Swaddling is one of the most important techniques you can learn as a new parent. A properly swaddled baby will sleep longer and sounder. But unfortunately, swaddling doesn't last forever. If you are a parent wondering, “when should I stop swaddling my baby?” we have a few helpful suggestions for you.
Around the 4-5 month mark you’ll notice your baby is starting to become more remote and is starting to turn over to their belly by themselves. Your initial reaction may be that they’re starting to outgrow being swaddled, which is definitely on the horizon, so a transition phase will be really helpful for both of you.
The solution? Swaddling with one arm free. It’s going to be a game changer. You don’t have to stop swaddling entirely, and you don’t have to worry about that one super strong arm they have breaking free--because it already is.
Swaddling with their dominant arm out is going to be the most helpful transition. There’s still a small chance of startle reflex, but it’s minimal. Try this method for a few days to see how your baby responds.
Swaddling with one hand out is exactly what it sounds like, just swaddle using your usual techniques and leave their dominant hand out. If using the Snugababe swaddle, only insert one arm in the armhole and for the second arm, wrap the snugababe under the armpit.
Try this technique for a few days before you decide if you want to move on from swaddling entirely. Sometimes babies need a few days to adjust to the freedom of their arm being out. Be patient Mama. Good luck!