Remember, I am not a sleep consultant andI did not go to school for any form of medicine. I do have lots of professional experience in early childhood years which includes training other educators in safe sleep tactics at young ages. This honestly is just what worked for us and my daughter. Every child is also different but here is how we ditched the swaddle!
Step One: Prepare Yourself
When changing how your child is used to sleeping, it can truly interrupt their sleeping patterns and can cause more times waking during the night. I suggest mentally preparing yourself for a short amount of time that the routine may be off a bit.
Step Two: Swaddle One Arm Out
The key to this is to start during naps. I chose to do this for a couple of days only during nap time then moved into bedtime. My daughter was for the majority of the time sleeping through the night, so I knew a big change and changing her sleep schedule would be tough.
Here is my biggest tip and most important thing we did:
Alternate which arm is swaddled out each time for sleep. Some children get used to one arm being out and then are not prepared for the other one. This will help them adjust.
Step Three: No swaddle at nap time
After about 3 days of the alternating swaddle arms, we decided to take the leap and go for no swaddle during naps. This was a great way for Kennedi to learn to self soothe a bit more and allowed me as a Mama to have peace of mind knowing she would be a pro once it was time for night time.
Step Four: No more swaddle
After 2-3 more days of the no swaddle at nap time, we finally took the leap and did no swaddle at bedtime. My daughter’s biggest struggle was trying to soothe herself but then she would hit the pacifier out of her own mouth. (Yes, she uses a pacifier, only at bedtime and I am fine with it!) After she got used to not hitting her pacifier out of her mouth she was smooth sailing. It took a good couple of weeks until she was a pro, but she now sleeps just fine without a swaddle.
If you baby is starting to look like they will roll over, make sure to start transitioning out of the swaddle. Once a child can roll over, for their safety, they should not be swaddled any longer.
Here are my final thoughts:
- Follow your instincts
- Always think about safety for your child
- Every child moves at their own pace, you may be able to stop the swaddle cold turkey, with my daughter that would have never worked
- It takes time, but you will get there, be patient and lean on your support system for extra sleep and mental support as well!
- We found that our daughter loves her “Ellie.” An elephant blanket that has helped her self soothe. (Make sure your child is safe, but this worked for Kennedi)
Let me know what worked best for you in the comments!
The Midwestern Mama