I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!

SEARCH THIS BLOG

Find Me Here!

Tag cloud
10 month old sleep 11 month old 2 year old can't fall asleep 2 year old nap 3 year old stops napping 4 month old 45 minute naps 8 month old adults adults sleep alarm clock babies baby baby bedtime baby doesn't nap baby fall back baby nursing to sleep baby rolling at night baby short naps baby sleep baby sleep positioners baby sleep routine bad bedtimes bedroom too loud bedsharing bedtime bedtime baby bedtime books bedtime child bedtime for teens bedtime problem bedtime routine bedtime snacks bedtimes bedwetting best bedtime stories for kids big boy bed blackout curtains boost breastfed baby sleep through the night bsby cosleeping bumpers caffeine child child bedtime child can't sleep child sleeping in a tent childcare childhood fears and sleep children cosleeping cover story creativity crib cry it out cultural intelligence daycare daylight savings time Daylight Savings Time kid bedtime daylight savings time sleep DHA does exercise help kids sleep dropping a nap DST early waker early waking ebook education energy equality equally shared parenting exercise and kids exercise and sleep fall back falling back families family five month old naps five month old short naps five month old sleep five year old bedtime food getting baby to bed getting dad to help with bedtime Getting kids to bed getting kids to bed during the summer getting kids to bed when it's light out getting rid of the pacifier giveaway green Harvey Karp Hawaii health heart health tips help helping kids adjust to daylight savings time helping kids get to sleep after vacation Helping kids sleep in the summer helping kids sleep through the night helping twins sleep holiday how long should babies nap how long should bedtime take how much sleep do adults need how to get rid of nightmares how to help a preschooler nap how to stop nightmares humor immune system infant sleep insomnia kids kids always get sick kids and daylight savings time kids sharing bedrooms kids sleep questions Kindle king 5 large family late bedtime learning leg cramps light math Moms moving child to his own bedroom nap nap routine napping in arms naps new sibling newborn news night terror night waking nightlights nightmare nightmares nighttime dryness nurse to sleep association nutrition one year old overtied kids overtired overtired child overtiredness pacifier pajamas nightmares parenting parentmap pediatric restless legs syndrome potty training pregnancy and newborn preschool Preschooler problem problem solving product productivity pull ups putting kids to bed questions raising a boy robotic safety safey separation anxiety setting a bedtime for kids shared bedroom shared bedrooms Shopping short naps short sleeper six month old sleep skipped naps sleep sleep and learning sleep coach sleep coaching sleep consulting sleep expert sleep for moms sleep gadgets sleep help sleep hygiene sleep pregnancy sleep questions sleep regression sleep through the night sleeping during the summer sleeping well during pregnancy sleeping while camping soundproof spring forward standing and screaming in crib stress sugar summer summer bedtime swaddle teen teen bedtime Teenage brains television time change time zone adjustment toddler toddler 4 am toddler bed toddler leg cramps toddler naps toddler sleep toddlers toilet transition transition to one nap travel with kids tryptophan twins undertired up all night violence and kids violent video games and children waking warm bedroom hurts sleep weaning the swaddle winter women heart health won't fall asleep work worries

Entries in weaning the swaddle (1)

Monday
Mar262012

Swaddle Series Part 3: Say “See ya!” To The Swaddle

Sooner or later, your little one will sleep swaddle-free.Good-byes are never easy. Especially when the good-bye in question involves getting rid of your child’s trusty swaddling wrap—the one that soothed her to sleep when nothing else would and helped you get some much-needed shut-eye, too. Once new parents get the hang of the swaddling thing, they can get pretty attached to the practice of swaddling, and they’re understandably reluctant to part with this sleep-supporter. Babies often outgrow swaddling before parents are ready to move on to the next stage (kids keep this habit of outpacing their parents as they grow, by the way).

But move on we must. By the time an infant can roll over, around five months, it’s time to start planning the swaddle’s exit. Older babies kick and roll and can work their wrap loose, which can lead to unsafe sleeping conditions. Why is ditching the swaddle so anxiety-provoking? Because many parents who have swaddled since birth literally can’t picture their child sleeping any other way.

If you’re getting ready to say "see ya!" to the swaddle, don’t fret. Here are three mom-tested methods that will have your child snoozing swaddle-free in no time.

Method 1: Cold Turkey

The quickest way to transition your child to swaddle-free sleeping is to simply stop using the swaddle. If you’re feeling brave, just pack the swaddle away and proceed with your bedtime routine. But don't toss the swaddle without replacing this important sleep cue. Remember that the swaddle served as a sleep "trigger" for your child—its presence helped cue his brain that sleep was near. So when you remove it from your child’s routine, replace it with another sleep cue, like a sleep sack or something similar (this process is described in Ready, Set, Sleep).

Method 2: Lukewarm Turkey

This method is almost cold turkey…but not quite. You can stop using the swaddle at night but continue using a swaddle-like technique for soothing during the wind-down routine. By the time babies are ready for less swaddling, most only need it for bedtime soothing, and not while sleeping. In other words, the swaddle is a sleep cue that aids in falling asleep, but once the child is asleep, she doesn’t need it. To employ this method, use a snug swaddle-esque blanket wrap during your child’s bedtime routine and then remove it once she's very drowsy or asleep.

Method 3: Arms Out

For some babies, an "arms out" swaddle is the easiest route to swaddle freedom. To transition your child out of the swaddle with this method, first wrap your child with one arm out, then after a few days, try both arms out. The “chest down” swaddle that leaves both arms free gives your child the snug feeling of being swaddled, with the upper-body freedom that older babies enjoy. In fact, this method works so well that you may be tempted to just continue swaddling your older baby “arms out” for months. But remember, the “arms out” swaddle is just a stop on the route to swaddle-free sleeping—eventually you’ll need to get rid of the wrap entirely. After a few weeks of “arms out,” try leaving legs out too. (Yes, a swaddle around your child’s midsection looks strange, but it’s a brief phase.) Soon, you’ll be able to lift the swaddle right out of your child’s sleep routine without looking back.

See, that wasn’t so difficult, was it? Bring on the next challenge!