A baby’s transition from a mother’s womb to the outside world is as crucial for parents as for the baby itself. In trying to make this process easier, parents try to make every possible effort. Swaddling a baby is one of those efforts. The purpose is to calm the baby by providing them warmth, comfort, and a sense of security. But sometimes you may need to put your baby out of the swaddle blanket.
This article certainly provides you with a closer look at how to teach baby to sleep without swaddle.
How to switch from the swaddle and when it needs to be done?
Wrapping after a certain age imposes health risks on your baby. As early as your baby tries to roll over, you should switch to swaddle free sleep. This age may be around 3 or 4 months or as early as two months. As parents, you need to be cautious of your child’s movements.
According to AAP, Health risks include the following:
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS):When a baby starts to move, he may roll over and take a face down position that can cause severe suffocation leading to death.
- Hip Dysplasia: If you wrap your baby tightly, he may be at a higher risk of undergoing a condition referred to as hip dysplasia. This condition does not allow the hips to grow appropriately.
Benefits of Swaddling your baby
New parents mostly learn to wrap their babies from the nursing staff at the hospital. Swaddling helps to calm babies as well as increases their night sleep time.
Sleep training starts at about four months of age. When you take the initiative of making your swaddled baby practice self-soothing while he wakes up during sleep, this involves the need to discourage swaddling so he may sleep train independently.
Reduces Moro Reflex
Some babies may go through the Moro reflex in the initial months. It is a condition in which they experience sudden tightening of the body, throwing their arms up and out and similarly pulling their knees up. This condition lasts for three months and, in most cases, completely disappears after about six months. For such babies, swaddling makes them feel secure, giving them a soothing effect. Zen swaddle is very effective for this purpose especially.
Help Colicky Babies
In the case of colic babies, swaddling has been helpful. It controls babies’ fussiness, keeps them warm, and lets them have a better sleep routine.
7 Best approaches on how to teach baby to sleep without swaddle
The first step is to analyze the right time for the baby to stop swaddled anymore. Through this, you may assure the well-being of a child. After that, you need to start exercising ways to make the baby sleep independently in transition period. Therefore what you now need to know are the techniques that may help babies develop good sleep habbits .
Initially, you may think it would be difficult for babies to adjust without a swaddle as it also causes sleep disruption. But slowly, your child will get used to it. Therefore stop swaddling he might sleep with the same comfort in a few nights as before. Below mentioned are some techniques that you can follow.
1. Keeping an arm out
You can start by keeping one arm of the baby out and then slowly releasing the baby’s arms out. It would let the baby adjust to the change while sleeping unswaddled, and he might like it, as most babies enjoy keeping their arms out. In this way, you can let your baby sleep without a full swaddle but still give them the same ease and sense of security. You can also try a white noise machine. Its soothing music helps to calm your agitated child.
2. Partial swaddling at night
You can gradually make your baby develop a habit of sleeping without a swaddle following the partial night swaddling technique. The night is the time when you and your baby require good sleep. So wrapping must be done merely at night and only when the baby gets fussy. Try to pass as much time as you can without swaddling your baby. You should follow the partial night swaddle at the newborn stage before your baby starts to roll over. After that, swaddle is not an option to be adopted at any time.
3. Offer a massage
Stop swaddling. You can offer your newborn baby a regular massage to help your baby have a good sleep. While massaging your baby, you need to be very gentle. The gentle strokes make your baby feel loved and strengthen the bond between you two.
Tummy massage in circular motion proves to be helpful for colic babies. The first three months are considered the best time when you should start giving massages to your baby. Now the question is, which oil is good for your baby? You should select the oil according to the climate. In winter, almond oil, olive oil, and coconut oil are good picks. While in summer you can go for mustard oil. These oils are readily available.
4. Cold turkey
Some parents may opt for the cold turkey route. Instead of going for the unwrapping process or using products used in baby swaddle transition, they remove the swaddle directly after a certain point of time. It is referred to as a stop swaddling cold turkey approach.
There are chances that the baby might adjust to the change without being fussy or might react oppositely. This approach perhaps works for the babies who can self-soothe themselves but not for those who are bad at it. It can disturb their nighttime sleep, and hence you are expected to get ready for a few sleepless nights till the baby finds comfort in sleeping without swaddling your baby.
5. Singing a lullaby
Lullabies play an integral role in making babies sleep at night. Singing a lullaby to a baby helps create the neural pathways for soothing, calming down, and falling asleep. These pathways are created in the initial months of a baby’s life. Hence, it makes room for a healthy sleep training process for the baby.
And you can also be able to tell other moms about how to teach baby to sleep without swaddle. Not only this, the lullabies have been proven helpful in making a baby eat and heal as well. So when your baby gets cranky about not being swaddled, try singing some lullaby.
6. Set light and temperature of the room
Usually babies sleep in low light. It gives a soothing effect to the babies, and they tend to sleep longer. Another most important thing is to check the temperature of the room. It should never be too high nor too low for the baby. A comfortable temperature of the room should be maintained to keep the baby warm and fall asleep. it will reduce the need of swaddle blanket.
7. Make the baby sleep next to you
It indeed depends on the culture you live in. But co-sleeping can be helpful for you both to sleep soundly. It would be easier for you to breastfeed a baby, and in turn, a baby would feel the warmth, safety, protection, and touch while sleeping next to his parents. Hence giving up on swaddle would become more accessible.
What are the 6 Best Swaddle transition products?
Each child is different and so are their sleep patterns. We have listed some swaddle transition products that your child may find attractive, which may help him through this transition. You should observe and analyze which development seems to work for your child. It will easy your way to learn how to teach a baby to sleep without a swaddle.
If you are trying to make your baby sleep without being wholly wrapped up, then a swaddle strap is your thing. It is a product that helps in stop swaddling your infant and has been designed to keep in mind specific considerations. It is safe to use a product that allows your younger babies to sleep with only the upper body and arms swaddled in loose blankets. It keeps the baby’s chest wrapped while ensuring the free movement of the baby’s lower body parts hence avoiding the risk of hip dysplasia.
You can easily find a strap adjusting to the size of your baby. Therefore it has been an option to go for while switching from swaddling. It makes sure your baby’s nap time duration and quality are not compromised. Anna and Eve swaddle strap is the best for baby sleep available in the market.
A wearable blanket that can be wrapped as a swaddle but allows the baby’s hand and arms to come out. At the same time, the child’s legs, torso, and feet are bound. Sleep sacks prevent the risk of suffocating the baby because it does not cover the baby’s face. Moreover, it is not wrong to say it is a modified swaddle blanket that lets mothers quickly change babies’ diapers through their zipper front.
Parents can use sleep sacks for newborns and infants, and from the age your baby starts rolling over up to toddler hood. With the regular sleep sack, you don’t need any extra blanket to cover your baby.
You can put your mobile baby in a sleep suit instead of wrapping in a swaddling blanket. You may also refer to it as a wearable blanket to keep baby warm and at the same time offer the comfort that your baby needs while sleeping. The wearable blanket provides free movement of the baby’s legs and arms to the baby.
Some sleep suits are designed in a way that they have a light-weighted pad mimicking a hand resting on the baby’s chest to avoid difficult sleeping. Thus, it gives security to unswaddled baby for sleeping soundly. It also proves to help control the Moro reflex. Do not use sleep suits in case your baby has a fever.
If your baby is wriggling and you are worried about keeping your baby warm. You can try a sleeping bag, an alternative to a swaddle blanket. It is available in diverse sizes as per your child’s measurements. It keeps your baby cozy and warm because they are designed to hold baby kicks and reflexes. Therefore, there is no chance to keep the blanket away like the swaddle.
Lightweight loose blankets
After removing the swaddle, your baby may experience a lack of warmth. Try giving them a soft blanket that helps make them feel the similar comfort and coziness that they were getting through swaddling. It will surely make the transition process more manageable and let the baby sleep with warmth. Make sure that the fabric of the blanket is skin-friendly to your baby. But be careful when using loose blanket in crib as it could cover your babies face and leads to suffocation.
A pacifier is a safe product to be used in the transition process. It not only calms your baby down but also reduces the risk of deaths related to baby sleep in babies. When a baby puts effort into sucking a pacifier, it utilizes his energy, making him fall asleep faster and for a more extended period. A string should not be attached to the pacifier so that the child’s safety can be maintained, as if left unmonitored can create a strangling risk for the baby.
Conclusion: How to teach baby to sleep without swaddle
Swaddling must have been of great importance to you and your baby at one point in time, but sticking to it can never be an option. There comes an end to everything that has taken a start. Similarly, with swaddling, you should be cautious of the movements of your newborn so that you may know the right time to switch.
Giving up on swaddles may be difficult for both of you, but believing it to be a primary part of making your child sleep independently is essential. Following the proper techniques and the products used in this process according to your child’s preferences can pave the way for a smoother baby transition. I hope you are now well aware about how to teach baby to sleep without swaddle.
Parents also ask
How do you stop the startle reflex without swaddling?
The startle reflex is also known as the Moro reflex. You can control it by being extra sensitive towards your baby. Holding him close to your body while putting him in the crib would help make him feel protected. Dimming the room light and using a sleep suit are other ways to reduce startle reflex.
Do some babies not like to be swaddled?
Some babies like to move their arms and legs freely. Therefore I do not like to be swaddled tightly. Be it the temperature or the limitation that may bother them. A blanket that allows them to move freely is a suitable option for such babies. In some cases, babies who do not like to be swaddled initially may get used to it later on.
Why does my baby fight the swaddle?
Babies do get frustrated from swaddling when it touches their faces. It may cause them to cry. So it will help if you make sure that the swaddle is wrapped so that it does comfort the child rather than being an element of disturbance. Baby’s preferences should be the priority of parents as well.
How do I know if the baby is cold at night?
Baby will wake up needlessly if he is uncomfortable with the room temperature. Whether being too chilly or too hot will make him uncomfortable. You need to set the room temperature and ensure whether it is okay for the baby. You may keep a check by feeling their chest, tummy, and back. If they feel warm, you can relax. It is perfectly normal if your baby’s hands and feet feel a little cold.