When to Transition Baby Out of Swaddle

Swaddling with a newborn is intended to help keep your baby calm, safe, and snug as they adjust to their new surroundings. This soothing technique can be thought of as a hug for your newborn. While swaddling brings many benefits for newborns, there comes a time when you’ll need to transition out of using a swaddle. This blog will provide tips on making swaddling and transitioning out of swaddling much more seamless for your baby. We’ll also review how you will know when to start transitioning your baby out of a swaddle.

When to Start Transitioning Baby Out of Swaddle

Table of Contents

What does it mean to swaddle a baby?

Swaddling is a timeless soothing technique used to calm newborns. Swaddling can be described as wrapping your baby in a blanket or other cloth in a way that keeps their arms and legs all tucked in and snug. This can be done well by learning the proper technique to get your newborn wrapped snugly or by using one of the many swaddle products that have come to market to make this technique even more straightforward. While swaddling can help soothe your baby by making them feel safe and secure, it can also help keep them sleeping soundly longer. Newborns have what is called a startle reflex, which can wake them from their sleep! By swaddling, you can help limit the effects of this flailing reflex and keep your newborn sound asleep for more extended periods.

Why transition baby out of a swaddle?

With all the benefits of swaddling, you may wonder why one would want to transition a baby out of a swaddle that brings them so much comfort. While these benefits are great for newborns, swaddling can actually become restrictive or dangerous as your baby gets older and reaches different developmental milestones. This is due to new strengths your baby will develop, including the ability to roll over. It’s also important to mention that when swaddling your newborn, you should always lay them down on their back and never their stomach.

When should you start transitioning from a swaddle? 

There are a few ways to know when to transition a baby out of a swaddle. The first and most important sign is any action indicating your baby is starting to roll over. This can happen anywhere between 2 and 4 months old, but every baby is different. A baby in a swaddle with the ability to roll over may leave them stuck in a dangerous sleeping position.

Outside of this developmental milestone, there are other signs that your baby may have outgrown their swaddle.

Signs that your baby has outgrown a swaddle

  1. Your baby is showing signs of rolling over. As mentioned, a baby that can roll over should no longer be in a swaddle for safety reasons.
  2. Your baby is breaking out of their swaddle or seems uncomfortable. This can be due to new frustration with the swaddle or simply the sign of more muscular development from your baby. Use your gut, and if the swaddle no longer seems to bring your baby joy, it’s likely time to transition. Be cautious that extra loose fabrics from an unwrapped swaddle in a crib can become a safety concern.
  3. The startle reflex has subsided. This can typically happen between 2 and 4 months. Without this reflex, your little one may be able to keep themselves asleep a bit longer without the aid of a swaddle.

How long does it take to transition a baby out of a swaddle?

The transition out of a swaddle can be dependent on how early or late you begin the process. On average, a baby’s time to transition out of a swaddle can take anywhere from one to a couple of weeks. Typically, the need to be completely out of a swaddle happens at about four months or when a baby shows signs of rolling over. Of course, every baby is different, and yours may even transition within just a few days. Either way, be patient with yourself and your baby as you make this new adjustment.

Swaddle transition schedule

Every parent’s timeline to transition out of a swaddle may vary. Some will choose to go cold turkey, especially if their baby has started showing signs of rolling over. If you’re starting with some time and would like to make the adjustment in phases, here are some tips to make that transition:

  1. Slowly start swaddling with one arm free. This may be done for a few days or even a couple of weeks.
  2. Next, move to both arms free. Once your baby seems to be adjusted to one arm free, move to both arms out of the swaddle. Again, this duration can vary depending on your baby’s ability to adjust.
  3. Switch to a wearable sack or blanket. Sleep sacks and wearable blankets are a great next step, as they can provide that sense of comfort without the restriction of a swaddle for your growing baby.

Methods to transition a baby out of swaddle

As mentioned, a transition out of a baby swaddle can happen in various ways. Transitioning can be done through a phased transition or simply by removing the swaddle from your sleep time routine. During any adjustment, it’s natural for a baby to become a bit fussier. As you find that you may be picking up or holding your baby a little more through the transition out of a swaddle, your Tushbaby can provide the extra support you need to ensure your baby still feels safe and secure.

Not only is the Tushbaby carrier a great option for the transition out of the swaddle, but it can also be used for added support while your baby is still swaddled up for nap time. Tushbaby’s memory foam-lined seat can be the perfect place for a napping newborn while you hold them across your abdomen.

Other tips for transitioning a baby out of swaddle

As your baby transitions out of their swaddle, they may experience some trouble sleeping. Having different sources of comfort to help soothe your infant back to sleep will be helpful as you make this transition. Here are a few more tips for transitioning a baby out of a swaddle: 

  • Hold or rock the baby to sleep. Without the comfort of a swaddle, your baby may need extra comfort from their loved ones. Using the adjustable Tushbaby hip seat carrier can make this experience even more comfortable for whoever takes on the joy of rocking the baby to sleep.
  • Keep a pacifier handy. A pacifier can be a great source of comfort for a fussy baby. Keep your pacifier handy and clean with the aid of Tushbaby’s Paci Pod. This baby pacifier holder will keep the pacifier out of random pockets and ready when it’s needed most.
  • Be patient. With this transition, there may be some disruption to sleep schedules. Be patient with yourself as you navigate getting your baby used to sleeping outside of a swaddle.

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