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How And When Do You Stop Swaddling A Baby

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when do you stop swaddling a baby

Swaddling your baby is one of the easiest ways to soothe your little one and catch their much-needed baby’s sleep. What most fail to know or practice is – When to stop swaddling your baby?

For this very reason, we at Parenthoodbliss have curated this article that will help you understand how and when do you stop swaddling a baby. But, before we get into the practices and tips, let’s get to the basics first;

What Do You Mean By Swaddling? And, Why Is It Important To Swaddle A Baby Using The Wearable Blanket?

Have you ever seen a baby wrapped up resembling an adorable tiny little burrito? That’s swaddling, using swaddles to calm the baby down. It is a way of wrapping a blanket all around a baby to snugly and avoid them wiggling their way out.

In most cases, the new parents learn of swaddling as soon as they meet their baby, that is, post-delivery. It is absolutely safe, effective, soothing, comfortable, and helps in baby sleep.

Listed below are a few reasons why most parents prefer swaddling a baby, according to the American Academy Of Pediatrics:

  • Swaddling helps the little munchkin feel safe, snuggles, and secure like they were in the mother’s womb
  • It helps prevent their startle reflex or the Moro reflex that the baby is born with.
  • Swaddles replace the loose blankets that are placed in the little one’s crib
  • It keeps the baby warm, without suffocating them
  • Allows long stretches of baby sleep

Now, The Million Dollar Question - How To Swaddle A Baby?

The process can be quite intimidating, especially in the 1st and 2nd weeks of the postpartum period. But, as it’s said, practice makes perfect, better, and faster.

Here’s how you can become a pro of swaddling the baby:

  1. First, lay your swaddle blanket on a flat and soft surface
  2. Then, fold the top corner of the blanket down, forming a triangle shape
  3. Put the munchkin down face-up on the triangle where the shoulders are resting on the edge of the swaddle
  4. Now, tuck one arm down against the said of the baby and bring the corner of the swaddle of the same side over and tuck under the body of the baby on the opposite side
  5. Next, bring the tail of the swaddle to the baby’s shoulder and tuck it behind the body
  6. Take the other arm and tuck it against the side and bring the corner over and tucked under the body of the baby, forming a v-neck under the baby’s chin
  7. In case there is any leftover fabric, wrap it around your little one once more

Swaddling - Tips To Keep in Mind When Swaddling The Baby:

  • Make sure to go comfortably tight to make it effective and to stay in place. The best way to do so is by finding the right balance between snug and secure versus constricting. Also, make sure to not go too tight as it could be too stuffy for the baby
  • If you swaddle too tight it could cause hip dislocation or hip dysplasia. This is why make sure that the hips are loose and the baby is able to bend its legs
  • It’s best to power through a fussy baby but make sure to also be calm, gentle, and firm
  • Always, make it a point to put the baby to sleep on their back and not the baby’s chest to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

How Long To Swaddle, And When To Stop Swaddling Your Baby?

This is considered to be one of the most common questions that new parents tend to ask – How long to safely swaddle the baby and when do you stop swaddling a baby? The best way to know is by observing signs that let you know when to make the transition.

One such ability is when the baby starts to roll over, if they do, it’s a sign to ditch the swaddle. The reason behind this is due to swaddling the baby will not have their arms free which would lead to a very unsafe sleep position as they might roll over when swaddled.

Note – Your baby will be able to start rolling roughly between two months to four months on average. Listed below are a few signs to observe from your little one that it’s time to move on from the swaddle:

  • If your baby is continuously breaking out from the swaddle when they fall asleep, including a free arm, leg, or even entire body
  • The baby sleeping position changes when you see them in the morning
  • They seem to be extra frustrated, uncomfortable, angry, or unhappy in their sleep-sacks

Note – Startle reflex is another sign indicating the time to lose the swaddle. This generally takes place when they are between about three months (3) and six months (6) of age.

Transitioning Out Of A Swaddles

Now that you’ve bid adieu to the swaddle – What next?

Transitioning out of the swaddle could be quite a journey as it often instills fear in new parents, messing with anything around sleep and newborn. Luckily there are a few tricks to help make the transition go more smoothly than you’d think.

1) Using Transition Swaddle

If the little one isn’t showing signs of rolling but is constantly breaking out of a traditional swaddle blanket, it’s best to use a transition swaddle like Halo’s SleepSack Swaddle. They come with a velcro that has multiple configurations, allowing you to swaddle the arms of the baby either inside or outside.

The other transition swaddle could be – Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit as it’s super effective, has extra-thick layers of this zip-up suit with enough security to prevent the baby’s startle reflex. These keep the little one comfortable, secure, and are absolutely cute on the baby.

2) Sleepsack Swaddle

Most parents choose to transition their baby with a sleep sack once the swaddle days are behind them. These are looser compared to the traditional swaddles and allows them to move their arms and legs freely.

A sleepsack is meant to be worn over pajamas, keeping the baby warm without the need for a blanket.

Brownie Points - A Few Transition Tips

Here are a few tips for parents to have a smooth swaddle transition:

  • Try to swaddle your baby with one arm in and one arm out in the few nights before ditching the swaddle. This helps to make the transition a lot easier
  • Swaddle overnight instead of during nights and naps to help the baby get used to being “free” and build a tolerance to the openness that they feel in their crib, all in just a short span of time
  • Swaddle every other night for a week to see the difference and slowly stop swaddling your baby altogeth

To Conclude: A Few Alternatives To Swaddling

Swaddling isn’t the favorite for all, where some babies might love it, the few might seem to get a little more upset compared to when they’re swaddled, while the others seem continually frustrated due to the close constraints.

To help you better, here are a few alternatives to swaddling that the parents can try:

  • Make sure to set a good sleep stage before completely ditching swaddling. Create a bedtime routine as early as possible, swaddle your baby in a dark room, and add a sound machine.
  • As an alternative, try and use a simple sleep sack as it’s much easier to get on and off
  • Try different wrapping techniques and use sling wraps for comfort and bonding sessions with the mother.
  • Try and use swaddles that are made from different materials, proving different levels of warmth. This is best to fix the temperature and works differently on many sensitive babies


1) How do you transition out of a swaddle?

  • Swaddle with one of the arms out
  • Once the baby is used to the one arm out, shift to both arms free
  • Once the little one gets used to it, stop the use of a swaddle blanket altogether.
  • 2) How long should a baby be swaddled in a day?

    As per sources, newborns must be swaddled for about 12-20 hours a day up until around 3 months old.

    3) How long after feeding can I put my baby down?

    To prevent any spills, it's best to keep the baby upright after feeding for about 10 to 15 minutes before putting the baby down.


    Dr. Nimrat S Sidhu is a practicing pediatrician for about 5 years now and holds an MD pediatrics degree. She was the topper of her batch, has always had a keen interest in her core medical field, and is specially trained for neonatal resuscitation.

    She has published multiple research papers on pediatrics and is interested in topics like Neonatal care, skincare, baby growth, vaccination, growth, and development.

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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