How to Transition Out of Swaddle? It’s Time to Let Go!

how to transition out of swaddle

Being firm as a parent may come out strong from your child’s point of view. But if we aren’t, it’s a never-ending struggle with your baby. Swaddling is a comfort zone for my baby. For her, it’s a sense of security, peace, and ease.

But when it’s time for a baby to move out from her cocoon, you would see signs of baby “breaking” out of swaddles. How to transition out of swaddle?

The strain of the transition could be difficult. It’s either you or your baby wins! So let’s find out ways on how to end up without much of a fuss.
Is it time?

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How to know when it’s the right time?

Before we start with the techniques, we must learn first the different signs that your baby is ready to give up swaddling. It’s important to know the timing for transitions. Although it would be different from one baby to another, the usual stage should be between 4-6 months.

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    When you notice that your baby can already wiggle her arms out from the swaddle, this means she’s ready to use a safer swaddling blanket.
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    When you sense resistance and discomfort every swaddling moment, you’ll know she wants to break free!
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    When she’s strong enough to roll-over, she’s in danger of SIDS.

Ways on how to transition out of the swaddle. A smooth plan!

When you’re sure that it’s time to let go of the swaddle, it is essential that you have a transition plan in your mind to make it stress-free. Here’s a guide on how to do it. The step-by-step instruction must be applied every day until you’re successful.

Step 1- Arms Free

This transition is just like introducing to your baby another sleeping routine. Expect that this will take time for the baby to adjust. Do the swaddling by leaving one arm free.

At least, if the startle reflex is still there, the other arm will do the job in resisting the disruption caused by the jerking of both arms without the swaddle. Try this out for a few nights.

If you observe that your baby is now comfortable with one arm out while sleeping, then it’s time to free the other arm as well. Let it be for a few nights again.

Keep in mind that babies are different. One may make it in just a few days while others may take longer.

Arms Free

Step 2- Is it too soon?

Did the “arms free” step work? Actually, your baby will show you signs that you are on the right track. Observe her when taking a nap.

Is the startle reflex (Moro Reflex) still there? If she oftentimes shows the reflex or cries in between her sleep, it’s too soon to let go of the swaddle. 

Postpone the plan for a few weeks then you can try again. Remember to give your baby time to adjust. A few days will do.

Step 3- Time for a wearable blanket

This step on how to transition out of a swaddle will work when your baby is now comfortable with two arms out while being swaddled. Therefore, switching swaddle to a wearable blanket will not be a big change anymore.

A wearable blanket must be loose, enough to keep the baby comfy while wiggling around.

Letting your baby use a wearable blanket will reduce the worry of accidents that happen using an ordinary blanket. Keep an eye on your baby and evaluate if the phase is working or not.

Step 4- And now she’s starting to roll over!

It only takes a few days before your baby gets used to the sleeping sack. At this time, they may be strong enough to carry their weight and roll over on her tummy.

Swaddle Straps

Using the breathable swaddle/wearable blanket or sleeping sacks some call it, gives comfort to make them do the moves. But if you don’t have those, you can use a swaddle strap instead. The blanket enables to free the arms first while swaddle straps, free the feet first.

In fact, swaddle straps are designed for warm weather since you don’t need to wrap your baby in a blanket. On top of that, since the legs are free, it’s easy for us parents to change the diapers

Now, if you’re wondering how swaddle strap works, here is a video showing you steps on how to put it on.

How to Soothe Baby during the transition?

How to Soothe Baby during the transition

It’s expected that during the transition period, your baby will be having trouble to adjust and may not sleep well. I have here some tips that I have tried and worked on my babies. This might help you on your struggle on how to transition out of a swaddle.

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    Pacifiers : I know there are advantages and disadvantages to using pacifiers. Yet, there are babies who get comfort out of it. It is safe, so you can try it. Make sleeping time easy for you and the baby.
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    White noise machine : Looking for ways to keep the startle reflex away? Try this machine. Choose a noise that you think will calm down your babies like the heartbeat, nature’s sound or a lullaby. Some baby mobiles have sound features too. 
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    Her favorite toy : This toy should be soft, light, smells good, and safe. Easy to hold for her as a rescue to comfort.
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    The right room temp : Maintain the appropriate temp in the environment. A feel of neither too cold nor too hot. Just enough for the baby’s good sleep.
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    Regular Sleeping Schedule : Every family has a unique bedtime routine. Whatever is the schedule that you have implemented, keep it regular. Mine did wonders for my kids. A warm bath, warm milk, chit-chat (Stories), prayer and a good night kiss did the magic!

Final Thoughts

In no time, babies will grow and the next thing you’ll know, they already have their own lives. What we only need as parents are to be patient in guiding and watching them do so.

How to transition out of swaddle is just an early phase on how you can help your baby as she grows up. Transitioning our child from comfort zone is usually difficult to do.

We need to be firm and confident that we can stand by it.

So, how’s my transition techniques? Did it work out for you? Babies are unique in so many ways. If it happens it didn’t, can you share with us how you made your transition a success?

Sarah Palmer

Hi! I'm Sarah. My husband and I have a beautiful little girl; plus we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of Baby #2, so this is a very exciting time for us. Throughout this amazing journey called Parenthood, I’ve learned so much and love sharing my experiences with other parents at SarahsLovelyFamily.com. I'd love to share my discoveries with you too!

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