Babies love to be swaddled, it helps them sleep longer and better because it helps them avoid the startle reflex, can help calm a colic baby, and eliminate baby anxiety. But that being said, you can’t keep your baby swaddled forever.
The general rule of thumb is that if they’re able to roll over to their side, which is usually around the 4 month mark, you should stop swaddling entirely. So what happens if your baby outgrows the swaddle? Here is a helpful guide on sleep sac transitions and when to do them.
Swaddling: 0-3 months
The first 8 weeks of your babies life will be much easier on both of you if you swaddle your little one properly. If you notice they’re starting to fight being swaddled, you can start the transition by swaddling one hand out and eventually both hands out and having them swaddled from the tummy down to help them feel warm and cozy. By month 3, you’ll notice they’re starting to try to wiggle out of the swaddle, which is when it would be a good time to start exploring the one hand out option.
Newborn Swaddle: Norani ‘Snugababe’ for $30.99
Transitional Swaddle: 4-6 months
If your baby loves to have their arms free and is starting to roll from side to side, a good option to explore is the Halo Sleep Swaddle, it allows them to have their arms fully out, but their chest is swaddled and their legs are inside a sleep sac. Note: you can also recreate this with the ‘Snugababe’ swaddle with this instructional video.
Heavyweight Transitional Wearable Blanket: 4-6 months
This is a great option for babies who don’t want to be swaddled at all but still have a little bit of startle reflex. The arms are structured on this one, which helps make it harder for them to accidentally hit themselves, but the only downside to this is that it’s an actual blanket so it’s super thick. I tried this on my 4 month old (we live in sunny Los Angeles) and she woke up drenched in sweat. It could be a good option for colder climates but not for warm or summer months.
Merlin Magic Weighted Sleep Sleepsuit:
This one is hit or miss, some babies love it and some hate it. The idea behind the ‘magic sleep suit’ is that it’s thick and slightly weighted so it helps them stay in place and sleep better. Nora’s daughter loved the Merlin sleepsuit (note: she used it in the winter months) and my daughter Juliette didn’t like it at all (I tried using it during summer months) because she was too warm in it and didn’t sleep well. If you have a friend who has one, I would suggest borrowing it for a night before committing to buying it.
Front Zip Sleep Sac:
This is more of a traditional sleep sac where their arms are free and out, and their bodies are basically inside a loose sleeping bag. The nice thing about these sacs are they come in a bunch of fabrics and sizes so you can pick which one is the best for you and your climate, babies age, etc. Our two favorites are from Burt’s Bees and Carter’s.
Side Zip Sleep Sac:
The Kyte Baby sleep sac is quickly becoming a favorite amongst moms. The soft bamboo is breathable and comes in 3 different sizes and 3 different weight options (for different climates). It’s a little on the pricier side at $50 a piece, which makes it hard to purchase more than one, but parents seem to love it!