Few things make a parent happier than seeing their baby have a good night’s sleep. Keeping a baby swaddled helps them feel cocooned and can mimic the feeling of being in the womb. This gives newborn babies a sense of security, which helps them sleep well. Swaddling is a very effective way for babies to sleep. However, a baby cannot be swaddled past a certain age. Eventually, they tend to grow out of the swaddling phase. Stopping swaddling might take a while for the baby to adjust to, but there are several steps you can take to make this transition smooth.
When should you stop swaddling your baby?
Swaddling can keep your baby warm and cozy, but this comfort can soon turn unsafe as they grow older. Swaddling can become risky once your baby starts to roll over on their stomach. This is usually somewhere between 4 and 6 months, however, the time may vary depending on each baby.
Here are some of the signs which indicate that you should stop swaddling.
- Being too mobile or strong to stay swaddled the entire night
- Resisting being swaddled.
- Wanting to keep an arm or both out.
- Waking up in the middle of the night
- Being restless at night or during mid-sleep
It is dangerous for swaddled babies to sleep face down as they might find it difficult to breathe facing downwards. These are a few signs babies show from which parents must take the cue that it is time to stop swaddling. Parents need to have a plan in place to make this transition. This can take a couple of days for your baby to get used to and is normal. It is exactly like how it takes time for people to get adjusted to a new bed or pillow.
Here are a few ways on how to stop swaddling your baby.
Use a wearable blanket
A wearable blanket mimics the comfort of being swaddled as it is heavily padded while keeping the hands free. This gives babies the comfort of being swaddled while the motion of their arms are not being restricted. The gentle pressure from the padded parts of the blanket help in the transition, this is because it adds a sense of security for the baby. One of the main advantages of using this type of blanket is that it eliminates the safety concerns of a regular blanket.
Swaddle with one arm free
By the time your baby is 4 months, he/she will start showing you signs that they are outgrowing the swaddling phase. When you start noticing these signs, it is an indication that you should slowly start changing the swaddling techniques. One of the best ways to do it by leaving the dormant arm out while sleeping.
By leaving only one arm out, you can avoid the disturbance caused by the movement of the arms which happens when your baby is not swaddled. Your baby can startle themselves awake at night or while taking a nap. This phenomenon is called moro-reflex.
If your baby has no moro-reflex and if your baby is alright sleeping with an arm out, you can try swaddling them with both arms out. This will get the baby adjusted to sleeping outside a swaddle.
Swaddle the stomach
Once your baby is comfortable with free arms it is time to slowly free the legs as well. Gradually loosen the swaddle near the legs for a few days and observe if the baby is sleeping well. If your baby is sleeping well with legs kept loose, it is a sign that you can free the legs as well. However, this does not mean the baby should be completely free of swaddling. While your baby’s limbs can be free of the swaddle, continue to use a swaddle around the belly for a few more days while slowly loosening it out.
A sleep lounger is a great product and helps in transitioning from the swaddle. Sleep loungers provide a comfortable and well-cushioned bedding for the baby. These loungers are made from different materials; it is ideal to opt for either woolen or cotton one. Both wool and cotton give a nice soft and cushioning effect making it comfortable for the baby to rest on. For additional safety look for a lounger with a safety belt so that the baby does not fall off the lounger at any given time. The sleep lounger is also the perfect way to transition the baby into a crib.
While this transition might be time-consuming and might even cost you sleep for a few nights, it is absolutely essential. It is important to stop swaddling because your baby needs to sleep freely in order to grow taller, stronger and improve their motor skills. The restricted movement when swaddled hampers their growth. To know more about skin care tips for your little one visit our blog. You can also explore the range of exclusive baby products at Little West Street.