Archived Q&A and Reviews

Swaddling 0-3 Months Swaddling after 3 Months

6-month-old is a challnge to swaddle

June 2009

I have 6 month old twin girls that were born one month early weighing around 5 lbs each. One of my girls has found much comfort from swaddling for the past six months. She is getting very strong, and it has become a challenge to swaddle her. She kicks the swaddles open or pulls her arm out of it. She will wake herself up in the process, and will not sleep until reswaddled. For now, it is still somewhat do able, but I think the day is coming when swaddling will not work, and may not be a good idea (e.g. when she can roll over in it). I would like to transition her to a different sleeping arrangement but not sure how to do that, does anyone have ideas/experience with this? Thanks for your help. joanna

The same thing happened with my daughter at 5 months. Unfortunately, we were on vacation so we didn't have the ability to buy alternative types of swaddlers etc. so we just quit the swaddle cold turkey. My daughter woke herself up numerous times in the night from her newfound ability to flail around. Each time I would nurse her to get her back to sleep. This lasted for probably a week or so but then she just got used to it and learned how to stay asleep when she moved. It was exhuasting but we survived and now she moves all over her crib while she sleeps and doesn't wake up. anon
My 5 month old almost always needed swaddling to nap and sleep at night; I'm in the middle of ''swaddle weaning'' right now ... I was worried because he's now turning over both ways, plus he'll be starting daycare soon and they won't swaddle him there, so I felt like I needed to get him used to sleeping without it.

My process has been gradual; I starting putting him down for all naps and to bed at night with one arm out of the swaddle. I alternated which arm was out. If he woke up at night because he wasn't swaddled, I would go ahead and do the full swaddle for the rest of the night so we could all get some sleep. Once he starting sleeping through to his normal night feeding time, I only did the full swaddle after that for a couple of nights. Then the one armed swaddle for the whole night. I think it took about 2 weeks for him to be back to ''normal'' sleeping and nap habits. I then did the whole thing again with both arms out, which is not really a swaddle but is still sort of cozy, and a sleep cue for him. In the next day or two I'm going to try no swaddle at all. (wish me luck!)

At each step, his naps were way too short for a few days, which stunk, but it didn't take too long for him to adjust. I think I rushed it too much at first, and ended up going back to the full swaddle once for a few days and starting the whole process over, because his sleep had become so screwed up. This second go-around, I've given him plenty of time to adjust at each step, and it seems to be working well.

Good luck! Anon

I have a 13 month old who benefited greatly from swaddling. I never used any fancy wraps but once he hit 4 months I began using 2 blankets and this kept him wrapped longer. I just used 2 of the hospital type, flannel blankets - swaddle with one then repeat the process with the second and it's harder to get out of. Also around 6 months I ''made'' larger swaddling blankets by cutting up a flannel sheet and this also helps to keep the wrap secure longer. As for weaning off the swaddle I swaddled with one arm loose for a long time (over a month) and then with both arms out and the wrap around his armpits. I know this sounds funny but at 13 months he still likes the below the arm swaddle. best wishes and happy swaddling, laura
Try swaddling with one or both arms outside of the swaddle. Anon

Swaddling our 3 month old

Jan 2009

We have been swaddling our three month old since he was a Very Fussy Baby and we followed the advice of ''Happiest Baby on the Block.'' While he is no longer fussy, he does stretch and move so energetically during naps and nighttime that he bonks himself (or us!), or startles, and wakes himself up. We swaddle just his arms, but usually once or twice during the night and naps he works his little arms out of the swaddle and wakes himself up again. I've tried not swaddling one arm but he still startles himself awake. I am just curious - have any of you swaddled your babies for many months? Will he settle down at some point and not wake himself up so much? Thanks! - freedom-loving mama!

My daughter just turned 5 months old, and we still swaddle her -- she can't sleep in her bed otherwise. She works her arms out eventually almost every night, but when we try to put her down unswaddled, she doesn't sleep. So my advice is to keep swaddling him for now -- we're going to start trying to wean our baby from it soon, but as long as it's working, there's really no reason to stop doing what you're doing:) Cara
I swaddled my son for 5 1/2 months and only stopped when we decided to sleep train him. He was always a difficult sleeper and it worked so much better when we swaddled. For my daughter, who is now almost 5 1/2 months old, we are still swaddling with no end in sight. She was a colicky baby and is still very sensitive to external stimuli. She sleeps so well now swaddled that I don't want it to end. For her it is a cue that she is going to sleep and if she is fussy, she calms down when she is swaddled. She wakes up smiling and super happy. We have been using the Miracle Blanket (http://www.miracleblanket.com/)for a few months because it is the only way she doesn't break out of the swaddle. Since she grew too long for her feet to be in the bottom, I just swaddle her arms and then enclose her feet in a sleep sack so that she stays warm. Works like a charm! I bet we won't be swaddling her when she's in college so for now it will continue until it doesn't seem to benefit her anymore. Good luck! Happy Swaddler
We swaddled our baby til 3 months, off and on...and now still do sometimes when he is really stressed and having a hard time falling asleep. The trick is a really tight swaddle to rein in those flailing limbs that the baby cannot control yet. Adults instinctively balk at the tight swaddle, but it is comforting to the baby to not have to deal with those pinwheel arms and legs. Another thing that worked for our child was putting him on his side to sleep. We feel comfortable with that because we cosleep, and it has worked for months now. It can be tricky if baby has a huge diaper on, though... Sleeping Tight
We swaddled our now 1-year old for several months because it helped her get to sleep. I know other parents who have swaddled for over a year. I think it just depends on the child. If it's working, don't stop. Mom of 2
We swaddled our baby until she was 7 months old and only stopped because the velcro wore out of our swaddle blankets! We probably would have gone on for another month or so because she slept so happily and peacefully swaddled. The first few nights of being unswaddled were a bit tough - more night wakings - but after that she slept just fine. I think her ability to sleep well unswaddled coincided with her ability to turn on her side and on her belly to sleep. This really helped her be able to get comfortable, and is also the time the doctors recommend stopping swaddling, so maybe use this as indication to stop swaddling? M
i swaddled my son until he was about 9 months old and loved it. it started to feel like a long time but he still enjoyed it and benefitted from it, he would easily startle otherwise and slept worse without it. as he got older i just did his arms. he was able to break out of it early on so i did a ''double swaddle'' by laying 1 blanket folded in a triangle (i used a small receiving blanket), long edge along top, on top of the swaddling blanket and first wrapped his arms- 1 pointed edge over 1 arm and then tucked behind him, then the other point over the other arm and tucked the flap behind him. then swaddle as usual with the second blanket. this is basically the same theory as the miracle blanket with the arm flaps, but i just didnt want to spend the money on it. it worked great! if this doesnt make sense you can see a video on miracle blanket website to help clarify. http://www.miracleblanket.com/index.htm good luck. swaddling mama
We swaddled our kids until about 6 months. It worked. It calmed them. Eventually once they could roll over, they'd escape and they'd be fine. I say if it works do it. We even used duct tape to hold the blanket closed and my mom made some awesome very light weight swaddling cloths that were actually big enough to swaddle an older baby (the ones in the stores are not big enough!) One time, my now 4.5 year old got himself into a tizzy. He was really upset. I didn't know how to calm him down so I took a throw from the couch and swaddled him with it and it calmed him down. anon
I also have a 3-month old who has flailing arms and legs at night/early morning. Over the past few days, I have found that just putting my daughter down when she is like that usually solves the issue. When I try and hold her arms down, her head starts flailing side to side, and she's still uncomfortable. So, I tried just putting her in her bassinet, and she flails for a few minutes and then goes to sleep. Not sure what the answer is, but I found that I was trying too hard to stop it, when I really didn't have too--perhaps over-mothering her a bit. anon
Don't worry about it; your baby will outgrow the swaddle eventually. We swaddled our son until he was almost 6 months old. He seemed to need it to stay asleep. We might have gone longer, but I caught one of my cousins whispering, ''They still SWADDLE him!'' when she thought I wasn't listening. Honestly, we just didn't think of stopping. The hard part was getting blankets that were big enough to swaddle him with! He sleeps fine now and is 3 years old. Some babies just need a little extra snuggle to stay asleep. Each baby is different
We use the Swaddler by Kidopotomus, which allows you to velcro the swaddle so its harder for the baby to wriggle out of it. It comes in different sizes too. My six month old still can't nap well without being swaddled and the Swaddler stays far more in tact than doing it myself with a blanket. Good luck! Stacy D

Swaddling a 7-month-old Houdini

April 2008

I have a seven-month-old, 14 lbs, 26 inch long baby who is big and strong enough to wriggle out of most swaddles. She still benefits greatly from swaddling, so I don't think her escape artist skills are a sign that she is ready to sleep free. (I tried a nap with no swaddle earlier today and it was a disaster.)

Anyone out there have advice about swaddling products that work for older babies? My Mini-Me rolls around and gets loose from blankets-only swaddling. I have been using Kiddopotamus but my little one is between sizes. I started putting her in a sleepsack and using the SwaddleMe over that, and it seems she can wriggle her arms free but it takes some work. I've heard Miracle Blankets are great but that babies tend to outgrow them in length around 23-24 inches. I have been thinking about making something that is a combination of a Teddy Toes and a Miracle Blanket but if there's a product already out there I'd love to know about it.

I'd also love feedback about how to know when to stop swaddling: my untutored assumption is that the time will come when Mini-Me will sleep just as well swaddled as unswaddled, and that's the time to stop. Is this naive? What's the transition like? --Houdini's Mother

This might be a little complicated to explain by email (so feel free to email me your number and I can call you). I swaddled my baby for a while much past her houdini stage. I never used fancy blankets. What I did was: Triangle a blanket and put the long point down, place baby with head just above straight edge. Take one pointed corner and place over baby's arm, but then lift your baby and put the rest of the pointed side under baby's back. Do the same thing with the other side. At this point it will look like your baby has arm wraps and the majority of the blanket is underneath him/her. Then take a second blanket and put it over baby's belly, and wrap it under/around your baby. you can make the arms as loose or tight as you want. Good Luck! Karen
We continued to use the miracle blanket after our daughters outgrew them in length by just leaving their feet out of it. Keeping the arms swaddled was the important part. We swaddled until about 8 months. After that, we put the babies down on their tummies to start, as that seemed to keep the flailing at bay. ex swaddler
I swaddled my little one until he was 10 months old, and it worked wonderfully. He let me know in the 11th month that he was really done with it -- when he'd escape, he'd stay asleep.

I used the miracle blanket from the time of his birth. The length issue was resolved by leaving his legs out and only using the arm portion of the blanket. I found that as he grew older (7+ months), he only needed the arm part and not the leg part to keep him asleep. You might find, too, that arms alone are enough at this age... extended swaddling amma

my daughter has always been really big, and we were able to swaddle her until she was 10 months old. i used the miracle blanket but didn't put her feet into the little pouch on the bottom. instead, after wrapping her arms & torso in the miracle blanket, i used a receiving blanket to then wrap her legs. it worked great, and she slept like a charm! fan of swaddling
You can still try the miracle blanket. There is a separate pouch for the feet that you don't have to use. Our son grew too big to use the foot pouch so we just swaddled up his arms/chest with the miracle blanket and he slept great. If you think your son can sleep with his legs free but his arms swaddled, try the miracle blanket. Andi
Dear Houdini's Mother--

Your post made me chuckle.

I can't advise you on larger sized products, or how to make them, but I can advise on a transitioning process that worked for our son (now 6 months and nearly 18 lbs). We used to tightly swaddle (Kiddopotomus) and shush and bounce him to sleep eveyr night and eveyr nap. About 6 weeks ago, due to his weight, my husband and I were near wrecks (back pain) from this whole routine. Soooo we started with sleep training.

The training began w/ getting him out of the swaddle. We started w/ naps. We left one arm out for a few days till he was accustomed to that (and was not waking himself up with arm flailings as we'd feared). Then we moved to both arms out at naps. After that success, we moved to implementing both arms out at bedtime.

I can say, with much relief and glee, that it was far easier then we ever thought it could be. Hopefully it will be for you as well.

Good luck!! Mama to Happily Sleeping Non-Swaddled Babe

Regarding the transition to no swaddle, I think it'll take more than one attempt for your baby to get used to no swaddle. I'd take a test run of a couple of days' naps and/or nights (or partial nights) to see if she adjusts. Try putting her to bed without swaddling every night for a couple of nights. You can swaddle her for the second half of the night if necessary for you to get some sleep. One thing that helped when I was transitioning my six-month-old out of swaddling was if I held her arms down against her body while she was falling asleep (i.e., ''manually'' swaddling her). I did it without talking to her or letting her see my eyes, since that would be too stimulating; just a warm presence keeping her hands out of her face and keeping them from grabbing the pacifier from her mouth. Once she was asleep, I let go, and my baby could get used to sleeping without a swaddle. Chelsea
I used the Miracle Blanket until both of my sons was well over 10 months and it was a lifesaver. However, we never used the feet-pocket part of it because he hated it so it never mattered how long he got. It worked great and he could not get out of it, but you can't be shy about wrapping it snuggly. I tried other similar products and this one is far superior. I would definitely keep swaddling her until she rolls over to sleep on her tummy. My son was so flaily that was the only way he (and we!) could get some sleep. Good luck! Been There
We swaddled my older kid until he was around 7 months - long after all our friends had stopped. Our new baby (4 months) is much bigger and harder to keep in his swaddle, so here's what we do: Miracle Blanket first, mainly for his arms. He's getting too long for the MB and it doesn't control the legs well anyway, so we do a big (36'') square swaddle blanket as the second layer, mainly for the legs, though it also helps prevent arm breakouts. We strip him down to sleep because there are lots of layers here to keep him warm. He still breastfeeds in the middle of the night, and I've learned to reswaddle him or at least tighten it up each time, otherwise he breaks out. When he breaks out he ALWAYS wakes up.

I remember being stressed about stopping the swaddle for kid #1 (would he ever sleep again?) and by 7 months it turned out to be not a big deal. Try leaving one arm out at night (when he's probably sleeping more deeply than a nap), see how it goes. Swaddle Mama

We love our miracle blanket. When our first child got older, we used two to keep her feeling swaddled but without restricting her hip growth. Rich

Is a 6- month-old too old to swaddle?

April 2008

My daughter is almost 6 months old and still wakes up quite a lot during the night. In my frustration, in the middle of the night I started swaddling her really well and putting a pacifier in her mouth. It seems to have helped - last night she slept straight from 2:30am-6:30am. I am wondering, however, if she's too old to be swaddled. Is this preventing her from learning how to fall asleep? Will this cause any bad habits? (I'm not thrilled about using a pacifier either, but that's for a separate discussion). Advice is welcome! Thanks. Lisa

My 6.5 month old gets swaddled for every nap as well at nighttime - otherwise she flails her arms around and gets herself tremendously worked up. She works herself loose by morning about half the time. My husband and I are watching for signs that she is ready to stop with swaddling, but I do intend to start putting her to sleep on her tummy when the time comes. It seem to help her, though - she chills immediately when we start wrapping her up, and it's a sign that it'll be time to be fed and sleep soon. Our pediatrician says it's no big deal to swaddle her as long as it is helping her sleep well. She noted that it's not terribly unusual in her practice to see babies swaddled until nine months. (Our little one uses a pacifier too - we are trying to wean her off of that by putting her down for naps without it, which has meant about 15 minutes of yelling before she falls asleep... but we've been at it less than a week!) Swaddling Fan
Do what you must in order to get your baby to sleep! anon
I definitely don't think 6 months is too old. I looked at the BPN archives about 3 months ago, when my daughter was almost 7 months, and because it seemed like most people stopped by then, we thought we should too and quit cold turkey. Well, her night sleeping was fine, but she went from napping 2 hours twice a day to about 1/2 hour twice a day and I was ready to shoot myself (if you read the Advice Wanted posts, you may remember me!). I didn't put 2+2 together at first, but after about 3 I deciced to try swaddling again for naps and we went right back to great napping. Yay!!! Now, at almost 10 months, we're still swaddling for naps and it's still working great. Some people mentioned hitting milestones, and she is rolling over, crawling, etc., so no delays there. If that's the case with your baby, I'd keep swaddling until it doesn't work anymore. Why not?? swaddling mama
We swaddled our daughter until she was almost 8 months! (using the Miracle Blanket) She was a terrible sleeper from birth, and swaddling really helped her extend sleep. I know many sources recommend ending swaddling around 5 months, but after checking with our pediatrician, we decided why mess with a sleeping baby. I think around 7 months she sometimes seemed to want to sleep with her hands out, but didn't sleep as well. By 8 months she was consistently breaking loose from her swaddle at night and flipping over onto her stomach to sleep - scary at first because of all that 'back to sleep' training. But we realized that it meant that she was strong enough to roll herself over and sleep in what ever position she liked and that the swaddle was just interfering at that point. We switched over to sleep sacks (it seemed like a better transition than just pjs, and had the side benefit of ensuring that we never worried about her climbing out of the crib in the middle of the night) until she was ready to transition into a toddler bed (at to you when she will be ready to move on from swaddling! Linda
We swaddled until 8 months because it worked so well for sleep. Then the swaddling blanket (Miracle Blanket) became way too small. There are no issues with swaddling babies of this age. I have heard about some thoughts that it's bad for their hip socket development, but the Miracle Blanket doesnt' go down to hips, so that is not an issue. Mom on Hayward Fault
I am a huge fan of swaddling. My first kid responded really well to swaddling. I think I swaddled her until she was around 8 months old. I now have 7 month old twins. I am still swaddling them - although I don't swaddle their arms. I wrap them up from the armpits down and it seems to be not only an indication for them that it is time to sleep, but they also seem to really like it. I also do (reluctantly) use pacifiers with all three. It has been a huge boost to sleep. You may have to re-pacify in the middle of sleep for a while, until they can get the dexterity to do it themselves. There are many kids who up until the age of two have a great need for non-nutritive sucking (so I've read & experienced with all three of mine.) Bottom line, follow your instincts. Do what feels right for your kid and your family. swaddle for sleep
We swaddled both of our now 2 and 4 yr. old sons until they were at least 9 mos. The first was so flail-y he could hardly sleep, and consequently neither did we! Thank God for the swaddling blanket! And as soon as they could turn over on their tummies we stopped swaddling and they slept quite peacefully. I say keep it up as long as it works. Good luck! Been There

3-week-old fights swaddling

Dec 2006

Hello everyone! I have a newborn of 3 weeks old and need an advice. I read a lot about good sides of swaddling. However I cannot find anything about babies that hate to be swaddled, that would be my baby. Every time she is swaddled she tries desperately to get her arms out making her very best to achieve it. I have to rock her in my arms for 45-60 minutes, while she is in the light sleep and fighting with swaddling, until she just looses her strength, gets tired and falls in the deep sleep. As soon as deep sleep time is over, hour or so - she gets in the light sleep zone and therefore starts getting out of swaddling again, until these attempts wake her up completely... Because of all of this she doesn't sleep deep a lot, and needless to say me and my wife don't have much time to sleep either. Did any of you have the same problem? Any advice? Thanks to all! Izzy

So don't swaddle her. The only advantage I've ever heard about swaddling is that babies like it because it reminds them of the womb. But babies are idiosyncratic and all different. If your baby doesn't like being swaddled, there's no reason to force her to be swaddled. Put her in a sleep sack to keep her warm instead.
Hi -- oh, ou sound tired and frustrated about this swaddling issue! I am the mom of 3 and a pediatric physical therapist who works with many infants. The original intent of swaddling is to mimic the closeness of the womb in an effort to CALM your baby and allow them to sleep. When babies are born, they are born in what is called ''physiological flexion'', or, somewhat curled up -- they prefer their legs and arms to be flexed and close to their bodies, and their muscles are actually tighter into this position. For this reason, when they are very small, they often startle when their arms or legs fall away from the body, as in relaxing before sleep. Swaddling prevents this. As a baby learns to move on her own, they frequently DISLIKE swaddling as it restricts their movement, and they no longer want that. I say do what works for you and your baby -- don't force her to be swaddled if she clearly hates it -- some babies do. 2 of my 3 didn't care for it, and we got lots more sleep when we respected that. You probably already know what calms your baby. Good luck to you, and congratulations! Trish
Swaddling is recommended because it's supposed to comfort the baby. If your baby is not comforted by swaddling, there is no reason to do it. anon
Keep swaddling him
-Enjoy his sleeptime & don't worry.
Our now 9 month old also hated being swaddled and, like many babies, seemed to tolerate it only when incredibly deeply asleep. We kept trying because we had heard it was such a great thing for soothing babies but she hated it! And I hated that horrible sound she made when she was trying to get out of the swaddle - it was painful to listen to. We finally gave up and realized that we were trying to get her to do something that just wasn't for her just because we were gung ho on the idea (had read karp and had been taught how to swaddle by our doula and the nurses in the hospital)
mother of the unahappiest baby on the block (when swaddled!)
Swaddling saved us w/both of our sons. It made a HUGE difference in their sleeping. Especially the first one who was herky-jerky all the time. We swaddled both until they started really fighting the swaddling AND started sleeping on their tummies. It was definitely after at least 8 months. The key is to really tightly swaddle them, otherwise they bust out and it's useless. It should be like a straight-jacket. Just remember how tightly the nurse swaddled them right after delivery. I really believe babies, in spite of their initial conplaints, love the security. W/our second we used one of those special swaddling blankets, I think it's called the Swaddle Me. It's all cotton fabric and no snaps or velcro. You can find them at the Nurture Center in Lafayette, among other places. I can't recommend swaddling highly enough! Been There!
Don't swaddle then:-)
My son is now 11 months and from the time he was 3 days old, he hated being swaddled, so why do it if your baby hates it so much that she has to fight you for 45 minutes before falling asleep? To keep my son warm, I would ''swaddle'' him without wrapping his arms- he stayed warm, and didn't fight it. What is your main reason for forcing this on your daughter- because books & doctors recommend it? Your daughter is unique and she'll let you know what she needs. If, however you find that she begins waking up due to jerking her limbs about, you can use the swaddleme blankets with velcro to keep her snug, but again, I would avoid the arms. Good luck and keep trying new things until you find the solution that is best for both of you
My daughter hated being swaddled, so I stopped doing it. Some babies love the comfort, others don't. I have no other magic advice, but you might just want to stop doing it. Listen to what your daughter is trying to tell you
there's no need to swaddle a baby if he/she doesn't like it. trust me...it'll be a blessing if you just get rid of the swaddle now, especially if your baby is fighting it. you'll avoid having to wean him/her later. follow your baby's lead and unswaddle
My son ''needed'' to be swaddled until he was 13 months old, or he wouldn't sleep. My daughter on the other hand hated being swaddled. Trying to swaddle her was a losing battle and I gave up (the fight wasn't worth it). I did use a sleep sack to keep her warm (I had a couple of sacks with built in hand covers). I think this really helped to keep her asleep
No swaddle daughter
If your baby doesn't like it, then by all means don't swaddle. We quit swaddling our daughter when she was less than a week old because she didn't like it and always broke free. Babies are individuals with their own likes and dislikes and not all of them like to be swaddled.
If he doesn't like it, don't do it! Why force something on him that doesn't work and tires everyone out?? There is no set swaddling rule. Each baby is different, and in any case you'll find as he gets older one thing might work one week and not the next. I have twins and one twin likes her arms out of the swaddle, the other likes it in. You have to try different things out to see what they like the most. anon
Swaddling can be great, but there are other tricks to helping them sleep while they are swaddled. Have you seen the happiest baby on the block video? Not saying to sit through the whole thing, but he give helpful hints, like what angle to hold your baby at once they've been swaddled, and loud constant noise like a vacuum or hair dryer, etc. Its totally natural for babies to try to get out, so don't let that part worry you. Good luck anon
Swaddle tighter! This was a really hard thing to do, but in the end it did the trick. For a while my husband was the only one who could do it well enough that the little guy didn't feel like he could squirm out. Once we learned to do it right, we could get 3-4 hours of sleep out of him at a time! What a blessing. Two things that were invaluable to us: Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (for visual examples of swaddling) The Miracle Blanket (www.miracleblanket.com)--this was the only blanket that actually worked for us. We could never get it right with regular blankets or even with the fancy ones with Velcro. This one was perfect!
Happy Swaddling!
Have you read Happiest Baby on the Block? I'm a firm believer in the swaddle. First, they ALL try and break out of it, and most do eventually, but I think you should stick with it. WE made sure it was really tight (I don't recomend those velcro swaddling blankets...a nice large, light swaddling cloth is what works best. My mom made me some because there doesn't seem to be any on the market that are large enough. Sometimes we even use two blankets...one swaddlign left/one right. They might fuss at first, but it really does help them sleep in the long run because it prevents them from startling. That said, some people end up not swaddling, but that ain't us. We swaddle well past the three month mark. My 6 month old still gets swaddled for her night time sleep.
Our baby started busting out of his swaddling at one week old. So we stopped swaddling him, he went to sleep when we put him down, then we went to sleep, and everyone was happy. I don't see the point in doing it if she doesn't like it. If you're worried about her being cold, get a space heater and a sleep sack - that did the trick for us

Weaning 8 month old off swaddling

Dec 2006

I need some advice on how to get my 8 month old to sleep without being swaddled. We swaddled him as a newborn to calm his startle reflex and to encourage him to sleep longer but now we swaddle him because he won't go to sleep any other way. We have tried keeping one arm out of the swaddle in an attempt to gradually wean him but it has not been successful so we just revert back to what works in order to get him to sleep. It seems that when he has access to his hands, it is playtime, not sleep time. Our son actually seems fine with being swaddled; this is more of an issue of us thinking that by now, he should be able to sleep without being wrapped up like a burrito. We'd like to keep this process as painless as possible. We feel pretty isolated with this issue because no one we know swaddled their babies past 3 months old. Thank you so much for any advice you can give! Swaddler Mom

We swaddled our daughter until she was 6.5 months. She slept fine swaddled, but I wanted her to be able to sleep without all conditions having to be 'perfect,' and she seemed too old and big to be swaddled. Prior to reaching 6.5 months, we tried leaving one arm or the other out of the swaddle, doing a looser swaddle, swaddling her and then unwrapping her after she fell asleep (very difficult), and other ways of weaning. The main problem was that we were rocking her to sleep in our arms, and I couldn't see how she would fall asleep if her arms were just free to flail about, and her body would be less stable if unswaddled. Anyway, since our attempts at weaning didn't work, I think I just bit the bullet and stopped swaddling her one day. It may have taken a little longer for her to fall asleep at first, and she may have woken more frequently at night, but it had to be done, and we all got used to it pretty quickly. If your efforts at a gradual transition haven't been working out, I say go cold turkey and your results will probably come more quickly. Good luck! anon
We swaddled both of our boys well past 8 months. It was the only way we could get them to sleep for more than a few minutes. We finally stopped when they fought it AND started sleeping on their tummies. I wouldn't be in any hurry if I were you and be very thankful that you've found something that works. If you're feeling outside pressure about how they ''should'' be sleeping, ignore it! (My mother is a master at that!) Don't mess w/what works! I guarantee you won't have a 5 year old who will insist on being swaddled My boys loved it!
we left our daughter in a swaddle for some time too. i think she was about 7 months old. we went cold turkey with the swaddle when we were sleep training her. we didn't want her to cry-it-out, but nothing else seemed to work. i know going cold turkey sounds absolutely crazy, but it's what worked for us. she has been sleeping in a grobag (a sleep sack without harmful flame-retardant chemicals available online from europe) since we took the swaddle away. best of luck! lydia
As the sleep-deprived mom of a 13-month-old, I would say that if something helps your child to sleep, enjoy it while it lasts! As long as there are no safety issues connected with the swaddling (e.g. if your son were kicking the blanket loose and getting tangled in it), I don't see a problem. It doesn't matter if most babies stop being swaddled by 3 months; if it makes your son feel cosy and sleepy, that's great. He'll give it up when he's ready -- I'm sure he won't still be needing you to swaddle him when he's going off to college. (As a side note, you might just want to check with your pediatrician to make sure there aren't any developmental issues associated with swaddling your son at this age. For instance, if you're swaddling him with his arms at his side, rather than with elbows bent, it could cause muscle stiffness. But if your son isn't showing any developmental delays it's probably fine.) Enjoy the zzzs
I am not sure this is helpful but we had precisely the same issue. When I tried one arm out with no success I really didn't know what to do. I panicked and read BPN like crazy but didn't really find any answers. So I just got serious about pulling one arm out and sticking with it. He had some pretty bad nights but I think after 3 nights (and 3 days of bad napping), he got used to one arm out. (I might have left both arms in for a couple naps because I felt so badly). Once he got used to one arm out, it only took a day or so to get used to both arms out. And so it goes. He's 2 now and sleeping just fine. You'll get there . . . post-swaddling
My 7-month old is still being swaddled too. He is big (22lbs) and strong, and will wake himself without a tight swaddle. I also swaddle him during BFing, otherwise he will pull my hair, scratch my face, stick his fingers in my nose, etc. He is also crawling, pulling himself up and cruising, so I am not worried about his development. Maybe this is your concern? Our ped. says there is no downside to continuing to swaddle, as long as everything else is normal with your baby. My older son was swaddled until 9 months, when he started to walk, and then he gave it up. They are both very active, physical boys who hit their developmental milestones on the early side - maybe this applies to your child as well. I wouldn't be concerned if I were you. I figure if it helps him sleep, then that is a good thing. burrito lover
We were you 9 months ago. Our son loved/needed to be swaddled to sleep until he was 9 months old. I tried to really wean him from it starting at 6 months, but it always ended in disaster. I ended up cursing that Amazing Miracle Blanket. At almost 9 months, our son wasn't rolling over or sitting up and I really blamed myself and the swaddling for this since he coudln't move and roll around when he woke up. Worried, I talked to our ped. who was very surprised our baby still allowed himself to be swaddled. He said, ''You have to stop this now. Today.'' I told him it won't work, that we had tried everything--one hand out, cold turkey, having him nap with us to make it an easier transisition. Well, that day I went home (in tears from worry about the no rolling, sitting up and I forgot to add no crawling stuff) with new resolve. I put my son, unwrapped, next to me in our bed to nap and he slept!! That night he was in his crib unwrapped and slept and we never went back. Try having him sleep with you one or two times to tranistion. I joke that my baby heard the doctor's orders and knew I meant business. Good luck. I know this is hard! heidi [at] vespa.gs
First off, is your son turning over by now? It seems the swaddling became less of an issue once he could turn himself over and sleep on his stomach (you still shouldn't put them on their tummy until after age 1). That said, we swaddled our son until about six months. He eventually stopped needing it, as I said, when he would turn over on his stomach to sleep. Our daughter has just turned six months and she still needs a swaddle to get a full nights sleep tho she does wiggle out of it during the night and we plan to do it until whenever. I don't think swaddling will cause any harm. You could swaddle and then put a blanket over them and eventually just have the blanket. Keep in mind that they will continue to go through phases where they will sleep soundly through the night and then start waking up so it might just be that. Incidentally, when my daughter was born, we had some problems with our toddlelr and one night as he was just out of control, I grabbed a big lap blanket and swaddled him. Weirdly enough, he calmed down and had a big smile on his face. I didn't leave him like that, but it was funny that even at 28 months, it could calm him down mom to happiest babies on the block
Why wean him off swaddling at all? Is it really such a big deal? I'm sure he'll grow out of it eventually. Honestly, if my 8-month-old wanted to sleep hanging from the curtain rod like a bat, I'd let him if it kept him sleeping through the night. What's the big deal about swaddling this week?

Newborn hates being swaddled

Sept 2006

I am a first time mom of a 5 week old baby boy who gets very mad when he realizes he has been swaddled. If we swaddle him once he's asleep, and he doesn't wake up at all, he's fine. However, if he wakes up even a little bit, he realizes he has been swaddled, and he starts to grunt, wiggle, and, eventually, scream and cry (I tried waiting him out a few times to see what would happen, but he just cries and gets very worked up). Any suggestions? How do I keep him warm enough if he's not swaddled? Will he wake himself up if he's un-swaddled? He also gets bad gas if anyone has ideas about that. Thanks! :) jen

My advice would be if your baby hates to be swaddled, don't swaddle him. It's not REQUIRED, it's just something that helps many babies sleep. He can sleep in a warm sleeper/pajamas or sleep gown/blanket bag.
If he doesn't want to be swaddled, don't swaddle him. My daughter didn't like it either. Get some of those sleep sacks in fleece, with a onesie underneath. That will keep the child plenty warm.
Alameda mom
You probably get tons of advise. Neither of my 2 kids ever liked to be swaddled, they did everything in their power to struggle themselves free (still do, haha), so we gave up on it a few weeks after birth. The solution: warm sleepers. Until my oldest was old enough to cover herself with a blanket, she wore a warm fleece one-piece sleeper over her cotton pjs (we call them 'warm payamas'). In the beginning we used the ones without legs (just a sack), but around 4-5 months we converted to the regular suits. Popular in Europe: sleeping bags - big sacks of heavy fabric that the kids wear over their pjs. They fit in there until they are 2 or so. Oh and the gas - it will pass... Wiggle his legs as if he's riding a bike.
My son (now 8 mo) was the same way. It's summertime, put your baby in a one piece sleepwear with feet and I'm sure she'll be okay for warmth. Some babies just don't like to be swaddled, their personality shows through early that it's too constricting. Relax, while it helps a lot of babies, it's not right for everyone.
New mom too
My son hated being swaddled too. That's okay. There's no reason every baby needs to be swaddled. Like lots of things, some love it, some don't. When I finally realized that my son slept literally hours longer when he was NOT swaddled, I took that as a big clue that we'd both be happier if I listened to him more than to the ''experts'' (they are not the experts for your one and only baby!). I also worried that my son would get too cold at night. There are several things you can try. Some babies really like the sleep sacks, which are sort of like sleeping bags with arm holes. My son over heated in them, and kept waking up. I finally switched to fleece sleepers. It's hard to find cotton ones, though you can find them on line if you try. But the polar fleece ones worked really well for us. My son slept soundly in them until he got a big bed and had blankets that could be tucked in. I should also note that my son tends to be a very hot sleeper--he really warms up, and we have to watch out lest he gets too hot.
Our baby also didn't like being swaddled. He wanted to be able to have one hand free, even though he wasn't a thumb sucker. We found that if we kept one arm up when we swaddled him, so that it would be out and free once the rest of him was swaddled, he was much, much happier. My husband and I also took a parenting class before our son was born, and in the class, they advised that swaddling is more for a baby's comfort than for warmth. Some babies don't like it at all, and many don't like it beyond their first 4 weeks. To keep them warm at night (and also safe / no loose blankets), they suggested one of the following:
1. Place them in their crib or bassinet so that their feet are almost touching the end, then put a blanket across them, no higher up than their armpits, and tuck the blanket in tightly under the mattress on both sides. Keep their arms out / above the blanket. Their hands may get a bit cool (though this is true for thumbsucker too), but as long as the rest of them is warm, they'll be okay, and since their feet are positioned almost all the way to the end of the crib, they can't wiggle themselves further down and accidentally get under the blanket.
2. The other alternative is to get a Halo sleep sack (or one of the other brands like it). They come in longsleeve and shortsleeve, cotton or fleece (though fleece is probably too warm for our climate). Put them in it, zip it up, arms are free, and baby is warm -- just like a wearable blanket. They work great.
Hi. My first son loved being swaddled well past the usual time -- he was happy as a ''burrito baby'' until almost 4 months. My second son hated it after about 10 days on the planet, and I just gave up. Swaddling is great if it actually soothes the baby and helps him get to sleep...it's useless if the baby doesn't like it. My advice? Let him tell you that he doesn't like it and let it go. You can add a layer or two to his clothing to keep him warm. Plus, if he sleeps well, he's probably warm enough. A sleeping baby is a comfortable and happy baby. I remember worrying about warmth ALOT before realizing that if he's cold, he'll wake up and cry, and then I can decide what to do. As it turned out, unswaddled, he slept much better than swaddled, and he always felt warm to the touch. Good luck!
my boy hit a stage of being mad when swaddled at around this age as well. he would get the swaddle off, but then be awake from those ''things'' that kept flying by his face (his arms). we ended up putting him on his tummy since he always seemed to sleep fine for naps that way; we were afraid to do it at night because of sids. of course, he did well. he is now 15 months and thriving. he still loves to sleep on his tummy. the gas improves. i think it must happen with every baby. they writhe with discomfort when sleeping from what seems to be gas pain. this will pass. i think we tried every treatment for this with no resolution other than with time. best of luck! i know it is so hard and they can be so foreign in the beginning.
Hi I understand your agony, I have 3 1/2 month old and he would get so angry at the beggining I would not swaddle him, then I realized not having him swaddled made all of our lives hell. After his bedtime feeding we would swaddle him when he was in the drunken milk faze, my guess is that he is trying to wake up, and infants at that age are confused on that transition. They are so tired yet they want to get up but can't. I would keep swaddling him! then he will get used to it.. we used the hospital blanket (which is larger than 30X30 that is the key) and lightly swaddled him. Also if you are worried about him getting cold, I just started buying those long PJ's with booties. And of course the Miracle Blanket was a true miracle for us...Good luck!
My son would never tolerate swaddling either. Some babies just don't like it. (And I learned how to do it so well in baby class!) To keep him warm, in the beginning we just covered him with baby blankets. When he got big enough to kick them off, we put him in an organic cotton sleepsack from ecobaby (www.ecobaby.com) which worked great for many months. You can also get Halo brand lightweight cotton sleepsacks and fleece sleepsacks from many stores like Babies R Us. For us it was important to have cotton with no fire retardant because of SIDS, and the ecobaby one was the only cotton one we found which was warm enough.

On gas, Gripewater worked for us, but not for everyone. Plus doing a bicycle motion with the legs really helps.
no swaddling, plenty of gas

Stop swaddling him for now if he hates it -- it's supposed to be soothing. Try again in a few weeks if you want -- little babies change so often. Keep him warm with a sleep sack. anon

Do we need to wean 7 month old from swaddling?

August 2006

We are still swaddling our 7 month old every night and I am wondering if we need to wean him from the swaddle? Our complication is that he scratches his eyes and head often and with enough force to make himself bleed so we swaddle him to make sure he doesn't hurt himself at night. That begin said, he also doesn't know how to fall asleep without the swaddle. We were thinking of unswaddling him and putting mittens on his hands at night--is that the right thing to do? Thanks

i may be laissez-faire, but i would stop swaddling (gradually if he doesn't like to be unswaddled) and not wear mittens. my son is 10 months old and has enjoyed being unfettered in his sleeping environment for a long time. he occasionally scratches himself--generating a scab--and i think that is just part of being a baby. i try to keep his nails short and not jagged. i have read that it's important developmentally for babies to have their hands ''naked.''
I don't think you need to stop swaddling yet for naps and night time sleep; your kid will let you know when he doesn't like it anymore. We swaddled up until 7 or 8 months, even though it was a pain because he worked himself free most nights (I had to re-swaddle him at the 3:00 am feeding). We tried stopping a few times before then but our son kept startling himself awake. Then one night we tried it again and he was fine. Not sure about the facial cuts -- we get those too, mostly when he's overtired, despite twice-weekly nail clippings and filings Nicole R.

Infant won't sleep without patting & swaddling

April 2006

my 8.5 weeks old son cannot be put donw to sleep in his own crib. we have to swaddle him and pat him to sleep and then put him back to his crib to sleep. if without patting or swaddling, he wakes up as soon as his back touches the crib mattress. the problem is, he's getting big and he's about to outgrown all the blankets that we use to swaddle him. any idea when he could be put to his crib to sleep without being swaddled? any advice is appreciated. ben's mom

You can stop as soon as he doesn't like it, or when it doesn't help him sleep. My son is 8 months old, not 8 weeks old, and he still sleeps better swaddled! Our doctor said if it helps him there's no reason to stop. They sell special swaddling products that work for big babies; we love the Miracle Blanket which we bought at the Nurture Center in Lafayette. Nicole
Your baby is so little, and swaddling is so comforting to many little babies...why deprive him of it? Check out The Happiest Baby on the Block CD/book for more on this. I got tired of swaddling too, but our 7-month-old really seemed to need it to feel soothed and get sleep until almost 6 months! I used the so-called miracle blanket (order online or get it used off e-bay), and found it helpful in terms of doing the swaddle easily, and he couldn't get out of it easily so I didn't have to redo it a million times. Happy swaddling! roxymom
Good for you for patting and swaddling! It's so hard when they're that little!

At about 2 months, I started letting my daughter just lay next to me on the bed so she'd get used to falling asleep without stimulation, but so she was still close and comforted. At first, she'd sleep touching me, then when she was asleep I'd sneak at least a few inches away (usually I'm working on a laptop, so where I am isn't a big problem).

Eventually, I think it was four months, I'd put her down and let her squirm until she fell asleep. Sometimes she'd protest by arching her back and grunt-squawking at me, but then she'd konk out. Now, at 7 months, she will play in the bed until she falls asleep. She occasionally protests, but less and less. anon

Hi, Our daughter wouldn't sleep in her crib either. I think at that young age they need something close to snuggle with. We got a Moses basket, put her in a sleepsack(no blankets), and then put the Moses basket in the crib so she would get used to the area. When she finally outgrew the basket, we tried the crib but the mattress seemed so hard. We got a quilted mattress pad and she has had no problems sleeping in her crib. I definitely recommend the sleepsacks. I was able to relax and get some sleep knowing that there wouldn't be blankets that might possibley cover her face. Good luck Mom of healthy sleeper
Same thing for us, we had to swaddle our son until he was about 5.5 months (when he outgrew normal blankets we used large Alta Bates blankets, Swaddle Me and, the best one, ''Miracle Blanket''). At 5.5 months I just decided it had been too long and also he was strong enough at the point to fight his way out of even the Miracle Blanket. We slowly reversed the process by removing one arm at a time. Even with only one arm out it was a nightmare (he woke himself up and screamed) but after a couple days of naps and nights like this he caught on, we removed the other arm, started the learning process over, and so on. He's totally normal now (15 months) and we just lay him down in the crib. Amazing. I never would have believed we would get her but we did. And you will too. :) anon
We swaddled our son until he was about 3 and a half months for all naps and bedtime. Around 11 weeks, he was too tall for our swaddling blankets and we purchased the ''Amazing Miracle Swaddling Blanket'' and it was great until he got too big for it.

According to Harvey Karp in the Happiest Baby on the Block, swaddling doesn't need to end for months and months (he might even say 5 or 6 months, but we stopped when baby Holden could roll over on his own).

When we did kick the swaddle habbit, we had good luck moving to the Halo Sleep Sack. Heather

I know it's sacrilege, but both of my kids slept on their tummies after about 4 weeks and slept much better as a result. It stops them from flailing around and waking themselves up. anne
Your baby is only 8.5. weeks old, this is not unusual behavior. Have you read Harvey Karp's book? He calls the first 3 months of life the ''fourth trimester''. In other words you may have to keep patting & swaddling for another few weeks to a month. At 3 months it was taking us forever (like an hour) to soothe our babies to sleep so we stopped doing the long periods of rocking, patting, etc. The first night there was a lot of complaining and then our babies slept 9 hours straight. Since then we have used a simple nighttime routine and a few minutes of rocking. It doesn't matter so much what the elements of the routine are, just that they signal bedtime. I try to appeal to all their senses - bedtime music box, bedtime baby oil, hushed voices, etc. They go to bed easily now. Hang in there, this time will pass
My kid is 7.5 months old and we have just weaned her of swaddling. She loved to sleep swaddled - I think it made her feel cozy and secure (but who really knows). She could always get her arms out if she wanted to. She is and always has been a big baby - I just swaddled her as best I could. I have a great blanket - I believe it is called a ''swaddleme'' blanket. Really big and light. If you don't want to actually swaddle him, how about keeping a blanket around him so that when you put him down he is still warm and undisturbed in the blanket you rocked him in. putting babies to sleep is a crapshoot - somethings work for some people and not for others - just be patient and pay attention to what your child needs - trial and error seem to work the best in my experience. Good luck. anon

5-month-old is breaking out of swaddling, can't go back to sleep

April 2006

We have been swaddling our daughter since we brought her home from the hospital, and it has been a life saver... until now. Our child can not sleep unless swaddled, which would be fine, except for the fact that she is a master at breaking out of the swaddle in the middle of the night and then can not fall back asleep unless we reswaddle her. We have tried all the fancy swaddle blankets (Swaddle Me, Miracle Blanket, etc) and she can get out of all of them. Does anyone have any suggestions on what we can do? Is there a good way to break her out of the swaddle habit? Melissa

This is what we did, and it worked great... First, we took a receiving blanket and folded it diagonally so that it was in the shape of a long triangle (does this make sense?). We'd lay her in the middle with the top of the fold around her shoulder area and the ''wings'' of the blanket on each side. Instead of wrapping the wing over her arm and tucking it in on the other side of her body, we'd just wrap it around her arm, lift up her body and tuck the rest under her. Same on the other side. So if you were looking down, all you would see of the blanket really was were it was wrapped around her arms. Her body weight would keep the rest underneath her pretty snug (or as snug as you wanted it). Then I'd take a second blanket, and wrap it around her like a burrito (or taquito as we called it since it was open at both ends). It worked like a charm. The tighter we made the inner blanket, the less she'd be able to move. I gave up the swaddle recently so she could grab her own pacifier and I just helped her to fall asleep and it worked okay. Swaddle or no swaddle, she's up a couple times a night. Anyway, the transition wasn't as hard as I thought. Good luck. Karen
We only survived those first months w/ the Miracle Blanket as well. When our daughter was able to bust out of it, we started doing modified swaddles. First try both arms in the blanket and her legs (one or both) out. Or you could put her all in it except one arm. Try some variation for a few nights or a week, and then let another limb go ''free.'' Her sleep will be a little restless the first night or two of increasing freedom, but she will eventually get used to sleeping without the swaddle if you do it incrementally. It takes maybe a month or so, depending on how she reacts, and if you can do both legs at once or have to ease into it more slowly. Our daughter had a strong startle reflex and she woke herself up alot. Easing out of the swaddle slowly (after a few failed attempts to give it up cold turkey) was what worked for us. Good luck anon
If you'd like to keep swaddling, ''Happiest Baby on the Block'' recommends masking tape for keeping it together. The book also describes a way to end swaddling gradually rather than cold turkey, by first letting out one arm from the swaddle for a while. Best wishes to you! anon
Hi- Have you thought of attaching velcro to the blanket so that baby stays swaddled? I've heard of this problem before, I hope you get some good advice. Good Luck!
If you're committed to the swaddle, I've got two words for you: Ace Bandage. Not the kind with the metal prongs, of course, but the kind with the velcro. Swaddle as usual with the blanket and then wrap the Ace from just below the shoulders to just below the hands. Our parents and babysitters were uniformly horrified, but our pediatrician gave us the ok to do it, and our son loved it and slept like crazy as long as he was swaddled tightly. We could not have survived the first six months without this tip. Also, the best blanket we found, by far, was the Ultimate Organic Swaddling Blanket. They have them at Giggle in SF and at Waddle and Swaddle in Berkeley. anon
You probably have done this. We didn't have any fancy swaddle blankets...just had some custom made to be big enough. Why in the world are all the receiving blankets so small? I wouldn't worry about breaking her out of the swaddle habit. We swaddled our son good and tight (even using duct tape on more than one occasion) well over 5 months. He did seem to need it less after he could roll over on his tummy. She'll be able to deal with it all eventually. Until then, I'd say, keep that baby burrito thing going. happiest baby on the block evangelist
Hi Melissa: We had the same problem with our now 5-month-old. From day one, he absolutely would not fall asleep unless swaddled, but as he got older he would wrestle out of the swaddle (while in deep sleep), and startle himself awake with herky-jerky arm movements. He wasn't sleeping for more than an hour at a time due to these nighttime gymnastics, and I almost fainted every time I peeked into his crib and saw his blanket tossed over his face.

About a month ago, instead of making him quit cold turkey, we tried a 'semi-swaddle': swaddling him tightly with the blanket under his armpits, leaving his arms free, but still providing that snug feeling of pressure around his body (a plus: he couldn't wriggle out of it). He took to that fairly quickly, and after about 3 weeks of the semi-swaddle, we removed the swaddle from the equation altogether. Now, he just sleeps in a sleepsack over his jammies and is quite content.

This weaning approach worked like a charm for us; I hope it works for your restless sleeper, too. Good luck, and sweet dreams! Lisa

I've heard of parents who swaddled with a blanket and then wrapped duct tape around the blanket to hold the swaddle in place. It's worth a shot! Anon
We swaddled our son until he was close to 6 months. He too was a master of breaking the swaddle - and boy was he proud of that skill. He also has a very hard time sleeping without a swaddle. If he wasnt swaddled, as soon as we would lay him down in his co-sleeper or on our bed, he would wake up. Heres what we did: Start swaddling him with one arm out. Pay attention to which arm he usually breaks out with and then leave that arm out. Once he settles into that, start swaddling him just from the armpits down. You will know if he is ready by seeing how long he can last swaddled like that. We were surprised that our son would tolerate it but he did. Also, make sure you are using strong and big enough blankets. We stole the big recieving blankets from Alta Bates when our son was born (they are bigger than the normal small ones) and these were essential. You can also cut up a sheet and use that. Last thing - once he wasnt swaddled any more, when i would nurse him to sleep I would sit in the glider with the boppy and put a comfy, thick baby blanket between him and the boppy. Once he was asleep, I would slide my arms underneath the blanket and set him down with the blanket still underneath him. I found this helped him feel more settled because he got comfy and fell asleep on the same fabric that he got laid down with (just like the swaddle). I understand this is against SIDS reccomendations (no extra blankets in the crib) but our little guy was pretty strong and active by this point so it didnt concern us. Good luck! genevieve
Hi, You may have already tried this, but we have found that double swaddling our daughter works well. We swaddle her twice with thin blankets (just doing the exact same swaddle with the second blanket after we have swaddled her with the first), keeping her arms tightly at her sides. My husband came up with this after she was busting out of her swaddles in the middle of the night. Something about the two blankets' friction against one another seems to keep the swaddle extra tight and snug. Best of luck!

Swaddling & Pacifier with 5-month old Twins

March 2006

We've been swaddling our twins from day one. They are 5 months old now and we still swaddling the upper part of their body, leaving their legs free. During naps, I've tried leaving one arm out to encourage hand or finger sucking, but to no avail. Our son is off paci but our daughter is growing more and more addicted to it. How do I get her to use her hand??? We're having to put the paci back in her mouth during the night several times. My thought was to take the paci, but leave an arm out or stop swaddling her. THis seems like too many changes at once though. They've both started trying to turn onto their sides and tummies during sleep. Is this a sign to unswaddle? I am not sure b/c swaddling seems to really calm them and other than the paci issue, they sleep through the night!! isabella

Hi Twin Mama,

I have been conducting workshops for new mothers of twins for the past five years in the East Bay as well as providing in- home sleep consultations for new parents of twins (and singletons). The issues of swaddling and pacifiers frequently comes up.

You might find that your babies no longer really need to be swaddled as much, even though they seem to feel comfortable with it. I find for a lot of parents, when they try to take away the swaddling gradually, most babies transition pretty easily.

I would suggest you keep their lower part swaddled and allow them access to their hands. If you see them trying to bring hand or finger to mouth try and help them. They may need to feel the sensation of getting it there, and by your repeatedly guiding them, they will eventually be able to suck their hand/finger on their own, if that interests them.

If you want to continue to make the pacifier available to them you might consider scattering a few pacifiers around the crib near their upper body/head. This increases the odds that they might actually be able to retrieve one and not call out for you to do so in the middle of the night!

If you would like further support, or have any interest in my workshop program, please check out my website at: www.doubletalkfortwins.com.

Good luck! Karen

LARGE Receiving Blankets for swaddling 3 month old

Feb 2006

My baby loves to be swaddled and has outgrown all of his blankets except for one chenille one(hes 3 1/2 months old,about 14 pounds and long)that is now severely threadbare and falling apart from so much washing..The threads have now come loose and it has become a hazard..

I am having a really hard time finding a blanket(not the ones that are the already done for you swaddle)that's bigger than the standard receiving size..30x40. I'd like something non fleece (too hot)maybe a medium thick cotton or chenille BUT bigger than standard...It doesnt have to be anything too special as I have to wash them so much they arent really going to be much to hold onto after awhile..Although I'd take anything at this point I'd be happiest finding some that came in a pack and were reasonable..This is definitely a basic for my baby...Thanks!!! mimosagirl

Make them yourself or have a friend who sews make them, or even hire a seamstress to do this. I have little use for those cheap, thin things that you buy in a 3-pack at Babie-r-Us that only hold a very small baby! My Grandma, Mom, Aunts and I have always made our own, it is fairly easy. Michaels, JoAnn's, or Poppy Fabric sells nice 100% cotton flannel. Try to find the 60'' wide, but 56'' will do if need be. Buy 1 and 3/4 yards. Experiment, I like a 50x60 size, but you might want 60x60. Lay it out on the floor and you will get an idea of size. Make sure you prewash it and dry it first. To cut it out, use a big box, or large book to get the corners right and a big yardstick to make it as square as possible, draw the lines on the back of the fabric with a pen to get the measurements right. Then, cut along the lines. You need to draw it out because of the selvage, and the fabric will not be quite square if you were just to start sewing. I like to sew 2 pieces together to make a blanket to put on the floor for crawling babies, especially when visiting at someone else's home. In that case, I put the right sides together and stitch a 1/3'' seam all the way around except for leaving 5'' open, I then clip the corners, turn it right side out, press it and slip stitch the opening closed. Sometimes I get fancy and use really cute, colorful fabric prints and add rick rack to the seam or bind the edges with a soft blanket binding (the nicer kid stores sell these flannel blankets for $40-50!) But if you just need 1 layer, you can bind the edge by doing a 1/4'' rolled hem all the way around (if you don't sew, a seamstress will know what this means.)Or even easier and quicker, a very wide but short length zig-zag stitch (called satin stitch) all the way around. The super easiest would be if someone had an overlock machine (a seamstress definitely would) and could just serge the edges. That is what the edge is on most of the receiving blankets that you see sold in the 3-packs. I don't think that a seamstress would charge much to do this, as it is so quick and easy. Good luck, it is fun to choose your own flannel patterns, there are some really cute ones out there, especially at the Cotton Patch in downtown Lafayette. a mom who likes to sew
We used the Miracle Blanket (miracleblanket.com) until my daughter was 6 months old and loved it. It was the only blanket that prevented her from getting her arms free. But since you don't want already done swaddled blankets, have you been to a fabric store to see if you could get some fabric cut to the size you want? Thin fleece would probably be great if your house is on the cooler side. We were going to look into that next if the Miracle Blanket hadn't worked. Justine Woodward justine_woodward [at] hotmail.com
I wanted swaddeling blankets a little larger than the standard receiving blankets also. I sent my mom to the fabric store to buy soft flannel, and had her make 5 blankets by just sewing around the edges. Hopefully you know someone with a sewing machine. Linda
Bug n' Belle (www.bugnbelle.com, also have an eBay store) has really nice 42x42 inch receiving blankets. They are cotton flannel, but they are lightweight and didn't overheat my little guy. They were big enough to get a good tight swaddle and held up well through many washings. Former swaddler
We cut up an old jersey-knit (tee-shirt material) sheet, and got four receiving blankets that were about 4 feet square. Worked great! Jersey knit doesn't have to be hemmed (the edges will just roll in the wash -- very Flashdance), so all you need for the project is a pair of scissors. Of course, if you don't have an old knit sheet around, you can just get jersey knit at a fabric store. Swaddling mama
Boy do I sympathize with you on this! My son also liked to be swaddled when he was that age and I couldn't find big blankets anywhere. What I ended up doing was going to a fabric store and buying large squares of flannel. Most fabrics are about 45 inches wide, so I just had them cut off a piece that same length. I couldn't find the time to drag out my sewing machine for the first month or so to finish the edges and it wasnt' even an issue. The fabric unraveled slightly, but not enough to be a problem. I recommend going to Stone Mountain and Daughter on Shattuck in Berekely because they have a good selection of fun patterns, but you could probably find something suitable at any fabric store. Wendy
The Ultimate Swaddling Blanket is 42'' by 42''. http://shop.nurturecenter.com/ulswblbysw.html We only used ours a few times since we love the Miracle Blanket so much (awesome baby straightjacket even for a 6-month-old). N.
I would recommend buying fleece fabric at JoAnn's Fabric store. (Or Poppy or Stone Mtn Daughter if you'd like something more unique.) Fleece is great because it won't unravel so you don't need to sew along the edges. Just cut the shape/size you want and you're done. If you want to be fancy, you can cut the edges using pinking shears (sp?). fabric store mama

Weaning twins from swaddling at 5 months

April 2004

Does anyone have any tips on how to wean babies from swaddling?

We've been swaddling our twin boys consistently since they were newborns, but in the past 6 weeks we've been swaddling them and putting them on their sides propped up with towels. This was because they were getting flattened heads from being on their backs.

Now it seems they have developed a sleep association with swaddling and being on their sides (and pacifiers but that's another story.) The problem is that they get out of their swaddles (they are 17 and 19 pounds) and then they wake up crying several times a night, needing to be swaddled before they can sleep again. You can see the problem. (They don't know how to roll over yet.

We are not averse to letting them cry but feel that it's an unfair shock to just not swaddle them one night and let them struggle. So we're looking for a more tapering solution.

An added issue is that they both flap their arms alot and this startles them. Plus one boy scratches at his face if he's not swaddled.

What's the longest that folks have gone swaddling their babies? Thanks! rk

I would suggest that instead of ''weaning'' your twins from swaddling, you learn how to swaddle them tightly enough that they won't escape and wake themselves at night! Though I haven't seen it, I understand the ''Happiest Baby on the Block'' video can be a big help with a tighter swaddling technique.

They're ready not to be swaddled any more when they sleep well without it. Why mess with a good thing before that? I know of plenty of 12-month-olds who still prefer to be swaddled, and for that matter I know adults who wrap themselves up pretty tightly in their blankets. There isn't any developmental reason not to swaddle, as far as I know, so as long as the blankets are thin enough and tight enough not to pose a suffocation hazard there's no downside to continuing. anon

We swaddled our twins until they were 6 or 7 months old. We used blankets that were larger than the standard receiving blankets and we wrapped the corner all the way around their waist and then tucked it in tightly. That way it would stay together even when they rolled over or wiggled. Julie
We swaddled for sleep until 11 months, at which time we noticed that one day he did fine without. He still falls asleep with a pacifier at 19 months.
I really don't think it is neccesary to wean your babies from swaddling. The flat heads with fix themselves as your kids learn to roll on to their sides for play time, and eventually sleep. If they are flailing their arms, gently remove their arms from the blanket once they are sleeping, so they arent struggling in their sleep. SOme kids grow out of swaddling when they are very young, some need it until they are older. still swaddling my 7 month old
My baby stopped swaddling after a month or two. I've never heard of having to wean a baby of this, as they outgrow it themselves naturally, at least mine did. It's hard to believe yours put up with it so long. The flapping of arms is natural and part of their developement. My suggestion is to let them flap! It sounds like you have to start some sleep training. Scratching their face? Put on mittens or buy the shirts that have them built in, OR trim their nails. anon
This is another one of those things that we worried about for no reason...Our baby really liked swaddling and we thought she was getting too old for it but we did it in one form or another till she was 9 months old. When she stopped liking her arms in, she still slept tons better with a swaddle under her arms but around her body. She eventually just decided she was done with it and we stopped doing it....I think every child is different in what makes them feel comfortable! mother of a swaddle happy baby

3 month old twins & swaddling

Nov 2003

I'm trying to transition my 3 month old twins from swaddling and sleeping in our bed, to a sleep sack and co-sleeper (crib eventually). Our one night of sleep sack experience did not go well. They thrashed all night and woke up more often to breastfeed. My understanding of swaddling is that it's good for when they are very young, but as they get older it can be bad for their hips/legs (Dr. Sears). Plus, as they get older, they need to access their hands I'm told, in order to self-soothe. I've tried the modified swaddle so they could use their hands, but the houdinis manage to escape entirely and start to thrash. I don't want to be swaddling when they're a year old! Has anyone tried the huggabebe 4 in 1 swaddling blanket, in order to make this transition? (It converts to a sleeping bag of sorts.) Or does anyone know how to go about making this transition easier? Anyone with twin experience I would especially appreciate hearing from.

P.S. I'm not strictly a follower of any parenting regime. Started as an attachment follower, but as a mother of twins would like to also have a life, so I've been contemplating the baby whisper cindy

Well, *I* have never heard of anything wrong with swaddling older babies, and in fact know of quite a few who slept well only when swaddled at 1 year old or even older. For that matter, I know plenty of *adults* who say they essentially swaddle themselves in their blankets before going to sleep. :-)

If swaddling works for your babies, don't create problems for yourself by not swaddling them! Especially while they're still so young. Chances are, if they are too restricted, they'll be uncomfortable and they will let you know it! At which point, you can try a looser swaddle, or swaddle from chest level down leaving one or both arms free. Holly

We swaddled our baby til she was about 2 months and at that point we just did it from the waist down because she was a major thumbsucker (still is, at 9 mos). The purpose of swaddling is to keep them ''organized'' as well as warm, b/c they will flail their limbs all over the place otherwise and the restriction seems to help them sleep.The sleep sack doesn't help them be organized, it's just a safe way to keep them warm at night. If you stop swaddling, perhaps try a longer sack if you go that route, or try a new swaddling technique (''What to expect the first year'' has a good one!) anon
Our twins spent many months sleeping in their carseats or bouncy chairs, mostly due to reflux problems. Both ''beds'' seem to be pretty cozy in that the babies were surrounded by a soft structure. At the hospital, they accomplished something similar by tightly rolling a baby blanket, fastening the ends by wrapping first-aid tape. Maybe tucking a roll on each side of the baby will give the feeling of more support and make the baby more comfortable. In general, any change we make (even now at 4 y.o.)takes 4 or 5 days to work out. So you might keep trying with the sleep sack. Best wishes, Lori
Hi - my twins are now 3 years old and we did the swaddling and then sleep sack thing with them as well. If I remember correctly (which is dubious given how little sleep I was getting back then) I think we continued to swaddle them until they were 4 or 5 months, which was when they really started to kick their blankets off. Then we put them in the sleep sacks and swaddled a light cotton blanket around that to make them feel nicely wrapped up.

We never shared a bed with them as I really wouldn't have slept at all but we did have them both in a co-sleeper up until they were 4 months. That was when I stopped breastfeeding and we moved them both to a crib in another room. After they got too long to sleep sideways in the crib we got a 2nd crib and seperated them.

I don't think these transitions are ever easy unless you have an easygoing baby. Babies will forever feel desperately unhappy and betrayed by any change you make to their comfortable schedules and arrangements. They scream, you get no sleep and then eventually everyone adjusts and you move on to the next hurtle. Only with twins it's harder 'cause they tag-team you until you are blind with fatigue and will give into anything they want in order to get 20 continuous minutes of sleep. Good luck! Cameron

We transitioned our twins into sleeping in their own cribs at about 3 months. We found swaddling them very helpful to them in making this transition. We kept their arms free and used larger blankets (the standard receiving blankets were too easy to wiggle out of) which we wrapped all the way around and then tucked the end way in so they didn't come unswaddled. Our favorite swaddling blankets (which are also now our sons ''transitional object'' which comforts them to sleep) are a relatively inexpensive somewhat stretchy, fuzzy, waffle blanket from JC Penny. I think we swaddled them until they were 6 or even 7 months.

Another thing that made the transition easier was that we started by just having them in the cribs at nap time. Once that worked we moved on to nights.

We found The Baby Whisperer to be VERY HELPFUL, though we picked and chose what was useful to us (for example, her ideas about twins and feeding were completely useless). Julie

11-week-old is huge but she thrashes unless she is swaddled

Oct 2003

We've been swaddling our 11-week-old baby since her birth. She is now huge (15 lb., 24 or so inches) and is an escape artist who breaks out of even the tightest swaddle. The problem is that when she isn't swaddled, she thrashes around so much that she cannot fall asleep (or wakes herself repeatedly up after falling asleep) because she's punching herself in the face and poking herself in the eyes. We tried leaving one arm free, and she still thrashes too much. Swaddling definitely lengthens her naps and her nighttime sleep. I recently ordered one of those velcro swaddlers (Simple Swaddle) online, but haven't received it yet. I'm also concerned about using a double swaddle, because as it is, she often gets sweaty even when she's swaddled only in a diaper and a cotton blanket. I reviewed the archived swaddling advice and didn't see anything on this topic. Any ideas? Tired Mom Again

We continued to swaddle for naps until our son was 11+ months, so I definitely went through this! We had the best luck with the stretchy, waffle-weave Gerber swaddling blankets I found at Target. They're a bit larger and the stretchiness made us able to wrap him tightly. Swaddling rocks!
I too had the problem w/ the thrashing w/ my son. Swaddling did seem to work well, but only up until he was about 6 months old, then he would work his way out of it eventually. We finally stopped wrapping him up and instead just used the same blanket we had swaddled him in and gave it to him to hug and hold as he went to sleep, and now he's a happy camper. Good luck! Shaana
We swaddled our baby until he was 5 months old! We solved your problems in a few ways: We took 2 large pillow cases and cut them along the seams to create big squares (you could also cut up a sheet). That way we could double swaddle him in light material so he wouldn't overheat. Then, I sewed velcro onto the squares so that we could seal the swaddle and make it practically impossible for him to get out of. It worked well and I think it really helped him to sleep better. I found that if he got out of the swaddle, the process of struggling and removing the hand was certain to wake him up. Good luck! anon
When your baby gets to be ~3-4 months, swaddling just fails to be effective; they want to move too much. I found with my child that the first 18 mos. were a series of changes in sleep pattern... you just have to roll with it. Kristine
Hello. We had such a similar situation with our son. He wouldn't sleep more than a few minutes unless he was swaddled. He always eventually wiggled free, and then he would wake up. I tried a lot of different things, but often I would just end up sleeping with him swaddled and curled up on my arm so that I could also sort of hold him and contain his thrashing so that he could sleep a little longer -- but never more than three hours, and usually less! We were so tired (and sore!). One thing that helped a little bit was swaddling him snugly and then having him sleep on his side. We would make little blanket rolls to bolster him. Sometimes he could go longer this way. There were so many sleep issues to deal with at that point, that I felt quite overwhelmed: he had to be swaddled, he still nursed frequently at night, he was in our bed and no one was getting good sleep, etc., etc. Eventually, though, I realized that he just was never going be a great back sleeper. Through a long and drawn out process, we moved him out of our bed, into a crib, and onto his tummy! Tummy sleeping is what really turned things around for us. He was about 4 months and 3 weeks when we started the process. We waited until we got a firm crib mattress and until he had good head control/neck strength and was able to push up onto his arms and move his head from side to side. At first, I would put him on his tummy for naps only and actually sit there and read while he napped, watching him to make sure he kept breathing! (I'm quite irrationally paranoid about SIDS.) Then slowly I got used to it and felt that he would be safe. Now he sleeps at night on his tummy as well. He is almost 6 months old and can sleep 7 hours in a row at night. He still startles, but since he's on his tummy he just goes right back to sleep, rather than wildly flailing and thrashing around as he used to. You have to decide how comfortable you feel with tummy sleeping given the statistical increase in SIDS risk. But, it may work for your baby as well. Good luck. And if you're not ready for the tummy, your baby's sleep will definitely get better on it's own over time. Anon
We swaddled our son for quite a while, too. But we didn't have the same problems you are having with the flailing. However, I did think of one piece of advice which I'm sure will not solve your problems but may be helpful. I found that swaddling with the waffle weave blankets were tighter and stayed in place better because they have some stretch to them. They also didn't seem to be too hot but since the weather is now getting cooler this may alleviate that problem. fellow swaddler
Is it her flailing arms that wake her up? If so, you can lay her on a triangle of blanket, feet at the point just like for a regular swaddle. Bring the corner of the blanket over her arm, then tuck it down next to her side and behind her back. Do the same on the other side. Her chest will be uncovered but her arms will be cuddled. EM

When did you stop swaddling?

April 1999

When do people usually stop swaddling the baby? My baby cannot go to sleep unless he is swaddled, and I am worried now that it's getting warmer that he will be too hot at night. But I am not sure if he can sleep unless he is swaddled.

We stopped swaddling our daughter (now 20 months) when she stopped liking it, which was at about 4 or 5 weeks. But she was born during the summer, and it was a hot one to boot. Now she won't even tolerate a light blanket on top of her--I have to put covers on her only after she's asleep. Russians continue swaddling for a pretty long time, I think maybe up to a year. One Russian family we are friends with said they continued swaddling a lot longer than that, and that their now 9-year-old son still remembers it fondly. But they were adamant that we not follow their lead, because they had been informed that it's not supposed to be good psychologically. Maybe the warming weather will help your son get finished with it, or you could wrap him progressively more loosely. Or maybe wrap him up to go to sleep, and then loosen the wraps after he's asleep. I myself don't see the real harm in the wrapping if the baby wants it, for sleeping at night--I might worry if it were going on during waking hours, when you'd be looking for lots of physical activity.
If I remember correctly, (even though it was only 6 months ago or so) we gave up swaddling our son when he was moving around so much that he got himself unswaddled regularly. Also, he outgrew the receiving blankets, and I was too paranoid to wrap him in something heavier for fear of smothering. I suspect that as you baby gets really into crawling and walking, he will naturally move around more at night and get used to being unswaddled. You might try gradually wrapping him more and more loosely to help him along in this. That way, hopefully, he will gradually get used to more freedom of movement without it being a dramatic change. Even if he doesn't though, at the absolute very worst, you are probably only facing a few bad nights down the line whenever you decide to make him go cold turkey--not fun, but not a long lasting problem either. Good luck!
I stopped swaddling my baby when she was about 3-4 weeks old. After she turned 6 months old and the risk of SIDS is much reduced, I occasionally put her to sleep on her stomach so she did not get startled so easily. From a lay-person point of view, I think you should stop swaddling your baby if s/he is 8 months old. You can do this gradually if the baby is very used to swaddling.