Swaddling is a technique used by parents all around the world and throughout history to get babies to sleep. This method of wrapping babies snuggly in a blanket is meant to soothe newborns and help them to sleep soundly. However, your baby may become so accustomed to sleeping this way, that he or she is unable to sleep any other way. Unless you want to continue swaddling into the first few years of life, you may want to consider when to stop swaddling a baby and how to do so successfully without hindering the sleep of your little one.
Many parents eventually find themselves asking more-seasoned parents, ďWhen do you stop swaddling?Ē The answers will naturally vary from one set of parents to another, but on the whole, the best time to make this change is when you feel that itís time. Because you are the expert on your own baby, you are in the best position to recognize the signs that your baby is ready. At some point between the first three months and the first nine months, most parents find that they are recognizing some of the following milestones:
The Baby Has Outgrown the Moro Reflex
Newborns tend to experience this startle reflex from birth through the first five months. Many parents recognize the Moro reflex when their babies throw their arms wide. This reflex sometimes happens during sleeping periods, waking the baby during the night or naps. Most babies outgrow this reflex during their fourth or fifth month.
Blankets Used in Swaddling Are Coming Apart
It often takes parents a few practice sessions before they get the swaddle fold down securely. When this is the case, the blankets may become loose during the night. This doesnít necessary mean that itís time to stop swaddling, but it can present a danger to the baby. If youíre consistently finding loose blankets in the crib, you may want to consider replacing the blanket with an alternative. Safety should be your number one priority when it comes to caring for your baby.
Your Baby Has Begun to Roll to the Tummy
When do you stop swaddling? If you have seen either of the previous signs, it may be time to stop. If you see your baby rolling onto their belly, it is definitely time to stop. Experts today recommend that babies sleep on their backs to avoid the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Swaddling a baby is a great way for parents to remember to lay babies on their back. When the little one begins rolling over, however, it is a sign that you should no longer wonder when to stop swaddling a baby. When baby is rolling over, it is time to stop swaddling.
When to Unwrap the Blankets
One final thought regarding when to stop swaddling a baby: Your little one should not be swaddled all day long. Itís important for the development of muscles and gross motor skills that your infant has a chance to wiggle when he or she is not asleep. Most experts recommend swaddling during the time that babies sleep and leaving those little arms and legs out in the open when baby is awake.