How and When to Unswaddle: 3 Helpful Products for the Swaddle Transition


When to unswaddleAs a sleep consultant, one of the biggest questions I get from parents of young infants is about when to unswaddle their baby. 

The Google machine can give conflicting answers…

One popular sleep guru suggests swaddling for as long as necessary to help your baby sleep (even after your baby becomes mobile). To the contrary, Dr. Rachel Y. Moon, lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines and chair of the SIDS task force does not recommend swaddling past the age of 2-2.5 months. Her reason? Babies around this age can easily end up on their bellies by this age, which is highly dangerous.

In my opinion, I’d rather be safe than sorry. But HOW do I stop swaddling?!

As is true for all things parenting, trying something new can be daunting and slightly terrifying. Particularly when it comes to sleep (or lack thereof)! Parents often ask if there is a “gentle” way or “easy” way to stop swaddling. For safety purposes, the answer is no. While many two-month-olds do just fine moving straight from swaddle to sleepsack, others still have a strong Moro reflex or prefer the coziness of the swaddle. The good news is there are some fabulous products out there that can help your baby if she isn’t a super fan of the sleepsack right away.

Top three products for the swaddle transition:

  1. Nested Bean Zen SackI adore this product. Many babies that prefer the coziness of swaddling love it, too! The Nested Bean provides “the cuddle effect,” which is essentially a small sack of beans sewn into the front of the sleepsack that mimics a parents’ touch. According to their website, “a parent’s touch is scientifically proven to soothe and help babies sleep.”
  2. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit this product allows a baby’s arms to be free (which is super important for self-soothing!), while also preventing the jerks and twitches of the Moro reflex. The Sleepsuit is specifically designed for babies who are transitioning from the swaddle but are not yet fully mobile. Once your baby is able to roll over, you’ll want to discontinue its use.
  3. SWADDLE UP 50/50™ TRANSITION BAG by LOVE TO DREAM™ – Another novel product for those babies who need a little help in the transition to sleepsack, the Swaddle Up 50/50 provides “wings” that can be removed for a slower transition. Start by removing one wing for a one-arm out swaddle experience. Once baby gets the hang of it, remove the second wing. This product still cuddles your baby and makes for a much easier transition than the cold turkey approach.

While it is your choice as to when to stop swaddling, I recommend aiming for two months. If you still need a little guidance or reassurance through the unswaddling process, reach out to our Dream Team and we’ll be happy to help! No need to suffer from sleep deprivation just to keep your baby safe. Happy sleeping!