A popular saying goes thus, ‘when the purpose of a thing is unknown, abuse is inevitable’. You must remember the purpose of swaddling your baby before you even think of the need to wean his or her swaddle, and as well as when to stop swaddling your baby.
Your baby is swaddled in order to restrain his or her tiny arms from involuntary mono reflexes which have the ability of disturbing him or her during sleep time. Those reflexes can make your baby to get startled. It is believed also that swaddling ensures that your baby’s body is warm as it brings back the womb feeling.
Your baby is swaddled immediately he or she is delivered from your womb. The main aim is to give him or her retained feeling of the womb.
You should stop swaddling your baby when you notice that he or she has started to roll over. At this time in your baby’s life, he or she can freely roll over with his or her stomach but lacks the ability to roll back over. You can notice this situation happening when your baby is approaching twelve to sixteen weeks.
Also Read: Why Does My Baby Shake
How And When to Wean Swaddling Your Baby
Swaddling your baby is one of the most precious things you can do to your baby after birth apart from probably feeding him or her. The warm fuzzy you feel when you swaddle most times may make you forget that a day comes when you must wean swaddling your baby.
The point at when to wean swaddling your baby depend on you the mom but we shall try to give a general sign that you may notice and realize that it’s time to wean swaddling your baby.
Sign 1: You notice that your baby likes rolling on his or her stomach. When this happens, it is a pointer that your baby no longer desire to be wrapped up anymore. You will likely notice this when your little one is approaching three to four months. Some mom notice this when their baby is six or seven months. I call those babies the late-swaddle-weaners.
Your baby at this time, starts rolling freely during their naps in the day or night with their tiny stomach. You may realize that their every attempt to roll back to their back proves abortive due to them being swaddled. This instantly kills off their startled reflexes.
When you notice such, your baby is instinctively asking you to stop swaddling him or her.
Sign 2: Your baby just clocks 6 months. Once your baby clocks six months, you can kindly wean swaddling. At this age, your baby can sleep soundly and peacefully without you swaddling him or her. Remember, one of the reasons for swaddling your baby is to ensure that he or she gets enough sleep with the feeling of being right in your womb.
I believe that you do not want a situation whereby your baby at a later age finds it difficult to sleep due to not being swaddled. If that is not your thought then wean swaddling your baby immediately he or she is six months old.
Sign 3: Your baby knows how to push up. Has your baby started using his or her arms to support himself or herself up after rolling from one side of his or her body to the other? If your baby has been attempting to do such, then, it is time to wean swaddling your baby.
You need to stop because his or her attempt and the swaddled arms can result to severe frustration which may result in your baby being so unhappy and frustrated. I guess you do not want your baby unhappy.
Sign 4: Your baby just wiggles out of his or her swaddle. If you notice that your baby easily and frequently wiggle out of his or her swaddle then it is great pointer that he or she prefers to be swaddle-free.
Sign 5: Your baby is no longer quiet when swaddled. If your baby feels irritated and cries whenever you swaddle him or her, then it is a great sign that he or she no longer prefer to be swaddled anymore, and desire to be free from it.
Also Read: What to Do If Your Baby Hates Swaddling
How to wean from the swaddle?
The art of weaning your baby from swaddling is what every mom need to learn. It is not rocket science.
I recommend that you go slowly and gently just in case you got the signs to wean swaddling your baby wrongly. Moreover, you do not want your baby to get overtired due to lack of sufficient sleep. Once you start the under listed and realize that the outcome isn’t what you anticipated, I strongly advice that you put him or her back into his or her swaddle.
I must add at this juncture that the perfect time to wean swaddling your baby is at night. Start at the time when the urge for sleep is at its peak; night.
I advice that you start by letting the legs of your baby free first. I strongly recommend that you try a leg at a time. If he or she gives a great fuss over it, then stop the attempt of freedom and return him or her to his or her swaddle. But if there is no fuss, then give those tiny legs independence. They want to start attempting things on their own.
In addition to freeing the legs of your baby, you can give his or her arms freedom gradually. Do it by releasing an arm first then the other later. Be sure to look out for a fuss. If there is any at all, then swaddle him or her. But if you notice that he or she is happy after an arm is freed, then do it freely for some days. The interval for the release or freedom can be 3-8 days.
Keep his or her torso swaddled up. This is possible when you notice that he or she is happy over the release of the arms.
Don’t be in a hurry to put your baby down. I strongly advice that you place the baby in the crib and gently rub his or her chest with your hands.
When to Stop Swaddling your Baby’s Arms
Swaddling your baby helps you mimic the womb experience afresh for your baby. The major difference is that when your baby was in the womb, he or she had the freedom of placing his or her hands up to the chest or head while swaddling eliminate that freedom.
Swaddling your baby ensures that the hands of your baby is kept fixed at a spot. Your baby accepts the way you place his or her hands until a time when such acceptance is no longer conducive anymore.
You can stop swaddling your baby’s arms when you notice that your baby has began to show signs of not wanting to be swaddled anymore. The sign ranges from him or her flipping to his or her tummy to the wiggling off the swaddle.
This signs starts propping as early as the second or third month depending on your baby. Once such a time comes, stop swaddling an arm first and later both arms. It must be stated clearly that you must ensure that the coast is clear that your baby no longer appreciate being swaddled.
If your baby starts rolling over as early as the second month then you should plan to stop swaddling his or her arms by then.
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Signs to Stop Swaddling Your Baby
The burning question right now on the lips of every nursing mother is; when do I stop swaddling my baby? This question is not misplaced but appropriate for every mother that seeks the best and or safety of her baby.
This age-long method called swaddling has helped mothers in previous generation and now to make their babies feel secure. Swaddling make him or her have the feeling of the security experience while in the womb.
As wonderful as this method has proven to be, it has its own downs. As lovely as swaddling your baby as early as he or she is born, so also is the danger of not knowing when to stop.
When to stop swaddling your baby is dependent on the signs your baby displays. Down the line in this article, I will share you tips to help you identify those signs once they pop up to avoid not knowing and falling into the danger of it.
You must know at this point that your baby basically starts rolling over as early as two to three months. Do not be worried if your baby is five months already and he is yet to roll over. There is no cause for alarm for now. There are babies that start rolling over as late as six months. If after six months your baby hasn’t began rolling over then you may have to consult your doctor for checks.
It may interest you to know that one of my children didn’t like being swaddled. Among my kids, my third baby hated being swaddled and protested against it as early as when he was four weeks. He was just so restless, fussed a lot and that led him to having difficulty sleeping.
He was quite different from my first daughter who enjoyed being swaddled but got tired of it as at the third month. The key word here is for you to pay attention to your baby. Watch out to know when he or she is no longer happy.
The following are some signs gathered over the years on the silent voice of your baby indicating a lack of interest in being swaddled.
When my first child got to three months of being in this wonderful world with her dad and me, she showed that she was ready to explore by constantly breaking free from the swaddle. At first, I blamed the nanny for making mistake in swaddling her, and not doing it as perfect as I do, then I swaddled her myself and got same reaction.
I improved on my swaddling skills and swaddled her again only for it to happen again. I had to stop swaddling her at that point. My fear at this point was those loose fabric in her cot which may strangle her tiny neck or make her suffocate when no one is around when she kick or break through her swaddle.
My third bundle of joy was a baby boy. A unique and handsome boy. Like every baby, beamed with smiles always and melts even the hardest of hearts when he is beheld. He stopped having startled reflexes known as the Moro reflex as early as the 16th. These startled reflexes are those involuntary responses which your baby makes whenever he or she is startled by a sudden movement or noise. At this point, your baby may wake up and begin to cry. When such startled reflexes no longer occur then it is a perfect indicator that your baby’s arms should no longer be swaddled.
When your baby starts being fussy and no longer gets enough sleep. He or she may wake up almost immediately while having a sound sleep. This likely occurs in the middle of the night when you are hoping to catch your own sleep. When such occurs, then know it that your baby desires to be stopped being swaddled.
The major sign that indicates your baby no longer wants to be swaddled is when your baby starts rolling to his or her tummy. At this point, your baby is becoming very mobile. It’s a thing of joy and worry. You should be worried because your baby might roll over to his or her tummy while sleeping with no one around which can lead to sudden infant death.
If your baby remains swaddled at this point, it may affect his or her motor skills development. It is advisable to un-swaddle the arms one after the other.