when to stop swaddling

When To Stop Swaddling

The reason most babies love to be swaddled and find it easier to stay asleep while swaddled when they’re younger is because they still have something called the Moro reflex. The Moro reflex is much like a ‘startle’ reflex that may wake them during the night if they’re not properly swaddled. So, in order to find out when to stop swaddling, we need to take into account the Moro reflex and a few other factors.

When to stop swaddling your baby

While swaddling adds an extra layer of comfort to your baby’s sleep routine, it can’t go on forever. Continued swaddling for too long may lead to:

  • Baby struggling to self-soothe.
  • Baby unable to put dummy back in themselves (if they have a dummy).
  • Sleep association with the swaddle leading to baby unable to sleep without it.

Some parents choose to stop swaddling their newborn at the earliest stage, around 3-4 months old when the 4 month developmental progression usually begins. If the baby has a Moro reflex, it tends to be outgrown around 4-5 months of age which is when some parents choose to stop swaddling. Other parents choose to continue to swaddle their babies up to 6-9 months old. A lot of the timing is based on personal preference, however some babies will reject the swaddle unexpectedly early. It’s important to prepare for an early swaddle strike so you’re not lost as to how to handle it.

Sleep Sweet Sleep Deep swaddle tips

  • Never sleep a swaddled baby (or any baby) face down. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to serious injury or death.
  • If your baby is consistently breaking free of their swaddle and leaving loose blankets in the cot, it’s usually time to stop swaddling. Loose blankets are a safety risk for young babies.
  • Don’t swaddle baby all day long. Sleep swaddling is fine, but baby needs time out of the swaddle to move and grow.

Is your baby ready to ditch the swaddle? Try removing their arms from the swaddle first, rather than going cold turkey. This can help them adapt to the change a little easier. I’m always here if you could use a little advice about your baby’s sleep. Feel free to reach out.

As always, sleep sweetly and deeply x

Learn the best safe swaddling techniques for sleeping babies!