When to Stop Swaddling

The AAP recommends that parents stop swaddling their baby (arms in) after they turn two months old. This is because swaddling becomes unsafe if: Baby starts getting strong enough to break out of the swaddle, causing there to be loose fabric in the crib. Top parts of blanket can fall over baby’s face – a risk factor for SIDS.

The AAP recommends that parents stop swaddling their baby (arms in) after they turn two months old, when babies start getting strong enough to break out of the swaddle.

It’s time to move on from swaddling when your baby: is around 2 months old and becomes strong enough to break out of the swaddle, causing their arms to be loose. The loose fabric could pose a strangulation risk. has gotten used to the feeling they get while being swaddled and can fall asleep without being held tightly or wrapped in a blanket.

Swaddling can be beneficial for young babies who are having trouble sleeping, but there are times when parents should stop swaddling their babies. This is important because swaddling can become unsafe if the baby gets too big or starts rolling, causing loose fabric in the crib.

In order to ensure the safety of your baby, it’s important to stop swaddling by the time he/she turns 2 months old. To safely transition out of swaddling, you can use a sleep sack or wearable blanket that still keeps your baby warm but gives them their arms back.

If parents can no longer break out of their swaddle, they may be ready to stop swaddling.

If I could give new parents just one piece of advice, it would be to swaddle their newborn. 

Swaddling is an effective technique to help soothe newborns as they adjust to life outside the womb. I swaddled my girls right from the get-go and it was truly a lifesaver during the first couple of months. By wrapping them up tightly, you’re helping them soothe through startle reflex and mimicking the womb environment – which can help them sleep better and for longer stretches.

But as much as swaddling helps, it can’t last forever. Swaddling, when done properly, is completely safe and recommended for newborns. But as they grow and become more mobile, swaddling can become unsafe if you don’t transition your baby out of it at the right time.

At what age should you stop swaddling?

Not every parenting question has a straightforward answer. But the issue of when to stop swaddling is pretty clear-cut: You should ditch the swaddle as soon as you notice your little one becoming more active and attempting to roll over.

That can happen as early as 2 months, which is the safest time to stop swaddling. Though many babies roll over at around 3 or 4 months old, bidding the swaddle farewell should happen earlier, when your baby starts showing signs of trying to roll.

What makes this the best age to stop swaddling? Once your baby is mobile to the point where she could potentially kick off her blanket, the blanket poses a possible suffocation or strangulation hazard. (Remember, safe sleep rules say no loose blankets or bedding in the crib or bassinet until your baby’s first birthday, at the very earliest.)

And it’s not just a safety issue. Once your baby is getting more mobile, being confined to a wrap can prevent her from practicing age-appropriate motor skills. And that could be bad for her development. 

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With all this considered, you might be wondering whether it makes more sense to stop swaddling even earlier, say, when your baby is a month old. Unless your baby is showing signs of being more mobile and attempting to roll over, there’s no need to stop swaddling quite that early, especially if it seems to help your baby sleep better.

But if you want to stop sooner — maybe you’re tired of the whole swaddle wrapping thing or your baby doesn’t seem to sleep any better with a swaddle than without — it’s perfectly fine to do so. Babies don’t need to be swaddled, and some actually snooze more soundly without being wrapped up.

Though before you give up on swaddling altogether, you might want to consider looking into a Velcro or zipper swaddle wrap. Some parents find them easier to use, and some babies seem to prefer them to old-fashioned blankets.

How do you transition out of a swaddle?

After wrapping and unwrapping your baby more times than you could possibly count, stopping swaddling can feel like the end of an era. And if her swaddle blanket has become an integral part of her sleep routine, you might worry that stopping could seriously throw things off.

The good news is, all babies eventually adjust to sleeping without a swaddle. And of course, you could certainly try stopping cold turkey to see how your baby responds. You never know — she might sleep just as well as before!

But if you suspect that wouldn’t be the case (or you don’t want to risk a bad night’s sleep experimenting), you can also try a more gradual approach. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by swaddling your baby with one of her arms out of the swaddle.
  • A few nights later after she’s gotten used to having one arm out, move on to swaddling her with both of her arms free.
  • A few nights after that, stop using the swaddle blanket altogether.

Swaddling your baby with one or both arms out is perfectly safe, as long as you continue to wrap her blanket securely. In fact, some newborns prefer being swaddled with one or both arms free from the very beginning.

Another swaddle transition option: Trade your swaddle blanket for a transitional sleep sack. These swaddle wrap/wearable blanket hybrids offer a similar snugness to a wrap, but don’t come with the risk of potentially being kicked off while your baby is sleeping.

If you choose to use one of these sleep sack products, just keep in mind that you’ll eventually have to transition your baby out of that too — either because she outgrows it or because it, too, becomes unsafe as she starts moving more.

Ultimately, there’s no one best way to stop swaddling — so do what you think will work best for your baby and you. And if you’re unsure or have questions, reach out to your baby’s pediatrician.

How do I get my baby to sleep without being swaddled?

It’s understandable that you might worry your baby won’t sleep as well without her swaddle. But rest assured, even if your baby initially has a tough time transitioning, she’ll eventually get used to it.

Remember, you still have lots of tools at your disposal for helping your little one sleep. Establishing a calming bedtime routine with a predictable pattern — like a bath, feeding, rocking and a lullaby or a story — can help your baby unwind and, hopefully, fall asleep.

Creating a soothing ambiance by dimming the lights, speaking softly and playing white noise can help too. And finally, don’t discount the power of touch: Infant massage can calm a fussy baby and get her in the zone to fall asleep.

And even though you can no longer use a swaddle blanket, you may still be able to use a swaddle-sleep-sack hybrid to bridge the transition. You could also go straight to trying a regular sleep sack — basically, a wearable blanket that, depending on the model, your child may be able to continue to use well into toddlerhood (though you may need to size up as she gets bigger).Swaddling is a smart sleep strategy for newborns. But once your little one is about 2 months old and reaches the point of trying to roll or kick free of her swaddle blanket, it’s time to move on. Here’s to the next exciting phase of babyhood!

When to Stop Swaddling Snoo

Swaddling is a smart strategy for helping your newborn sleep more soundly. Tucking her in a snug wrap can make her feel safe and secure as she adjusts to life outside the womb, keep her cozy and warm as her internal thermostat ramps up, and prevent her from flailing her arms and legs and triggering the startle reflex

But within a couple of short months, it’ll be time to kiss the practice goodbye. Though safe for newborns (provided you’re swaddling in accordance with other safe sleep guidelines), swaddling becomes risky as your baby gets older and becomes more mobile.

So when exactly should you stop swaddling your baby, and how can you ease your little one’s transition to swaddle-free sleep? Here’s what you need to know. 

When To Stop Swaddling

The AAP recommends that parents stop swaddling their baby (arms in) after they turn two months old. This is because swaddling becomes unsafe if: 

  1. Baby starts getting strong enough to break out of the swaddle, causing there to be loose fabric in the crib
  2. Some babies may show signs of rolling onto their stomach while sleeping swaddled

You can continue to keep your baby in their swaddle with one or both arms out beyond 8 weeks old, but it’s important to look out for the signs that it’s time to make the transition out of swaddling altogether.

5 Signs It’s Time To Stop Swaddling

Startle reflex starts to go away
One of the biggest reasons for swaddling newborns is to help them soothe through moro, or startle, reflex. All newborns are born with this reflex but it usually starts to fade anywhere between 2 and 4 months old. If you notice your baby “startling” less, it’s usually a sign that the time to transition out of swaddling is right around the corner.

Baby starts waking up more frequently throughout the night
If it suddenly seems like your baby is waking up more than usual, especially if they’re waking up crying or fussy without needing to be fed, might be because they’re getting uncomfortable in the swaddle. They may be trying to break free or get an arm out and wake themselves up in the process.

Baby breaks out of the swaddle
If you find your baby was able to wiggle an arm out or completely unwrap the swaddle while they sleep, it’s no longer safe to be swaddling as it creates loose fabric in the crib, increasing the risk of SIDS. 

Baby starts showing signs of rolling over
If your baby is working on their rolling skills, it’s time to make the transition to prevent baby rolling onto their stomach while sleeping and not being able to roll back. 

Baby starts fighting being swaddled
Some resistance is normal when swaddling, especially when you first try it on your baby. But if they start full-on fighting the swaddle as they get older, it’s a sign they are ready to sleep arms free.

How To Transition Out Of A Swaddle

If your little one is showing any of the signs it’s time to stop swaddling, you might be looking for alternatives to help them sleep. To ease the transition out of swaddling, try: 

Making the transition slowly: Instead of going cold turkey, transition out of swaddling by swaddling your baby with one arm out for a few nights, then both arms out for a few before dropping it altogether. 

Swap for a sleep sack: Transitioning from the swaddle directly into a sleep sack can really help baby adjust to not being swaddled. Plus, sleep sacks can be worn into toddlerhood! Here are some of my favorite ones. 

Use white noise: Learn more about how white noise helps babies sleep soundly here

Give baby a pacifier: Read what you should know about pacifiers and sleep here

And remember, if you’re struggling at all with our baby or toddlers sleep please contact me here. I am on a mission to help parents around the world get their kids sleeping through the night and yours should be next!

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