Love to Dream | When to Stop Swaddling & How to Transition

Once you understand why, when and how to swaddle your newborn baby and develop a good sleep routine for them, you may wonder, when does swaddling stop? 

Many parents find the transition period a scary thought  but don't worry, once you figure out why and when you should stop swaddling your baby, you'll know how to approach this with confidence. 

Baby in the Love to Dream Transition Bag - Dreamer. Belly Beyond.

When should you stop swaddling your baby? 

As a general rule it is recommended to stop swaddling your baby when they start to show signs of rolling. The signs you can look out for are:

  • Starting to roll over during play time
  • Using hands to push up during tummy time
  • Decreased or no startle reflex
  • Lifting their legs and flopping them to the side
  • Ability to escape out of a traditional swaddle
  • Resisting being swaddled traditionally

If your baby is showing one or more of these signs, then it’s time to transition to “arms-free”. Babies will show these signs between 26 months of age. It’s important to note that for some babies it can happen as early as 8 weeks while for other babies, this happens much later. You should always consult your GP around your baby’s motor development. 

Transition your baby with the Love to Dream Transition Sleep Suit.

Why should you stop swaddling your baby?

The number one reason you need to transition your baby from swaddling is for their safety. If your baby rolls over onto their tummy while being swaddled, they may find it difficult to roll back over onto their back.

Not only is this uncomfortable and distressing for your bub, but according to the Red Nose Foundation there are serious risks involved too, including restriction of their breathing.

When you notice your baby showing signs of starting to roll, you can begin to transition from swaddling to “arms-free” sleep to make sure they sleep safely.

How to slowly ease your baby off swaddling…

We recommend you take a gentle approach to easing your baby or toddler from swaddling to independent sleep.

Love To Dream™ Transition Bags and Suits are made specifically for this purpose. Both Transition Bags and Transition Suits have zip-off wings that allow you to start with them fully enclosed like a swaddle for newborn, to zipping them off one wing at a time.

This process allows for comfortability with the feel of having an arm free and adjusting to that, then feeling at ease with both arms being free. You can even allow baby to fall asleep swaddled up and then unzip a wing as they sleep. These options offer gentle but effective ways to transition your baby to independent sleep, whilst maintaining their established sleep routine.

Some babies will transition to arms-free sleep easier than others. If your little one is taking a little longer, or you aren’t experiencing the smooth transition you had hoped for, stick with it and your baby will get there. 

We’ve stopped swaddling, now what?

No matter which stage your baby is at, it’s important to develop and maintain safe sleep and healthy sleep foundations, with a swaddle or sleeping garment that supports them. Understanding the needs of your little one will allow you to know when to stop swaddling your baby and when to progress to the next phase of sleep.

Try our Love to Dream™ Transition Bags & Transition Suits to ease your newborn off swaddling

Transition Bags and Transition Suits are the perfect baby step to move out of the swaddle and into a sleep bag or suit. The design of the arms allows the sleeves to be zipped off when ready, and one arm can be free at a time. Transitional Bags and Transition Suits come in three sizes: Medium (68.5kg), Large (8.511kg) and Extra-Large (1114kg) and a variety of TOG to suit both summer and winter temperatures. 


This article was contributed by trusted sleep experts, Love to Dream™.