Should I stop swaddling my baby?
If you’ve swaddled your baby, you’ve performed one of the healthiest, cutest, and most secure forms of parenting imaginable. Swaddling is an activity that mimics the womb and makes baby feel safe and secure in the world, warm and without a care. Some parents won’t swaddle their babies, and it’s okay.
Not all parents engage in swaddling. However, there’s nothing quite like the act of swaddling to help your baby feel like he or she is still in the safety of the womb, safe and sound from all care. This practice involves using a warm, comforting blanket to “swaddle” the baby and keep their arms and legs from moving.
A swaddled baby is just about the most adorable little creature on earth, resembling a caterpillar in the cocoon, only 1000 times more huggable. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does have some safety tips for swaddling the correct way to ensure the security of your baby, but as long as you do it right, swaddling is perfectly safe.
What Swaddling Does:
Before you learn when to stop swaddling, you can also take a look at the advantages of swaddling and what it will do for you and your baby. Newborn babies will feel more at home in the world because the swaddle technique is like the womb. Advantages of this technique for soothing baby include:
- The swaddle simulates the sensation of touch for babies, and this is one element that makes them feel safe
- Swaddling helps to combat against the Moro Reflex of babies (sensation that they’re falling)
- A gentle warmness that isn’t like uncomfortable heat will envelop your baby in contentment
- Never leave loose blankets in the crib and make sure that your swaddling blanket is completely safe and properly swaddled around your baby!
- Swaddling can sometimes provide a soothing sensation that helps babies get back to sleep
Some parents don’t swaddle their baby at all, while others start and stop swaddling quickly because it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Whether you start and stop swaddling the first time or are now many months into this thing called the life of your baby, you’re going to find that certain things will definitely help to make it easier to stop swaddling without alarming your little one.
How Swaddling Impacts Development
Parents who chose to swaddle obviously will wonder when to stop swaddling. The answer to that will depend on how fast your baby develops. Just like toddlers or teenagers, babies grow at different rates and develop certain talents earlier or later (such as escaping a swaddle or arm and leg strength). Since every baby develops in its own good time, watching your child during a swaddle can be a real clue as to when to stop swaddling. Observe your baby in a swaddle at all months of life. You’ll get all the clues you need as to when it’s time to give up the practice.
When To Stop Swaddling
Development is different for every baby, but generally parents swill stop swaddling by 6 months into baby’s life. If you stop swaddling before then, or some after, it’s okay. As the baby gets older, it’s likely you will know to stop swaddling by how your baby reacts to it.
What is a gentle soothing technique to a 3 month old may eventually become uncomfortable and not-so-soothing to your 7 month old. In other words, when it’s time to stop swaddling your baby, your baby is going to get loud and let you know!
Is swaddling unsafe?
And obviously a child who has full movement of arms and legs, along with a lot of arm and leg strength, may be able to shed the blanket, creating an unsafe environment with a loose blanket in the crib. So for kids who can remove the blanket, swaddle only when you can supervise!
Of all the things you’ll have to worry about during your time of parenting your baby, when to stop swaddling is one of the more flexible decisions you’ll need to make. There’s a lot of room to grow here, and some parents will swaddle for a month and then decide it’s not soothing their baby all that much
Babies are pretty animated creatures here, and they’re great at letting you know when they are comforted by, or not comforted by, something. Every baby responds to different soothing techniques. If swaddling worked for you and you’d like to know when to stop swaddling, it’s fairly simple.
Best age to stop
Most parents stop between 3-6 months of age, but when to stop swaddling is flexible! If it works for you baby, it works.
Once again, the major concern about swaddling an older baby is that they will have more muscle strength in their arms and legs. Since they’re more powerful, they may be able to escape the swaddle, leaving a loose blanket in the crib with them.
This puts them at risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and no parent wants to face those prospects. For this reason, when to stop swaddling does become a safety issue as well. Even if you swaddle your older baby, it’s okay as long as you are there to supervise. The good news is that most children will let you know when to stop swaddling by crying when you swaddle them. It will no longer be soothing to them.
Why Babies Like Swaddling
A swaddled baby is by far one of the most precious sights in the universe. They look so peaceful, so comfortable, so safe, and so very sweet. Parents will sometimes just watch that contented swaddling baby sleep his or her little heart out because it’s so heartwarming to see.
The restriction of movement provided by the swaddle allows the child to feel safe and sound and then, of course, it mimics a feeling of touch. That’s exactly what a baby needs! Between 3 and 6 months, most parents will make a decision on when to stop swaddling. If your 3-month-old still benefits and is securely swaddled, you’re good.
As a final note about safety here, remember that you need to stop swaddling at once if your baby is able to roll over!. Once the baby can roll over on one side or another, this presents a grave health issue to the swaddling technique and can pose a suffocation hazard to your baby.
Once you know your baby can roll over, you know when to stop swaddling. Now that your little one is mobile, not only will there not be a lot of comfort in swaddling, but they’ll also have a risk of suffocation if you continue to swaddle.
Your little one will need many different techniques in order to bring comfort during the first few months of life. As long as you correctly follow the safety standards of swaddling, you’re going to be okay. Make sure that you review the guidelines of safe swaddling at different developmental periods.
When to stop swaddling may just be a matter of when your baby finally learns to roll over. Once he or she starts to escape the swaddle, there’s little point of continuing then either, and loose blankets in a crib can definitely pose a safety hazard.
Because you’re a great parent, you’ve probably already learned this, but it’s extra important when swaddling. Watch for strong movements by baby and any escape attempts.