Updated: Oct 20, 2022
Parents ask me all the time about swaddling their baby, when to start, how to stop, and how to transition out of it.
...So today, let's talk about swaddling! (and how to get out of it)
Swaddling is the act of wrapping up your baby like a burrito, that initiates their calming reflex. It helps them fall asleep, sleep longer and helps reduce crying. Swaddling is recommended for newborns up until 12 weeks of age. Even if your baby seems to not like being swaddled, hang in there. Swaddling significantly improves sleep for the majority of babies. They often fight it or become upset if they are overtired! So don't ditch the swaddle right away, give it a chance! Then it's suggested to get them into a sleep sack. "Why do I need to switch them to a sleep sack so young?" you may ask. Because at some point, your baby will learn to roll over, and we want their hands free to help them out if they get stuck on their tummy. The hesitation for many parents as their baby gets to this age is that they sleep well in the swaddle and don't seem happy to sleep out of it. Usually, the reason is that the baby has an active Moro Reflex, as noted when your baby has minimal control over their hands and smack themselves in the face often. This also happens when they are laid down for sleep and will be startled by their hands flinging around.
So what can you do?
1) One arm out, one arm in When your baby reaches 12 weeks of age, consider swaddling them with one arm out, and one arm in. It will allow them a chance to get used to one limb being free and will limit how startled they get. You can do this for a week or more if needed. 2) Transitional swaddle There are some awesome baby products on the market, and a transitional swaddle is one of them. They allow for your baby's arms to sort of be free, to help them get used to some movement, though are still covered up. A transitional swaddle can be used for a few weeks or longer to help baby get used to having their arms out, and for them to grow out of the Moro Reflex. It also helps with warmth with is a bonus when it comes to keeping your baby sleeping. An example of a popular transitional swaddle is the Zipadee-Zip. (P.s. if you click on this link, I don't get a commission, I'm just sharing it with you to make things easy:) 3) Cold Turkey If your baby's Moro Reflex seems to be somewhat under control, then you go straight to a sleep sack between 12-16 weeks. There are a lot of cozy sleep sacks on the market, so find one you like and try it out! I like Halo sleep sacks as they are affordable and comfy. .....
As always, if you have a topic you'd like to hear more about, hit reply and let me know! If you're struggling with your child's sleep, I'm here to help. I help parents like you figure out this whole sleep thing and walk alongside you the whole time. Get in touch if you're ready for more sleep, but are afraid to do so. Let's talk:)
Here for you, Melody Patton