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How to successfully transition from the swaddle to sleep sack

Your baby started to roll on their side while sleeping. You know that it’s time to make a change. Nobody likes to change; however, for your baby’s safety you must drop the swaddle. This blog post will go into detail as to how to do this seamlessly., and also what “not” to do.


How to drop the swaddle?

Whether you want to drop it fast or take it slow. Here are three tried and true ways to eliminate the swaddle once and for all. One thing I would recommend not doing is purchasing a Merlin Sleep Suit, a weighted sleep sack or any other similar item to this that can prohibit your child from meeting milestones. Plus – I, and many other sleep consultants, question the safety of these items.


The one thing you can do is invest in a transitional swaddle such as the Love to Dream Swaddle UP ™ Transition Bag (this is what I used) or the Halo Transitional Swaddle. Both are great options. I prefer the first over the latter because it turns into a sleep sack that you can use for several months later and dress your child appropriately underneath.



If you do not want to invest in a transitional swaddle, that’s quite alright. You don’t have to. However, no matter which sleep sack you use, this is how you will transition our babe out of the swaddle once and for all:


1. One arm out, and then second arm This is a good approach for those using a swaddle like the Love to Dream transition bag, or a traditional swaddle. What you’ll do is leave one arm out for a few nights, and then take the second arm out a few days later. I recommend keeping the swaddle on for naps while working on eliminating for nights, and then take it away nap by nap. Of course, during the day if you are using the swaddle, you will monitor your babe closely to ensure they do not roll with it on because we don’t want this to become a safety issue.


2. Partial Nights Partial nights is an option for those who are nervous their babe will not go back to sleep after the middle of the night feed. For a partial night transition, you will start with the beginning part of the night by removing the swaddle (letting one arm out at a time for a few days), but after the night feed you will swaddle the baby back up so they can sleep to their wake time. After 2 – 3 days of doing the partial night, you will then remove the swaddle for the whole night, but of course one arm at a time to ensure that your babe has time to adjust to the freedom of their arms.


3. Eliminate Cold Turkey

Eliminating the swaddle cold turkey is another option if you feel your baby will adjust quickly. Generally, this is not the way I recommend doing things, I believe in slow and steady, but if you want you can go all in and get it over with knowing that your baby will take a few days to adjust.


What about naps and swaddling?

When it comes to naps, I recommend eliminating the swaddle for the first nap ONCE baby is sleeping at night without their swaddle on. Let your babe get the hang of it for the first few days, then eliminate for nap 2 and then a few days later nap 3.


What method do I like? I like the one arm out for the whole night for a few days, and then second arm out a few days later. Then taking naps slowly. If a baby that I am working with just doesn’t seem to be adjusting well, but is showing signs of rolling, then I typically recommend the Halo Transitional Swaddle because it is a little more snug around the arms for baby and she can wear it a few months while maturing and mastering rolling.


Need more help improving your baby's sleep? Shoot me an email at pediatricsleepcoach@gmail.com so we can schedule a FREE 30 minute discovery call and discuss how we can work together to make that happen!




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