When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby

Knowing when to stop swaddling your baby is a common concern for many parents. Swaddling can be a game-changer for both parents and babies. It helps newborns feel secure and can significantly improve sleep patterns by preventing the Moro reflex from waking them up. 


However, there comes a time when we need to say goodbye to the swaddle. The good news is, there are plenty of tools and strategies to help you make the transition! In this blog post, I’m going to answer the following questions:


My baby hates the swaddle – why do I even bother?


How do I know when to stop swaddling my baby?


How do we transition from swaddles to sleep sacks?


When do we transition out of a sleep sack?


Grab your little, swaddled-up baby burrito, and let’s jump right into it!



Swaddled Baby | The Peaceful Sleeper



My baby hates the swaddle – why do I even bother?


Many parents express concern when their baby seems to dislike swaddling. I often hear, “My baby HATES the swaddle – why do I even bother?” To this, I always say, “Keep trying!” Your baby might initially resist being wrapped up, but they usually calm down after you implement other calming strategies. 


The truth is, I’ve never met a baby who doesn’t eventually appreciate the comfort of a swaddle. That being said, swaddling is just one of many tools. The key is to ensure you’re swaddling correctly. If you haven’t already, check out my step-by-step swaddle tutorial using a traditional muslin swaddle blanket, my favorite for the first month or so.



Swaddle Tutorial on Instagram | The Peaceful Sleeper

Click here to watch my swaddle tutorial on Instagram. 


Newborns have what is called the Moro reflex which causes them to jerk and flair their limbs, often waking themselves up. A snug swaddle keeps their limps tight to their body, minimizing the chances of self-waking. Ensuring your newborn is in a nice, snug swaddle is key!



How do I know when to stop swaddling my baby?


Safe swaddling includes knowing when to stop. You might have heard “8 weeks” as a general guideline, but the critical factor is when your baby begins to roll. Swaddling becomes unsafe if they can roll onto their stomach, face down, with their arms restrained. 


Therefore, the best and safest practice is to stop swaddling as soon as your baby shows signs of rolling. 



Sleeping Baby in Crib | The Peaceful Sleeper



But don’t worry – this doesn’t mean the end of good sleep! There are several excellent products designed to help babies transition out of the swaddle while still mitigating the Moro reflex and other jerky movements. For more information about safe swaddling, click here to check out my other blog post, “Baby Swaddles Simple Guide: 5 Things to Know About Safe Swaddling.”


If you haven’t already, download my FREE newborn sleep guide. It’ll give you a good rundown on establishing good sleep for your newborn that you can print and keep with you! Download for free here 💤



How do we transition from swaddles to sleep sacks?


Transitioning from a swaddle to a sleep sack can be done cold turkey if it works for your baby, but a gradual transition is also an option. Start by taking one arm out of the swaddle, which may disturb their sleep initially but should only last a short time. 


After about a week, take their other arm out. At this point, the swaddle is merely wrapped around their chest. In another week or so, you can drop the swaddle altogether. I have a full blog post about transitioning out of the swaddle here


Tools to Help With The Transition

Remember, this is just another stage that both babies and parents need to get through, You can do it! Here are a few of my favorite sleep sacks I’ve used with my own babies in the past:


  • Swaddle Sleeve Sack – This sack comes with sleeves that you can unzip as your baby begins to roll. Plus, you can use code PEACEFUL10 to get 10% off of your order!
  • Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit – This is one of my favorites because it makes your baby look like an adorable puffy marshmallow. This sack provides the comfort of a swaddle for your baby while being completely unwrapped. 

Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit | The Peaceful Sleeper

  • ***Dreamland Baby – In the past, slightly weighted sleep sacks have been a good transition for babies who have jerkier reflexes. If you want to look more into this option, please see the disclaimer below about weight sleep products. 


Disclaimer about using weighted products:

According to the 2022 AAP updated recommendations, “It is recommended that weighted blankets, weighted sleepers, or other weights not be placed on or near the sleeping infant. A single crossover randomized nonblinded trial of 16 infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome found no adverse events when a 1-pound weighted blanket was placed on each infant for 30 minute observed episodes. However, no studies have documented the safety of weights for infants in an unobserved, nonclinical sleep environment.” 


We at The Peaceful Sleeper believe in doing what feels best for you and your family. Since there have been no documented adverse “events” from using weighted sleep products (at the date of posting this), and no studies that prove that using a weighted product is unsafe (at the date of posting this), some parents feel comfortable using a weighted product and others do not. We always advocate for doing your own research, staying informed on up-to-date safety recommendations, and making an informed decision that’s best for your family.


You can find the full 2022 AAP guidelines here, and the study they used as evidence for their weighted product recommendation here. 


Head to my other article for more information on swaddles vs sleep sacks!



Swaddled Baby With Mom and Dad | The Peaceful Sleeper



When do we transition out of a sleep sack?


Most sleep sacks can be worn/include sizes meant for even early toddlerhood. There is no right or wrong way to transition out of a sleep sack, and most children handle the transition with little difficulty. However, if you are concerned, you can 1000% consider a gradual transition.


You can introduce your little one to a small, light blanket along with their sleep sack so they get used to the additional material in their sleep space. Remember the AAP recommends keeping all soft bedding (blankets, stuffed animals, etc.) out of the crib until 12 months!


If you haven’t already, download my FREE newborn sleep guide. It’ll give you a good rundown on establishing good sleep for your newborn that you can print and keep with you! Download for free here 💤


It might be easier to make this transition while they are still in their crib. Once they are accustomed to sleeping with a blanket instead of a sleep sack, you can then transition from a crib to a big kid bed and completely ditch the sleep sack. For more detailed guidance on transitioning your toddler from a crib to a big kid bed, check out my “Transitioning to a Big Kid Bed” troubleshooting guide, available in the 2-5 Years Content Library



Baby on Bed | The Peaceful Sleeper



Recap on When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby


Swaddling can be incredibly beneficial for newborns, helping them sleep better by preventing the Moro reflex from waking them up. However, it’s crucial to stop swaddling once your baby starts showing signs of rolling to ensure their safety. 


If you need support with your baby’s specific sleep needs or have any other questions about navigating sleep with your newborn, we would love to work with you. Click here to hop on a call with one of our AMAZING Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultants!


Whether your little one is a newborn (0-4 Months Content Library), 4-24 months (4-24 Months Content Library), or a toddler (2-5 Years Content Library), we have the resources you need to get your family the sleep you all deserve!

Christine Lawler

Christine Lawler

MS, LMFT, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Hi! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing for over 13 years. I’ve set out to do ALL of the research and I created a method to optimize baby sleep that is tuned in, empowering and WORKS. There absolutely should be joy in motherhood, and I have learned that every baby CAN get better sleep!

Read more about my team here.

Ready to Get Your Baby Sleeping?

Learn how to help your little one fall asleep independently, sleep through the night & nap consistently to regain your nights & be the best, happiest version of you.

Recent Posts

Get age-based sleep tips straight to your inbox for free!

Popular Posts

Popular Courses & Services


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *