddle. If baby is resisting the act of swaddling (ie: when you are putting the swaddle on), this is a good sign they are not a huge fan anymore. Even more frequent awakenings at night can be a sign to pay attention to. If baby seems to be regressing with sleep progress, you may take the swaddle into consideration.
As with everything, all babies are unique. None of these signs are ALWAYS correlated with needing to stop swaddling, but they are certainly good things to keep an eye out for. If you have tried other methods of fixing sleep problems, it may be time to transition out of the swaddle.
How to transition out of swaddles
Transitioning looks different for each baby. Many sources recommend transitioning out of a swaddle and into a sleep slack. A sleep sack is like a wearable sleeping bag for your baby, but where arms are out and able to be used!
Luckily, with embe swaddles, transitioning is extremely simple! Embe’s arms in or out swaddle design offers you the sleep sack feature built in automatically. Once you notice baby is showing interest in rolling, or has hit that 2.5 month mark, opt for arms out! It could even be possible that your baby never liked having their arms in to begin with. If this is the case, opt for a long sleeve arms in or out swaddle, and you are set, no transition needed. Once baby is used to arms out, you can move towards a transitional swaddle, which is arms out regardless.
If baby has always opted for both arms in, try starting the transition by switching to one arm out! After a couple nights so baby can adjust, try both arms out. It can be just as simple as that! Some babies may take longer to adjust to their new sleeping routine so stay consistent. You could even try swaddling as normal during the night and transition during nap times. As long as baby is not actively rolling (meaning you begin transitioning at first signs of interest in rolling), you have the time to make the transition smoothly!
Remember, swaddling mimics the warmth and comfort of being in the womb. That's why the ability to safely being able to provide this as long as possible is a great option, instead of going cold turkey on the swaddling!
Benefits of embe swaddles... continued
Another huge benefit of embe swaddles is the personalization you have as an option from the beginning. Whether your baby likes legs in, legs out, long sleeve, or short sleeve. There is a combination that will make them the most comfortable. Maybe your baby only likes having one arm in, you can accommodate that. Legs out? No problem! Embe gives you the versatility to help your baby fall in love with the swaddle from the beginning. Not only that, but it gives you the creativity to make transitioning as smooth as possible!
Having this versatility is so freeing when beginning the transition. You won’t have to start a painful process, you can continue with your embe swaddle!
To wrap all of this up (pun intended), let’s remember a couple things! Timelines are guidelines but extremely important to pay attention to for baby's safety. Your baby may not roll right at 2.5 months, but keep an eye out for the signs of interest to ensure transitioning can be done in a safe manner. Whichever milestone comes first, rolling interest or 2.5 months is your golden marker. And as with everything, have patience with yourself! Baby may take a bit to adjust to no swaddling or to the new norm of their swaddling (ie arms out). That’s fine! Stay consistent, and give yourself grace.
Here at embe we have taken all of this into consideration to help you through the transition process. We want you to successfully help your baby get right back into their sleep schedule so you can get your sleep as well!