Transitions: From Swaddled to No Swaddle


Newborn children often do very well with a swaddle. The reason for this is that children are born with a reflex called the Moro Reflex.  This causes an infant to jerk their limbs especially their arms. This jerking action is problematic for some babies while falling asleep as they jerk themselves awake. Swaddling a baby is a great way to help our little ones relax as their bodies are not able to move as much.

As our newborns’ age swaddling can be dangerous. When babies start to roll it is not safe for them to be wrapped up or unable to move their arms. Therefore, it is ideal to transition your child from swaddling to sleep around 8 to 16 weeks depending on the child. The Moro reflex also stops around 4 to 4.5 months of age. 

How do you transition from being swaddled to not swaddled?


There are a few ways to remove the swaddle from an infant.

1. Cold Turkey: Remove the swaddle and go directly to a sleep sack. A sleep sack is a good idea and this is explained in the following post. Sleep Sack: Is it really necessary?

2. Replace with a transition sleep sack: You can buy a few different sleep sacks that still restrict your child’s arm movements from jerking them awake but allow them to push themselves up to flip over. 

3. Gradually: Over a few nights you can help your little one by doing the following:

  1. Swaddle with one arm out. Do this for a few days.
  2. Swaddle with both arms out. Just swaddle around the chest for a few nights (not too tight)
  3. Loosen the swaddle around the chest every few days.
  4. Move to a sleep sack.

As with all transition, this transition does take time and patience. You may find that you have to provide your little one with added comfort throughout the night for 7 to 10 days. Once the transition is complete your little one will be happily sleeping without waking up from the Moro reflex.