Do You Have To Swaddle A Newborn

How To Get Your Babies To Sleep Without The Swaddle

How to Swaddle a baby | The Super Swaddle Method to help babies sleep longer!

You may experience a hitch in your transition from swaddle to wearable blanket. If your baby wants to feel tucked in, like they did in a swaddle, you can try a different method.

Put your baby on their back with their feet near the bottom of the crib. Place a blanket over your baby, but make sure it doesnt reach higher than their armpits. Then tuck the blanket securely into the sides and bottom of the crib. Doing this will make them feel tucked in and reduce the risk of suffocation.

A Safe Way To Swaddle

There is some good news for parents of babies who enjoy swaddling. There are safe ways to reap the benefits of the swaddle without the risks. Here are some tips for swaddling your baby without worry:

Once a baby starts to show any signs of rolling over, swaddling becomes unsafe. At this point it is time to wean from the swaddle.

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Can You Swaddle With Arms Out

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.

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Is It Bad To Swaddle A Baby

While the meta-analysis released in Pediatrics fell short of a clear connection between swaddling and SIDS or any other health risk, there are some valuable parenting lessons to be gained from the research, including:

  • Swaddling your baby and then placing him or her on her stomach or side is a clear risk. Professionals are now discouraging side and stomach sleeping because it is connected to SIDS, so not swaddling a baby in those positions isnt an issue for most parents today.
  • Swaddling becomes riskier as your baby ages, and stopping before six months of age is a great idea. Many parents stop swaddling when their babies become more active and want to explore the world around them more, so this is again not difficult for most parents to follow.

If you look solely at the facts revealed in the research, it would seem that swaddling isnt bad if your baby is under six months old and is never left on his or her side or stomach. Theres still room for skepticism because the analysis doesnt rule out dangers of swaddling. It simply suggests that more research is needed to make a clear determination.

While swaddling isnt evil and doesnt rise to the occasion of child abuse, it is probably wise to think of it as something that you do with a small baby under certain circumstances. For instance, maybe swaddling calms your baby down when he or she is upset, but its not something that you do before putting your baby down to sleep or for long periods of time.

When Is The Best Time To Stop Swaddling

Top Swaddling Dos and Donts for Your Newborn

The first good question is when or is there a recommended time to stop swaddling.

There are cultures where babies are swaddled up until one year old. Honestly, the answers to this question are widely varied.

In swaddling discussion groups, youll get reports of everything from swaddling up until the child is 18 months old, stopping at 2 months old and everything in-between.

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Swaddle For Night Feedings

In contrast, at night, keep babies swaddled at all times if possible. Because I change the diaper pre-feed, the swaddling has signaled go back to sleep and then the feed itself helps them get there. This is the #1 way I have babies who are not awake for long periods at night, even as newborns. In fact, as soon as my babies have known the difference between day and night, they sleep all through the night only waking to signal theyre hungry.

Why Do Babies Like Swaddling

Your newborn baby is not quite used to this outside world yet, and a swaddle can remind them of the time in their mommys womb. Most babies are comforted by swaddling because it is similar to the security they experienced before birth.

Many parents choose to swaddle if their baby has a strong startle reflex that often wakes them. Swaddling also helps to calm fussy babies.

Age Recommendation

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How To Swaddle With A Wrap

Like the idea of swaddling but dont want to use a blanket? Swaddle wraps with Velcro tabs or zippers are as safe as blankets and deliver the same benefits without the need for any folding or tucking. The specific instructions vary depending on which wrap you buy. But they generally tend to be easier to master than blankets, and are much less likely to come untucked.

How Long Should You Swaddle Your Baby

How to Swaddle a Newborn Baby in a Blanket

Is there a particular age you should stop swaddling your little one? Whats the hard-and-fast rule to follow? Unfortunately, the answer isnt always so straightforward.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents start to wean their infants off swaddling when they begin to show signs of trying to roll over. They add that many babies start working on rolling at around 2 months of age.

But not all babies start that early. Other studies have shown that babies will typically begin rolling somewhere between three and six months of age.

Aside from rolling over, its also worth noting that not all babies enjoy being swaddled and may become restless quicker than others. For some, it might make sleeping difficult, resulting in a fussy baby and sleep-deprived parents.

So, if you find your little one isnt happy in the swaddle anymore, dont feel like you have to wait it out. Its perfectly fine to stop swaddling before your baby reaches a certain age or begins to break free from the swaddle during the night.

As each child is unique, its essential to look at other indicators that theyre ready to leave swaddling behind. Thats what well dive into now.

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How To Stop Swaddling At 4 Months

If your baby is still swaddling at 4 months, theyll either be ripe for the transition to a sleeping bag, or quite accustomed to the swaddle routine. But moving to a sleeping bag can offer many similar comforts to that of a swaddle, so continue to put in the effortâeven if a few tough nights present themselves . But know that, at this point in time, babies are much more prone to roll over, creating a rather immediate need to quickly transition out of swaddling.

Potential Risks When Swaddling Newborns


This can occur if a baby is bundled up too much, especially in the summer. The CPS suggests using a lightweight blanket, and keeping the babys head uncovered at all times.


This refers to unexplained death in the first year of life. A swaddled infant must always be placed supine, or on the back, says Dr. Leduc. The concern after two months of age is the baby being able to roll from side to side while swaddled and potentially obstructing the airway. To further reduce the risk of suffocation, the CPS strongly recommends keeping soft materials such as pillows, comforters, sleep positioners, bumper pads and stuffed animals out of the sleep environment.

HIP Dysplasia

Swaddling raises the possibility of stress being placed on the hip joints if a babys legs are frequently secured in a position where they are straight and close together. This can cause hip joint misalignment or even dislocation . In 2011, the International Hip Dysplasia Institute launched a campaign to promote hip-healthy swaddling, where an infants top half is wrapped snugly, but the bottom half has the opportunity for movement.

This means that wrapping technique is critical. The swaddle blanket should allow for movement at the hips and legs, and should be loose enough that a hand can fit between the blanket and the babys chest so that breathing is not restricted, says Dr. Leduc. But, the wrapping job cant be so loose that it unravels and the blanket becomes a hazard.

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How We Made Our Picks For The Best Sleep Sacks

We stuck with sleep sacks that met our experts recommendations for both safety and comfort. We also factored in the experiences of the What to Expect community members and our own editors to find products with a track record for being easy to use and truly helpful at ensuring a better nights sleep for babies and toddlers.

Below, the best sleep sacks for different stages and sleep environments all of which will keep your little one cozy and secure.

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Ways To Wean Your Babies From Swaddling

Everything to Know About Swaddling a Baby
  • When you swaddle your baby, try to take his one arm out. If the baby fusses and hit himself, that means he is still not ready, but you could try this method every week until you see him calm with his arms out.
  • Try to let him sleep in your arms without swaddle, then slowly put him to the bed or crib. When he stays asleep for at least 5 minutes, that means he can now sleep without the swaddle.
  • If you unswaddle your baby, but he keeps fussing, you can stay by his side and place your hands on his chest. He will eventually calm down. Then reduce the pressure slowly until you can lift your hand off completely.
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    How To Transition Your Baby Out Of The Swaddle

    Instead of a gradual transition from the swaddle, some parents decide to go cold turkey. Of course, you can do that. And if youre lucky, your little one might sleep soundly from their first night out of the swaddle.

    But if you suspect your baby might have difficulty adjusting and would like to ease them out of the swaddle, the following techniques can help.

    How Do I Stop Swaddling My Baby

    If your baby is two or three months old and you want to make the transition away from swaddling, sleep sacks are invaluable. They allow you to keep your baby warm and snug while still delivering a sense of security. There are different types of sacks and they each have their benefits for babies at different stages of development.

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    Having No More Startle Reflex

    Like all other babies, your little one was born with a startle reflex .

    In a nutshell, this is an involuntary response that usually happens when your baby is startled by a sudden movement, a loud noise, or any unfamiliar stimulus in their environment.

    Your baby might quickly stretch out their arms and legs in front of them, and then just as suddenly curl back into a fetal position.

    Babies will often startle themselves awake and start crying. This reflex can make it difficult for your baby to get a good nights rest.

    If youve been swaddling your little one for a while, you might have noticed that doing so helps to reduce startling because your baby will feel as safe and secure as they felt in the womb.

    At around four to five months is when infants usually outgrow the startle reflex. So, if your little one is no longer showing signs of this reflex, they may no longer need to be swaddled.

    Expert tip: a huge part of helping your baby feel comfortable in a swaddle is using gentle and breathable fabrics, like the ones in our Newton Baby Organic Swaddle Blankets.

    These swaddle blankets are made from 100% organic muslin cotton. This material is super soft and feels light and gentle on your babys delicate skin!

    What Are The Risks

    How to Swaddle a Newborn Baby

    If baby isnt swaddled correctly or rolls onto their stomach while swaddled, this can be very dangerous even deadly.

    Sudden infant death syndrome is the term used to describe when an otherwise healthy baby under 12 months dies suddenly without a known cause.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there are about 3,600 sudden unexpected infant deaths in the United States each year, and 38 percent of those are classified as SIDS.

    SIDS often happens during sleep. Babies who are swaddled can suffocate in their sleep if placed on their stomach, or if they roll onto their stomach.

    A swaddle thats too loose can also be risky because the babys arms can get free, leaving loose blanket that could end up covering their mouth and nose. Babies should never be put to sleep with loose blankets because this also puts them in danger of SIDS.

    Another risk that comes with poor swaddling is hip dysplasia. In the womb, a babys legs are bent up and across each other. If legs are straightened or too tightly wrapped together, the joints can be dislocated and the cartilage damaged. Its important to allow the babys hips to move around and spread apart.

    Dr. Edwards says in a safe swaddle, Hips can move and its not too tight, but arms are kept in. You should be able to fit your hand between the blanket and the babys chest.

    • are sweating
    • get heat rash or red cheeks
    • seem to be breathing heavily

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    Anna & Eve Swaddle Strap

    There are also some products on the market that can make the transition from swaddling easier.

    The Swaddle Strap, by Anna & Eve is honestly the coolest swaddling product . The Swaddle Strap works well in its own right as a swaddling tool its great for warmer months when a full swaddling blanket is just too heavy, and it also makes diaper changes so much easier. You can use it as a tool to wean from the swaddle as well. By using the Swaddle Strap, you can swaddle your babys arms snugly while leaving her legs free. This is a great first step to transitioning away from the swaddle altogether!

    Safe Swaddling And Sleeping Practices For Babies

    May 24, 2016

    Swaddling can seem like a miracle cure for a fussy baby. Many exhausted parents have found that wrapping their infants snugly in a blanket to resemble the feeling of a mothers womb is an effective method to help babies calm down, fall asleep, and stay asleep. Based on their personal experiences, even our own doctors swear by it, recommending special swaddling blankets as gifts for new parents.

    So its understandable if you were alarmed by recent headlines exclaiming, Swaddling babies may increase risk of SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby, usually during sleep. It is the leading cause of death in infants between 1 and 12 months old. In Texas, the infant mortality rate due to SIDS is about 37 per 100,000 live births. This is just below the national average of nearly 40 per 100,000 live births about 1,500 infants die in the United States from SIDS each year.

    However, if all you heard was the 60-second version of this story on the nightly news, you may not have gotten all the facts. Before you unwrap the blanket from around your newborn, take a moment to learn more about the study, safe swaddling tips, and how to reduce SIDS risk factors.

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