It is time to ditch the swaddle…now what?!

Swaddles are an amazing way to help your little one sleep. When your baby is in utero, they are used to be in a tight and snuggly place. As soon as they are born, they have all these new sensations and freedom to move their arms and legs around!

The Moro Reflex

The Moro reflex is commonly known as the startle reflex. It is an important and developmental reflex babies are born with. Have you ever put your baby down, in their bassinet or crib, back first without a swaddle and notice their arms and legs almost jerk in the air? That is the startle reflex! This happens to them all night and during naps, it is completely normal, however can wake them up out of sleep. By swaddling your baby, you are imitating that tight environment they were so used to (your womb) and helps to dull that startle reflex as they sleep.

When is it time to transition out of the swaddle?

Between 8-12 weeks old, your little one will start to try to roll. Many babies will actually fully roll to their belly in their sleep. Scary, right?! Once your baby is starting to try to roll over in the day, that is when it is time to ditch the swaddle. We do not want your baby to roll their little burrito-wrapped bodies over to their belly in the middle of the night. Their necks are not strong enough to lift their heads off the mattress and they don’t have their arms free to help lift their torso up! So as soon as you notice your little one attempting to roll over during tummy time, it is time to ditch that swaddle and start the transition to a sleep sack!

Ok so it is time to ditch the swaddle, that’s scary…are they ever going to sleep?!

Yes! Here are my go to steps to use to help transition your baby from swaddle to sleep sack.

Steps to transition out of the swaddle:

1. You are going to start with naps first. For 2-3 days, take 1 arm out of their swaddle for all naps.

2. After you have had 1 arm out for naps for 2-3 days, take 1 arm out for nighttime sleep. Do this for 2-3 more days

3. Once one arm has been out of the swaddle for both naps and nighttime sleep, you can now take both arms out for naps. Do this for 1-2 days.

4. After 1-2 days of both arms being out for all naps, take both arms out for nighttime sleep as well.

*Make sure to always used a Velcro swaddle for this, otherwise it is not tight enough! The Ollie is my go-to velcro swaddle.

Other ways to make the transition

You also can just go straight to a sleep sack! The sleep sack will still give your baby that feeling of security and also signal to their brain that it is time for sleep when you place them in it as part of their routine. My absolute FAVORITE sleep sack is the Kyte Baby 1.0-2.5 TOG.

Linked here: Kyte Sleep Sack

My go to transitional products are:

  1. Zipadee Zip Sleep Sack
  2. Magic Merlin Sleep Suit
  • The Zipadee Zip is a great transitional sack that can be used for a long time after your baby is fully rolling and waking up on their bellies!
  • The Magic Merlin is a great option for babies who still have a strong Moro Reflex to dull that from waking them up but it will prevent them from rolling. We never want to prevent our babies from rolling themselves over to their bellies. It is a very important developmental skill. The Merlin is great for a shorter period of time but should be discontinued around 4 months.

Is it safe for my baby to sleep on their belly?!

The quick answer is yes…but only if they put themselves there! Once your baby can roll themselves to their belly, it is ok to leave them like that! Hwever, we never want to place them down on their stomach for sleep. Back is best and you should also start sleep off by placing them on their back. If they roll themselves on their belly, it is ok to leave them since many babies actually prefer to sleep like that.

Practice Practice Practice!

Practice all those cool new skills (like rolling) as much as you can during the day!

This is also a popular time for the 4 month sleep regression

Yikes, you are switching out of the swaddle AND the sleep regression is starting to hit? If you think your baby is starting to hit the 4 month sleep regression, I have an amazing guide that will help you through the regression using my go to technique!

Do you need more personalized help with getting your little one sleeping?

Scroll to Top