Question of The Day – When and How to Stop Swaddling

Q: When do you know it’s time to stop swaddling and how do you do it?

GNSS: I normally recommend to stop swaddling when you baby shows signs of moving around and rolling over. At that point it’s a good idea to start weaning. We want to make sure the baby is safe if they do roll over with their arms free. Generally this can be around 4 to 6 months of age. Also if you’re looking to start sleep training and your child is at an appropriate age it’s normally a good idea to get rid of all sleep props.

You can gradually wean from swaddling by taking out one arm for 2 to 3 days, then taking out the other arm, for 2 to 3 days, then removing it completely. You can at the same time loosen the swaddle a little bit around the body and legs so the baby get’s used to being able to move around a little.  Going cold turkey is also an option – it’s really up to you and what you think your baby would respond to best.

A great transitional item is a sleep sack. Many parents use this as an in between because it keeps the baby’s arms free for when they start rolling over but it also gives them the security of feeling like they are wrapped in something.

Remember the more consistent you are with any change the quicker your child will adapt.  And they do adapt a lot easier than we think they will.  Definitely a lot quicker than we do to change!  Good luck!


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By | 2016-09-14T18:45:22+00:00 April 29th, 2013|Baby Sleep, Milestones & Regressions|3 Comments

About the Author:

Alanna McGinn is the creator of The Good Night Sleep Cleanse and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site a family sleep consulting practice helping babies to adults sleep better. Alanna and her global team are working with families to overcome their sleep challenges. You can follow her expert advice on The Marilyn Denis Show, The Goods, and Your Morning, and national publications like Today’s Parent, Maclean’s, Prevention, and Huffington Post. Alanna strives in helping families and corporations overcome their sleep challenges and have happy well-rested smiles in the morning.


  1. rachel d'Antuono May 7, 2013 at 10:56 am - Reply

    I wqnt my baby to just use blankets not a.sleep sack but she kicks them off and the sleep sack seems like it would do beans to keep her warm anyways.

  2. Hayley April 5, 2016 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    My little one is 5 months – can roll swaddled if he really tries and we use blankets tucked tight beside him to stop him from rolling BUT he has a strong reflex, is obsessed with his hands and rolling when not swaddled is his favourite activity… So when he wakes from his nap after 30-45 mins in a swaddle transition (zippidee) he immediately rolls. How do I manage transitioning him out of the swaddle and keep him sleeping safely on his back?

    • Alanna McGinn April 6, 2016 at 11:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Hayley! As a sleep professional I have to recommend a safe sleep environment and at your son’s age it’s important to remove everything from his crib. His crib should be empty with just a saftey certified mattress and fitted crib sheet. By 4 months of age I recommend to remove the swaddle as this is when they start moving around and rolling over as your son is doing now. We need his arms free and we definitely don’t want him still swaddled and rolling over with blankets tucked beside him. Rolling over is a wonderful developmental milestone that he has to master and I want you to encourage it rather than prevent it. I know it’s scary but don’t worry. At his age once he can naturally roll on his tummy himself he can position his head as he needs to. Continue to place him on his back and have plenty of tummy time practice throughout the day. If he rolls on his tummy try not to roll him back over. He’ll get used to sleeping on his tummy. He can do it 🙂

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