Swaddles. They are THE BEST THING for newborns. It changed my life! The right swaddle makes a WORLD of difference. We invested in swaddles rather than just using blankets because swaddling a baby with a blanket is hard. Especially in the middle of the night. Haha.
Our favorite swaddles were this two-pack on Amazon and this Nested Bean one. Guys, I could go on all day on Nested Bean swaddles. They are amazing. When Ollie would go through his sleep regressions, that swaddle saved our sanity.
Let’s talk about the transitions though. We obviously don’t still sleep in swaddles, so how do you make the transition away from them without disrupting the baby’s sleep routines you have worked SO HARD to establish? Oliver was sleeping 12 hours a night and heaven knows that I did NOT want that to change.
Guys, no joke, I would sometimes see pictures of tiny babies sleeping so soundly in their cute jammies in their crib SANS swaddle and would think to myself “Will that ever be Oliver?” If you have ever felt that way, you’re not alone!
With Oliver, it was pretty easy to transition him away from the swaddle, only because he was just so dang tired of feeling constricted! He led his own journey to swaddle freedom, but if we had caught on early enough, it would have been a much easier transition!
Step 1: One-Armed Freedom
When you wake up and your baby’s arm has escaped the swaddle, no matter how tight you wrapped him up, that is a good time to start thinking of a change. Don’t feel like you have to change it right away though! Start with leaving one little arm out. If the babe has a hard time with that, put that arm back in and try again the next night.
Step 2: Two-Armed Freedom
Once your baby has had some successful nights with an exposed arm, consider exposing the other arm. In my opinion, there is no rush on this. It took Oliver a couple of weeks of one-armed sleeping before he was ready to have his other arm out. Side note on this though – if your baby can turn onto his stomach on his or her own while they are still in the one arm stage, definitely get that other little arm out. You do NOT want your babe to flip onto his or her tummy in the middle of the night and only have one arm to assist the flip back.
Step 3: Remove the Swaddle Completely
Once the baby has successfully mastered sleeping with both arms exposed, you just have to remove the swaddle from the equation and you are home-free! You could combine steps 2 and 3, but for us, because the swaddle had become a part of his nap and bedtime routines, removing that was not as easy as we hoped. He had both little arms out, but he could not let go of that swaddle. We also may have waited too long on this though because there were definitely some times when home skillet took off his own swaddle and played with it in the crib instead of napping if he wasn’t able to fall asleep right away.
I hope this helped you make the transition to getting your own pictures of your babe sleeping in his or her jammies in the crib, sprawled out in crazy and cute positions. I know we definitely have our share of those pictures now! Leave a comment with other tips you have for mommas trying to transition their babes from the swaddle!