The priority of any parent is taking care of their newly born bundle of joy, which includes making sure that your baby is getting quality sleep.
Swaddling helps provide your baby with a sense of comfort and security, which, in turn, ensures better sleep. However, there comes a time when swaddling needs to stop.
If you’re wondering whether or not you can start unswaddling cold turkey, this article is for you. We shed light on everything you need to know about unswaddling, so stick around.
- What AAP think about swaddling?
- When to stop swaddling?
- How to transition out of the swaddle?
What Does the American Academy of Pediatrics Think About Swaddling?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) approves of the swaddling method when done in a correct manner; confirming that it can be effective in promoting sleep.
However, the AAP explained that it does come with some dangers, elaborating that guidelines need to be adhered to in order to ensure the baby’s safety.
How Safe Is Swaddling?
According to a review by the AAP dating back to 2016, they were able to connect a small percentage of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to swaddling.
The issue was primarily due to the fact that safety guidelines were not followed, which led to the accidental deaths of some infants.
While, yes, it does sound scary, the guidelines actually make sense and are not that hard to adhere to, making SIDS easily avoidable.
When Should Parents Stop Swaddling?
Two to four months after being born, babies tend to develop the ability to roll themselves, use their arms, and adjust their necks to sleep properly. This is when parents should stop swaddling.
Note that not all babies develop rolling themselves at the same time; some do it earlier than usual, while others are late bloomers. That said, it’s always better to consult your doctor before making your final decision.
How to Know If My Baby Is Ready for Unswaddling?
There are other signs your little munchkin will show when ready to leave their swaddle behind, which include:
- Crying a lot when swaddling.
- Becomes self-reliant and roll on their own.
- Breaks free from their wrapping.
- Gets agitated easily when swaddled.
- Gets restless and doesn’t get soothed by it anymore.
How to Transition Out of the Swaddle?
There are several methods when it comes to unswaddling a baby. Some babies can go ahead and unswaddle cold turkey; others need transitioning, moving from one step to another before they can be completely free while they’re sleeping.
Be it unswaddling cold turkey or freeing one arm at a time (Check my favorite one arm out sleep sack), we’re going to cover every step to make you sure about your next step.
Unswaddling Cold Turkey
If your little one is rolling on their own, then unswaddling cold turkey is the most recommended way.
What’s meant by unswaddling cold turkey is the complete removal of their “cotton cocoon.” This gives your little cutie the freedom to move and roll on their own.
Essentially, this means that the parent is now depending on the baby’s ability to roll over and their capacity to adjust and soothe themselves for better sleep.
Take into consideration that this method needs to be adapted in all of the baby’s napping sessions too, which is a good place to start as it eases the baby before bedtime.
While it’s the most recommended and preferred method, the baby won’t instantly have a good night’s sleep and will have to adapt to this change.
Unfortunately for the parent, they’re going to have to withstand a few sleepless nights as the baby transitions to its newly found liberty. And yes, there will be tears… a lot of tears!
How long until the tears stop? That will depend on the little one itself because any change to the sleep routine will affect the baby’s mood.
That being said, the first day will be the hardest to get through. Yet, days two and three should be a lot easier, and by the fourth day, the baby should be sleeping fine.
Remember that not all babies are the same, some might pick up this method straight away, others will need a bit more time.
While it’s usually recommended to unswaddle cold turkey, not wanting to do so straight away is understandable.
Maybe the newborn is still learning how to roll on their own or has trouble adjusting and you want to ease them out of the wrapping.
Thankfully, there’s an easy guide to help you:
- The first step is freeing an arm (usually the non-dominant one) out of the swaddle. It’s also recommended that you test it out during one of their naps.
- Keep doing the same for a couple of nights as the baby gets comfortable. If it’s a success and the baby isn’t hitting itself with its free arm, you can move on to the next arm.
- Like the first step, you’ll have to do it for a couple of nights as the baby adapts, all while the rest of the little one’s body is still swaddled.
- After your little one finally adjusts, completely remove the swaddle, and you’re done!
Babies grow fast! Their development changes before your eyes in a matter of mere months, and while it may seem to be moving quickly, there are always ways to assist parents.
Swaddling your baby is a good way to calm them and provide them with a sense of comfort and security. Not to mention that you get to enjoy your baby looking like a cute little burrito. However, after a while, the swaddling has to stop.
Modern techniques lean towards unswaddling cold turkey, not just because the baby is already rolling on its own, but because it’s easy to do, though it can be hard on some parents.
The parents essentially don’t need to do anything, but that simplicity comes with a mountain of tears and sleepless nights that they’re going to have to endure as the little one adjusts.
Always keep an eye out on your baby’s behavior and, accordingly, choose the method that works best for you. And if you’re confused or worried, be sure to consult a doctor.
Oh! wait, You may need to know an alternative to crib bumpers if you are transitioning you baby to crib without swaddling.