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I'm a mom of two and certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant.

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Transitioning Out of the Swaddle

Mar 9, 2023

Swaddling is a great way to help your newborn feel safe and secure like they did when they were snug and warm inside of you, but there comes a time when we must pack away the swaddles and move onto more freeing sleep wear. Transitioning out of the swaddle can be stressful for some parents if their little one is struggling to sleep without being swaddled. Even though, the swaddle transition doesn’t have to impact your baby’s sleep. Here’s what you need to know about the swaddle transition:

When To Stop Swaddling?

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t go in-depth on the topic of transitioning out of the swaddle, but we know that the general age is between 3 and 4 months old when most infants begin show signs of rolling over. This is what the AAP has to say as far as when you should stop swaddling:

When an infant exhibits signs of attempting to roll (which usually occurs at 3 to 4 months but may occur earlier), swaddling is no longer appropriate, as it could increase the risk of suffocation if the swaddled infant rolls to the prone position.


I recommend discontinuing use of the swaddle at first signs of rolling ,which can happen anywhere between 8-12 weeks. This can look like your baby touching their toes, kicking one or both legs to one side to gain momentum, turning head to side and turning their body into that side.

How To Transition Out of Swaddling

There are 3 ways you can approach transitioning out of the swaddle. You are free to choose which one is going to work best for your family and your baby.

Cold Turkey Method

If your more of a “rip the bandaid off” kind of mom, then you might be able to go the cold turkey route and just simply stop swaddling your baby for sleep. If your baby is already showing signs of rolling, you don’t want to wait any longer to transition your baby out of the swaddle, so this option may be required if this is the case for your baby.

Gradual Method

Start by swaddling your baby with one arm out for 3 nights. During the day alternate which arm is being left out at each naptime. Then, start swaddling your baby with both arms out for 3 more nights. Once you’ve done this you can then move your baby to a sleep sack. Some of my top favorites are Magic Merlin and Halo sleep sacks. Both are very afforable, quality options that I have loved using with my own children!

Transitional Product Method

For some families neither of the above methods will work for them when it comes to transitioning out of the swaddle. I completely understand because this was the case for me as well! When it came time to transition my youngest out of the swaddle, we used the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit. This suit is designed to muffle the startle reflex similar to a swaddle, except it is safe to use even when your baby knows how to roll. You will want to discontinue use of the suit once your baby can roll over while in the suit and because of it’s design rolling over in the suit is difficult for smaller infants. For us, this wasn’t until 7-8 months, so we were able to get a lot of use out of it! You can use code mamac15 to get 15% off your Magic Merlin purchase.

Don’t let this transition stress you!

If transitioning out of the swaddle causes your baby’s sleep to become disrupted, I highly encourage that you push through. This transition is going to need to happen at some point anyway so why prolong it? Within a week, your baby should adjust to sleeping arms free.

If you find your baby’s sleep has gotten off track or wasn’t all that great to begin with before transitioning out of the swaddle, check out our sleep support options.



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