Keeping your little one snugged nicely in a swaddle helps him sleep more soundly. But at some point, you’ll have to do the swaddle transition. Here are a few tips for doing it successfully. 

Swaddling a newborn has helped many parents keep their babies warm and secure. Especially when it comes to fussy babies, being snuggly wrapped means sleeping more soundly throughout the night.

Although it’s super comfy and soothing for babies, swaddling is not something you can do forever. Somewhere between three and five months, you’ll need to transition your baby out of a swaddle and into a sleep sack. 

But how the heck do you transition out of a swaddle? 

Let’s take a look at how to do the swaddle transition smoothly and successfully.

When should you stop swaddling your baby? 

You must begin weaning your baby out of the swaddle the moment he starts to show signs of rolling. For example, if you notice during tummy time that he’s trying to make that shift from tummy to back, that’s when you start thinking about making the transition. 

This can happen as early as two months, although most babies show signs of rolling over when they’re between three and four months of age.

how to do the swaddle transition

How to do the swaddle transition

Cold turkey

The first approach used by many parents is the Cold turkey method. This method involves removing the swaddle overnight. 

The good news is that some babies will instantly adjust to this change, while it may take a few nights for others. So, it’s in your best interest to be mentally prepared for a few nights of fussing and crying.

I know that this option may sound terrifying to many of you, but it’s also the quickest–especially if your baby knows how to self-soothe.

But if he’s still learning how to self-soothe, getting rid of the swaddle overnight may disrupt his sleep. 

One-arm-out 

Another option for the swaddle transition is the one-arm-out method. This method involves placing your little one down in the crib with one arm in the swaddle and the other one out. 

Let your child sleep with one arm out of the swaddle for a few nights until he adjusts. Once you notice that everything seems to be going well, take the second arm out of the swaddle. 

Let him sleep with two arms out while the swaddle is still nicely snugged around his midsection. Once he adjusts to sleeping with his two arms out, remove the swaddle entirely.

Partial night swaddling

Partial night swaddling is another method for easing into the swaddle transition. It involves getting your baby to sleep without the swaddle for at least half or a third of the night. 

If he wakes up fussing and crying, swaddle him and let him sleep like that for the remainder of the night. The goal is to extend the time your baby sleeps without the swaddle each night until he learns to sleep without it entirely. 

Keep in mind that this method works only if your baby hasn’t learned how to roll over yet. If you notice that he knows how to roll, it’s not safe to let him sleep swaddled for any portion of the night. 

Use a sleep suit

You can make the transition easier on you by letting your baby sleep in a sleepsuit rather than a swaddle. Sleepsuits are wearable blankets similar to onesies but with longer openings for the legs and arms. 

Some popular sleepsuits that parents seem to love are the Baby Merlin’s Magic Cotton Sleep Suit or the Halo SleepSack.

However, keep in mind that you’ll have to transition your baby out of the sleepsuit, too, when he outgrows it or starts moving more.

Make sure the room is conducive to sleep

Babies need a carefully designed sleep environment that supports long and healthy sleep. If your baby struggles with the swaddle transition and wakes up every hour of every night, a quick and easy fix is to make sure his room is conducive to sleep.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Keep the room at an ideal temperature, which is 68-72°/19-21°.
  • Create a womb-like sleep environment by getting a sound machine and playing some white noise. 
  • Consider getting blackout curtains if your nursery gets plenty of light during the daytime.
transitioning from the swaddle

Final word

Swaddling is a popular practice much-loved by parents from all corners of the world. It keeps the baby warm, secure, and comfy, at least for the first months of life. 

But once he starts showing signs of rolling over, it’s time to transition to a sleep sack.

The swaddle transition may upset your baby, but the important thing is not to panic. It can take a few days until he adjusts. In no time, he’ll start sleeping soundly throughout the night, free to move as he wishes.