How to Swaddle Your Baby – Tips and Tricks

How Not to Swaddle

Don't Do This at Home Folks!

How Not to Swaddle

Every family I’ve ever worked with has bought a few swaddling blankets, learned about swaddling (most new baby books cover this nicely), and maybe even taken a newborn baby care class that covered baby swaddling. And this is BEFORE they actually give birth! Given that most of you have probably read one or five newborn care baby books and that the internet is awash in “how to swaddle your baby” articles I’m going to focus on what you probably DON’T know.

How to Swaddle Your Baby

You’ve done it correctly when they don’t pop out. Also, if you’re attaching them to a board of some sort (see pictured), please stop. We now know this can lead to hip dysplasia although I’ve never ever seen a parent do anything remotely like this and am assuming that you are not part of a nomadic tribe and thus won’t be strapping your swaddled child to your back for 14 hours a day.

Dr. Karp (Happiest Baby) suggests the “dudu” or down-up down-up method which does work well. If you’re interested Karp provides a nice PDF that walks through this method.

I’m also including two videos here that provide a nice visual of swaddling a newborn baby. I particularly like these because they show that MOST babies DO complain when being swaddled. Newborn babies especially dislike being placed on their back and will let you know it. So when you go to swaddle your (tired, hungry, gassy, cranky) baby they will fuss and complain about it.

Bottom Line: Whatever method of baby origami you prefer is fine as long as it works. If their arms are popping out or they are able to push the blanket up over their heads then it DOESN’T work and you need to find another method.

Baby Swaddling for Dummies

If you’re struggling with the baby origami I recommend you try one of the various velcro (or swaddling for dummies) alternatives. Frankly I love these and don’t understand why anybody would struggle with baby wrapping when there are nice inexpensive alternatives for exhausted brain-dead parents who have better things (like eating, sleeping, or maybe the occasional shower) to do with their time.

There are many good swaddle-for-dummy products but my top pics are:

  • Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe
  • Pros: Cheap and easy. You can leave their little feet OUT of the bottom of the swaddle blanket (recommended) for sleeping in swings, car seats, and for when its hot outside.

Cons: The velcro does seem to wear out with washing so if you find your little one popping out its time to buy a new one. It also helps if you wash them infrequently (only run them through when you really need to). Also they run LARGE – I can swaddle even a 20 lb baby in the small size blanket. Their large size swaddle blanket would be appropriate for a 10-year-old. Or maybe a golden retriever.

Pros: The Sleepsack is a great way to keep baby warm when they are too young (under 2 years old) for blankets. Also features velcro for the swaddling challenged among us.

Cons: You can’t use the sleepsack WITHOUT their feet being IN the sack. Thus it is impossible to use a sleepack in a swing, car seat, etc. As most babies sleep far better in the swing, this is a very limiting feature.

Pros: Even the most talented baby Houdinis seem stymied by the miracle blanket. Unlike most, the miracle blanket doesn’t use velcro and instead wraps repeatedly around their body making it almost impossible for arms to escape.

Cons: Like the Sleepsack, the miracle blanket doesn’t work well with their legs out. Also getting the miracle blanket on is a bit more involved than the simpler SwaddleMe option so if your baby gets REALLY angry at you when you swaddle them, you might want to hold off on a Miracle Blanket. Also it is a lot of fabric which can lead to overheating in the summer.

Swaddling Troubleshooting

Baby Hates the Swaddle

Every baby I (or the fantastic team I work with) have worked with has responded well to being swaddled even if they protested viciously at the point of actually BEING swaddled. When I met with Dr. Karp of Happiest Baby fame I asked him explicitly if there were just some babies who really shouldn’t be swaddled because they hated it. His answer was brief. “No – swaddling is almost universally good for babies.” Babies fight the swaddle but still are more readily soothed and sleep better when swaddled.

But if your heart of hearts screams at you that swaddling just isn’t right for your baby, then you need to go with that. But I would suggest you approach swaddling from the perspective of, “prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this isn’t working.” Don’t swaddle a cranky baby 2-3 times and then shrug it off if it doesn’t seem to work as promised. It can be a very powerful tool to reduce crying and improve sleep and you don’t want to readily remove that sort of heavy artillery from your arsenal.

Swaddling Houdini Babies

You’ve just rocked your little one to sleep and are already savoring the delivery pizza on its way to your door and the promise the hot bath to follow, when the swaddle pops open and your beloved little angle and screaming at you. It’s a horrible feeling and we’ve all been there.

Keeping a squirmy baby swaddled securely is a real challenge. My first suggestion is to make sure that the arms are flush at the sides of their body. If the elbow is bent or they have wiggle room in there, they’re going to break free (or ineffectually fight the swaddle which defeats the purpose of using it in the first place).

Assuming you already have that down, my second suggestion is to let the legs out. Baby’s legs don’t need to be swaddled, there is no benefit to it (other than warmth which can be addressed other ways). Having the legs out also enables you to put a swaddled baby in a car seat and more importantly, swaddle babies safely in the swing. But as it relates to Houdini babies, keeping the legs unswaddled removes the ability for kicking feet to dislodge, loosen, etc. the swaddling blanket. Even little baby legs can do a lot to mess up a quality baby wrap so and keeping the legs out of the swaddle removes this as an issue.

If you’re struggling with blankets you should definitely check out one (all?) of the swaddling-for-dummy options listed above. Velcro is less subject to user error and generally is pretty Houdini-proof. If even a new SwaddleMe blanket is insufficient to the task you may need to upgrade to a Miracle Blanket (although this is not an option for swing sleepers). If none of the commercial-grade products work for your extra clever baby you could discuss some off-label products with your pediatrician. Mine suggested we wrap ours up with ace bandages. You would be surprised with what sort of clever ideas those pediatricians have in their back pocket. After all, it’s not their first trip to the dance.

If your Houdini is slightly older (at least 4 months old) you could also try swaddling their body but leaving one or both arms free. Some babies respond really well to one arm in, which is still very soothing but removes 50% of their power to break free. Also for older babies who may have realized that hands make great sucking/chewing devices, this leave them free to do so (which is ALSO enormously soothing). Yes even having just the body swaddled with both arms out can be very soothing to slightly older babies.

Saying Sayonara to the Swaddle

Most babies need to be swaddled when they are upset or sleeping until they are at least 4  months of age. Some will need to be swaddled for as much as a year but most are done between 4-6 months. There is no issue of “weaning them off” the swaddle. You simply test the waters now and then to see if they are done. If they’re not done, they’re not. Wait a few weeks and then test again.

The swaddle test is simply this – pop an arm out when they go down to sleep and see what happens. If your 2 hour napper wakes up 30 minutes later, you’re not done. If however the nap proceeds without issue, stick with one arm out for a few days. Then test swaddling with both arms out (so his body is swaddled but both arms are free). If this also has no negative effect on sleeping than congratulations – you’re all done! Although don’t donate them to the pregnant neighbor yet, teething, sleep regressions, etc. can all have you scattering back for that swaddle. So give yourself a good month or two buffer to be sure that you’re REALLY done.

Swaddled Baby Flips Over

Swaddling is ONLY for babies sleeping on their backs. Never EVER put a swaddled baby down on their stomachs. Once your baby is capable of flipping over from their back to their stomach while swaddled you are DONE with the swaddle. This is non-negotiable. Absolutely no swaddled babies on their stomach for any reason. Ever.

Luckily this is unlikely to happen unless your baby is older than 6 months as flipping while swaddled requires some significant gross motor skill development. Thus it is likely that your baby will be done with the swaddle before this happens.

Got any other magic swaddle tips to share with other tired parents?

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  1. I love you! lol

  2. I am loving your blog… and as my baby is napping in the Bjorn (part of my napping problem… will be emailing you for advice!) I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing out loud and waking him up (God forbid…)! If you search “double swaddle” on YouTube, you’ll find videos on how to do a swaddle just like the Miracle Blanket but with legs sticking out! All you need is a large blanket. Hope this helps a tired parent…

    • Oh Jen.. I think I love you lol. :) I was about thisfreakingclose to buying a Miracle Blanket when I read this. The YouTube video is AMAZING and my little one is finally sleeping! Whoo hoo! Thank you very much for the tip, I appreciate it so much!

  3. Some people think I’m anti-baby wearing which I’m NOT. I love it if YOU love it. I just don’t love it if you’re stuck with it (ie. you would like to nap yourself but can’t because you have a baby strapped to your body). Just to clear that up :)

    Thanks so much for the kind word! Also thank you for the heads up on “double swaddle” – have never heard of this. But in case anybody is interested, check it out here:

    • Love your site! Hilarious and informative. We are in the process of sleep training our 5 month old ( we started early out of desperation). His sleep was getting worse and worse, no matter how much boob, white noise, dark, rocking, bouncing, slinging swaddling we slathered on him. The process has been slow and hard. We are doing progressive checks. We are ten nights in and thought we were making some headway. But last night, he rolled over in his swaddle (under a sleepsack) and broke out of swaddle three times. He slept a total of 80 minutes. Does keeping arm out of the swaddle deal with the safety/rolling over issue? Or does the swaddle go in the trash? If so, any advice on how to proceed with sleep training? He’s one tough nut.

      • Hey Lisa,

        Well if his arms (both) are out (you’re just swaddling the belly) then it’s OK if he flips himself over. However generally there isn’t much soothing benefit to swaddling the belly (no harm either so you’re welcome to try). Sadly if he’s flipping over while swaddled then you ARE done, even if the swaddle was helpful :(

        Ten nights is not so great. I don’t know exactly why things are taking so long but here are some things to consider:
        – Progressive checks can also lead to more crying (see link below for more on this)
        – Make sure he’s not over/under tired at bedtime. If he just woke up from a nap 2 hours ago, he may not be tired enough. If he’s been up for 6 hours he’s probably OVER tired.
        – Give as much soothing as you can. Without the swaddle this probably amounts to LOUD white noise and DARK room. If he likes rocking, you could try CIO in the swing (make sure he is fully strapped and use a night vision monitor to keep tabs on him).
        – How are you responding when he wakes every 1.5 hours? Are you unintentionally reinforcing the waking?
        – Is he going through the 6 month growth spurt? It could be that the timing is not ideal because of some developmental sleep regression (it’s so tricky to time things perfectly between illness, sleep regressions, teething, etc.)

        Anyhoo I hope that gives you some clues to work with. Good luck!

  4. My first son LOVED to be swaddled. Didn’t complain one bit, so I was surprised to read that most babies do. My second son? Not so much. Complained while being swaddled, after having been swaddled, while being undone from said swaddle. We used both swaddling blankets and Kiddopatomus (sp?) as you suggest. We ended up using a sleep sack for my second son, as this was the only thing he would tolerate. Swaddling can be a scary thing for parents. Good advice here.

    • Gotta love those complaining babies! Generally babies popping out is the big issue. So you sweat for 20 minutes helping your 12 lb peanut fall asleep, seconds later they pop out of the swaddle and the party starts all over.

      Also? Sleepsacks are great. Must buy here in VT where winters last forever.

  5. Wow! You’re a wealth of knowledge! Surprisingly enough neither of my kids liked to be swaddled when they were infants. Both wanted to spread out right out of the shoot! Guess they were tired of being all cramped up.

    Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us for Ghosts of Blogging Past! :)

  6. Took me 3 kids to finally figure this out fool proof. Also took me awhile to realize tighter IS better. First kid I thought I was going to break him, turns out, you won’t. Baby #3 is now 4 and she STILL loves to be held tight, or wrapped up tight, especially when she is upset.

    • Yes! I should add that to the post – tighter IS better! With #1 we thought we were swaddling but really we were just loosely wrapping him with a blanket and wondering why it didn’t work :)

  7. Talking about Vermont nights. We have a great 2.5 tog sleepsack and PJ. Just started to swaddle with one arm out. It went well last night except that the exposed hand/arm seemed really cold. The room is 68F. Any tricks?

    • Nothing major. One option would be to put baby socks on his hands to keep them warm. That’s probably would I would do. If they don’t stay on (they should) you could use thread to tack them on to his jammies.

      Actually if the baby socks don’t say on maybe you want to get some size 2-3 socks which would probably have better elastic to keep them on his hands.

      Hope that helps!

  8. What do you think about the ‘Woombie’ as a swaddling device? We have two of these and I haven’t really used them yet. I kept thinking my baby doesn’t like being swaddled, but I’m going to do it anyway tonight to see if it makes a difference. He is almost 4 weeks old and seems to be an ‘easy’ baby. Compared to my first anyway! He grunts a lot and has a ton of gas. The first time I used a swaddle for a few hours one night he grunted almost the entire time he slept! I wasn’t sure if he was resisting the swaddle or if it was a coincidence of a bad tummy night.

    • I don’t have personal experience with the Woombie (although feel free to share yours here!). My only concern (looking at the reviews on Amazon) is that it may allow the baby’s arms to move. Basically with a swaddle all you really care about is that the arms DON’T move. So if they’re wiggling around in there, it’s not working. If not then great!

      Babies are really noisy. I wouldn’t consider grunting to be a “problem with the swaddle” but simply what babies do. They are gassy grunting noisy sleepers.

      Let me know what you think about the Woombie!

      • So, the Woombie DOES allow their arms to move, although I don’t see how some parents were saying that their kid could get their arms out the top! That seems impossible, but we all know with babies, anything is possible! We have had luck with the Swaddle Me’s, although I seriously think my child would sleep quietly in bassinet if he weren’t grunting and struggling out gas all the time.

        I think the Woombie would be great for babies who already sleep pretty well and don’t need a full out swaddle. They are super cute though, and SO EASY to change diapers without un-swaddling. That is the only think I don’t like about the Kidapotamus swaddles.

        • You CAN use the swaddle me’s with their legs out (for diaper changing). Admittedly it’s a little awkward for older/bigger babies.

          Thanks for the Woombie tip!

  9. I’m absolutely extatic after finding your blog, can’t stop reading it.
    My twin girls are 6,5 weeks now and we started to use swaddling just a week ago – it wasn’t recommended to us in the hospital (we live in Sweden), so we tried to survive through the nights with kids waving their arms and waking themselves up. So by that time me and my husband started to look like zombies and he decided to try swaddling – and it worked! It’s a real life saver, even though girls still sleep about 3-4 hours in a row, but at least I’m hopeful that soon it will get better.
    It even works when feeding our older twin who is a very fussy eater, after just 20-30 ml of milk she would start crying and pushing the bottle out of her mouth staying hungry and cranky. But now I swaddle her when she starts to cry and refuse the bottle in the middle of the feeding and Voilà! she finishes her meal! I really hope I won’t jinx it. :-)

    Thank you for this blog, I’ve already learned a lot from it.

    • So glad to be helpful! About 50% of my visitors are not from the US and I’m always surprised by how different things are globally. Like I went to a pediatric conference and there were a crew of Norwegian pediatricians there. Dr. Karp was talking about baby swings and they said that baby swings don’t exist there. I had no idea!

      But I try not to be too US-centric (or at least sensitive that we may not all be coming from the same cultural perspective). Still a bit shocking that it wasn’t recommended in the hospital because I’ve never seen an unswaddled baby in our hospital here 😉

      • Well, there was 4 different shifts during our stay in the hospital and all of them had their own stories. Don’t let me start on the feeding subject. :-)
        Babies were swaddled but not so tightly and could get out of the blankets if they wanted to. So in the beginning we continued with that loose swaddlling and it really didn’t work at all, as I wrote to you before. But now I’m happy to report that using special sleepsacks (not mentioning the brand :-)) is working for us. And thank God for Amazon. :-)

        • Seriously. When my kids grow up and find that they don’t have any money for college I’ll just have to explain to them, “Listen – Mommy spent all our money at Amazon.”


  10. Is there a rule on how long (hrs throughout day) a baby can remain swaddled?

    • Not a hard and fast rule. Newborns (especially of the fussy variety) may need to be swaddled most of the day. As they get older and less fussy they’ll be able to grab toys, bat at things, etc. – they won’t need to be swaddled as much and frankly they won’t want to be. Although I still encourage swaddling at sleep time.

      Maybe a good general rule of thumb is for newborns – swaddle as much as needed for sleep and soothing purposes. After a few months, you may only need to swaddle when it’s time to sleep.

  11. So I have a question about weaning off the swaddle. Our daughter is a little over 5 months and still sleeping at night in the swaddle. We have weaned her off the swaddle for her naps–she hasn’t been swaddled at nap time for at laest 6 weeks–and that has gone well and she is still napping well. But when I tried to put her down for the night unswaddled it was a DISASTER! she was up every hour! the next night I tried with 1 arm in 1 arm out, but that didn’t work either. So how do we wean her off the swaddle? Our concern is that:
    1. she is starting to get *really* close to rolling from back to tummy while swaddled, and that scares us
    2. she is fully capable of sleeping through the night (did it consistently from 6 weeks until 3.5 months, not doing it AS consistently now, but still does, generally), but when she manages to bust out of the swaddle it wakes her up.
    3. She hasn’t been sleeping consistently through the night like she used to, and we want to get her used to self-soothing…but being swaddled doesn’t seem conducive to self-soothing. Wouldn’t she need her hands free to suck on a thumb/finger, or some other soothing technique?

    Thank you for your insights!!

    • Sometimes babies need to be swaddled longer than we can effectively KEEP them swaddled. My youngest was swaddled for a horrifying 13 months. It was CRAZY. I wondered when we would have to resort to duct tape to keep him in there (please note: this is just a joke, don’t actually duct tape your baby to sleep, or really any other time either).

      I would keep swaddling. What you describe tells me she isn’t ready to be unswaddled and that’s OK. Maybe you need to purchase more swaddling tools (miracle blanket?) and I know it’s a hassle but this is temporary. Babies change so quickly – what is a disaster today can be easy peasy tomorrow.

      I wouldn’t worry about the self soothing. Some babies NEVER figure out how to suck on their fingers so you may be giving up swaddling in exchange for self-soothing that never really happens. Access to fingers does not guarantee happily self-soothing baby.

      The only issue is yes – the rolling over. Now I will say that it’s actually quite tough to roll over while swaddled (don’t believe me? Try it yourself!). And you’re right – the minute she flips over your swaddling days are over EVEN if it means you are all going to be up all night.

      If you MUST loose the swaddle, make sure you’re using as much soothing alternatives as possible to make up for it. I know she is older but everything here still applies:

      Good luck!

      • i don’t get this.

        you say your son [alexis] was swaddled til he was 13 months.

        then you say if they can flip while swaddled, you have to quit.

        couldn;t he flip over WAY before that?
        even swaddled?

        our guys are master rollers and can flip completely swaddled.


        • 1. Nope he couldn’t flip swaddled.

          2. In all fairness he was in a swing for 10 months (no I’m not advocating this but he had reflux and being held upright was really helpful) so he didn’t have the opportunities to practice because he was strapped in.

          Also all babies are different. There are plenty of babies who will sleep swaddled on their back till their 1st birthday. Are they physically capable of flipping? Sure. Do they flip? Nope. Meanwhile other babies are adamantly flipping at 5 months.

          So in general longer swaddling=better but sometimes babies have other plans 😛

          • wow
            ours can roll across texas
            swaddled or not
            one is still arms-in mostly
            he will roll across the crib and back several times when you come in – just to say hello

            13 months
            mostly the swaddled one sleeps on his side

            we would like to stop swaddling
            sometimes he will get, out but still stay asleep

            sometimes he will just run around the crib and yell, til you go wrap him again

            there doesn;t seem to be any logic to it, to decode..

            he is very active and busy, in general, good natured

            but the sleep thing is killing us

            we can end up spending 40 mins a night with swaddling, waiting to see what he does, deciding to do it again or not, doing it again, worrying, going back, rewrapping, thinking ‘one arm or 2 in’, rocking, etc

            the other guy has been sleeping both arms out for a couple months
            though we do swaddle his midsection


            • 13 months? Wow. I doubt the root issue is related to swaddling. I’m guessing it’s more about getting you to come back in for another visit 😛

              What about a compromise with the merlin magic sleep suit or something? They’re $$ but babies seem to love them. They dampen movement but there is no popping out. Maybe removing the swaddle IS the answer because they’re older and no swaddle means no “what do we do he popped out!” dilemma anymore.

              My 2 cents…

  12. My 6 month old is nowhere near ready to sleep unswaddled (I’ve tried and tried)… still needs the swaddle and swing to nap, and still needs the swaddle to fall asleep on her own in the crib at night. She has started to break out of it while rolling onto her tummy. She then begins to scream a the top of her lungs – she simply cannot relax on her tummy (and she still is unable to roll form her tummy to back). Do we keep swaddling? How can we keep her from unswaddling (we’re using the miracle blanket now, have tried halo sack and kiddopotumus). She was sleeping for about 11-12 hours every night, only waking for one feeding at about 2am. Now she’s up about 3 times a night. Half way through the night we give up on the crib and put her back in her swing because she can’t roll over there. Are we stuck doing this till she can sleep without a swaddle?We have no idea what to do… help, please!

    • YIKES!

      Well swaddled babies on their tummies are a much larger SIDS risk so if she’s managing to flip over WHILE swaddled then NO MORE SWADDLING :(

      If you feel that she is just miserable WITHOUT being swaddled then strapping her into the swing would be your only option because she’s GOT to be OUT of that swaddle in her crib. Full stop.

      I hear your pain. Really I do. Your options?
      1) Swaddle + swing. Sure she’s a bit old but if she really needs all that soothing then that’s just where she is at right now. Are you using loud white noise too? (please say yes 😉
      2) NO SWADDLE + crib. Well yes this is an option but it sounds like this option basically = CIO. The good news is that given some practice most babies figure out tummy-to-back flipping pretty quickly (it’s much easier than back to tummy) so give her PLENTY of tummy time/practice during the day. Hopefully once she has mastered both directions she can sleep unswaddled+happy in her crib.

      So maybe you do #1 for a few weeks, practice tummy time a TON during the day, get her to master flipping and then move on to #2?


  13. Hi Alexis,
    I’m happy to have found your page as it’s hard to find any decent advice on swaddling (or transitioning away from swaddling) an older baby! Most books and websites say you have to stop by 4 months, so it’s refreshing to read someone saying that there are some babies who need it for longer, and to see that one of your children was swaddled until a year old.

    The local day-stay sleep school we attended wouldn’t help us at all, they just harped on about how our baby shouldn’t be swaddled anymore (that was at 8 months), and wouldn’t give us any other advice, even when we tried to explain that the swaddling wasn’t the issue. They even claimed it was a SIDS risk – I later did my own research and discovered that is nonsense. At that point my baby was consistently sleeping on his back, due to being swaddled. When we didn’t swaddle he’d sleep on his tummy, which is a confirmed risk! I was very annoyed by the whole experience.

    Anyway, the reason I wrap my now almost 11 month old boy is to get him to sleep. He’s a very very active boy and finds it hard to calm down and stop moving, even when tired. He’s very excitable. I put him in a sleeping bag and use a stretchy (knit) cotton square to wrap around his arms so that he’s immobilized. He can easily get out of it. Previously I could put him in his cot like his and he’d go to sleep with me there in the room. Now he just rolls over and in about 30 seconds he’s out of the wrap and standing up, grinning!

    He’s never been great at getting to sleep and we’ve always approached it with gentle methods because he’s got reflux (still needs medication) and he is quite high needs so leaving him to cry just results in him getting hysterical to the point of shaking, vomiting, and generally making us feel like we’re going against the Geneva Convention! With no sleep and everyone unhappy.

    So I guess I wonder what you would suggest to help him go to sleep in bed, with or without swaddling. Currently I’ve resorted to holding and/or feeding to sleep. A major set-back! Have you tried a safe-T-sleep, or similar? Do you let them stand up or lie them down again when they do that? I’ll admit I’m out of my depth here!

    Rachel x

    • Oh also should add, we:
      – use white noise every sleep and nap but have been turning volume down once he’s asleep as he resettles fairly well.
      – use dummy for sleeps and after feeding when he’s spewy
      – breastfeed only, no formula (but I’m not dairy free), and feed a decent amount of solids. He’s a good weight for his age (around 80th percentile)
      – give 7mg Losec (Omeprazole) daily. (Previously he was on Zantac which helped a lot, but he could not learn to go to sleep in bed until we switched to Losec. I have reflux myself and also take Losec.)

    • Wow – you’ve got your hands full there. But I’ve been there too – refluxing babies need SO much more soothing FAR longer then happy tummy babies :(

      Personally I would ask your pediatrician. Our refluxer was swaddled in a non moving swing (the angle helped a ton) and because he was trapped in flipping wasn’t an issue. I have no personal experience with the Safe-T-sleep but I know its $$ so I would definitely want to run it by your Dr. I DO know that each pediatrician has their own tricks of the trade which THEY are personally comfortable with so I would definitely check in for that alone.

      But if he’s rolling over while swaddled then I think your done with it. SIDS hazard and all that (even though unlikely at his age, still not something to take casually).

      I also wonder if at 11 months he doesn’t need a slightly higher dose to manage symptoms? If he still needs so much soothing at almost a year (the age when most kids are outgrowing reflux although mine didn’t) I might start to suspect that he still is uncomfortable.

      I hear you about the crying=disaster. But clearly holding him or nursing to sleep is a short-term strategy. You can try gradually removing yourself from the seen as you did before – you holding him, you patting him, you near him, you in the doorway, etc. Personally Dads tend to be much more effective at this so if there is anyway to have your partner take a stab at it WITHOUT you, I would definitely try that first (maybe over a holiday weekend?).

      If he stands up in his crib that’s his choice. I wouldn’t lie him back down or interfere in anyway. He’s almost a toddler now – you can’t MAKE him do something. All you can do is give him consistent gentle sleep cues, try not to let him get overtired, and the rest is up to him. If he needs to bebop around in there that’s his choice. Trying to put him down again just creates a game (hint: this is a game you will loose).

      Sorry I don’t have any easy answers for you. All I can promise is that it DOES get better. My 3 YO refluxer (still medicated unfortunately) JUST woke up from his 2 hour afternoon nap that he happily takes in his crib. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel 😉

  14. Our baby is just 6months old and when she was about 5 months we switched to the ergo cacoon, which is a stretchy sleep sac, from a regular swaddle in blankets. Her hands and legs are inside and when she is ready to no longer be swaddled there are snaps at the arm wholes so her arms can come out and it will just be a sleep sac. The other day I went in there because she was crying and she had flipped on her tummy. Her arms were in the sleep sac. Does this mean we need to take her arms out of the sleep sac? Can we still do one arm at a time or do we need to do both right away? I was concerned after reading your blog that maybe we better get her arms out right away? thanks

    • Ooof. Well to be safe I’m going to go with arms out of the sleep sac because I’m assuming it is the same as the swaddle ie not safe on the tummy. Most kids at 6 months do just fine with this though so hopefully the abrupt transition is a pleasant surprise for all of you 😛

  15. Sooo glad I came across this ! How do you swaddle without the legs?? I honestly believe one of the reasons my 7 week old hates the wombie is because it allows his feet to hang down. It seems like he wants his legs nestles close to his body ????? I am so glad to see it is normal for them to fight being swaddled but yet needing it to sleep. That is exactly where I’m at! If seems like sometimes he wants his hands swaddle up by his face other times this means easy acess and is awake quocker! I’m so confused!!! Any more advice?!?

    • I have a similar situation…my 11 week old daughter is a super houdini but I know it is because she is using her legs to kick the swaddle free. I tried loosening the legs completely, tried the miracle blanket, and swaddleme blankets so her legs wouldn’t help…she went from consistently sleeping at least a 5 hour stretch (more often 6 – 8 hours) at night to waking up every couple of hours.

      I stayed up and watched her for a while one night to see what was waking her up and it was her unrestricted kicking! She would come out of sleep a little bit, wiggle around, start to kick..and kick…and kick…and then bam she was fully awake.

      We went back to a regular tighter swaddle bunching her legs up more and she went back to sleeping longer stretches. I watched her again and when she came slightly out of sleep she would start to wiggle around and try to kick but the swaddle would stop her and she would fall back to sleep.

      Back to my original problem – I’m nervous about the loose blankets when she gets herself out of the swaddle and want to have the situation figured out before we move her out of our room into hers (our plan was to start at 4months so we could ease into it and have her there regularly before 6months).

      EVERYTHING I’ve read about the swaddle says that legs don’t matter so I haven’t been able to find any helpful advice.

      (Ironically, she also was wild during the pregnancy and bruised one of my ribs with her kicking…maybe she’ll be a swimmer or something down the road!)

      • Amy,
        So you think the problem is her legs and that if you could immobilize her legs you would be good to go? Hmm…

        Well I’m a bit skeptical but the wombie might work for you. They don’t really hold the arms all the way down but as an older baby she may not NEED that. And there is no way she could kick out – they’re stretchy and will move with her but she won’t get out.

        That said she may still kick herself awake – it won’t immobilize her! But you also won’t run into loose blanket issues.

        Many readers SWEAR by double swaddling (with a blanket) so that may also be worth a try. That would keep her from breaking out but wouldn’t prevent the olympic kicking.

        How do you calm her when she wakes up? Is she able to resettle after the kicking or does that require another feed, rocking, etc.? If the resettling is minor I might try to let her fuss a bit and see what happens. If it requires a huge production then I would try the Wombie.

        Hope that helps?

        • I have the same issue with the kicking. My baby is currently swaddled with legs out because we are working on transitioning out of the swaddle due to daycare but his kicking wakes him up too. This is especially true if he is laying flat in his bassinet. Right now he is sleeping in his swing because he seems to sleep better with less movement. Not sure how we are going to handle having our little kicker unswaddled and sleeping flat by the time he is 4 months old. He will be 3 months this week.

    • Um….I don’t have any. Why? Because you CAN’T swaddle with the woombie legs out. I’m a bit skeptical about the wombie as it allows for a lot of motion in there (arms have quite some flexibility. Generally arms swaddled down- straight by their sides – is the best way.

      That being said lots of people love the wombie so there it is.

      If you want legs out you’ll need a different swaddle alternative. You could do it with just a regular swaddling blanket or you could pick up a SwaddleMe blanket. These have a separate bottom part that is not attached in the front so you basically swaddle the arms while leaving the bottom part hanging loose behind like an empty sack. Personally I love these! My only caveat is that the velcro wears out with multiple washings so only wash when absolutely necessary 😛

  16. Love your website!

    My daughter is only 2 months old (9 wks) however she has discovered her hands and fingers as sucking tools. She doesn’t seem to be able to get herself to sleep by hand-sucking, but she does go for them when I’m carrying her in sling, rocking her (I was rocking to sleep, then laying down and swaddling, and soothing again if she woke up) or when her pacifier pops out while she is in her bouncy seat (at times I was seeing if she would lull off to sleep while playing like my friends’ low maintenance babies – no luck :)) Although she is younger than you recommend, I’m wondering if I should start swaddling her one-hand out to let her keep developing the hand-sucking for soothing. I experimented with it a bit and her urge to do it is strong; she even brings her hand up to her mouth and tries to get it I there when the pacifier is in her mouth.

    • I should also mention that baby sleeps 8-10 hrs at night without waking. She sleeps swasdled. After she wakes up, I unswaddle her, change her diaper and breastfeed her in my bed. She falls asleep and naps in unswaddled in my bed for 2-3 hrs. She sometimes moves around and wiggles but it doesn’t wake her up. She sometimes half wakes with gas but nods back off.

  17. I should also mention that baby sleeps 8-10 hrs at night without waking. She sleeps swaddled. After she wakes up, I unswaddle her, change her diaper and breastfeed her in my bed. She falls asleep and naps unswaddled in my bed for 2-3 hrs. She sometimes moves around and wiggles but it doesn’t wake her up. She sometimes half wakes with gas but nods back off.

    • Hi Erin,

      There are so many benefits to swaddling (better sleep, lower risk of SIDS, etc.) that I’m 100% on board with swaddling till minimally 4 months. Also even babies who do figure out finger sucking still have poor arm control for months so while they’re trying to get their fingers into their mouth, are very likely to also bang themselves about the head which wakes them up. Also it sounds like your daughter is sleeping like a champ so the BEST case scenario is that you ditch the swaddle and sleep doesn’t get worse (it won’t get better). So that’s like playing a game where you give me $100. If you win, I give you your $100 back. If you loose I keep your $100. So….not a super awesome game to play right?

      Sounds like she’s doing awesome – good luck!

  18. Both of my sons swaddled from birth until at least 6 months. My oldest stopped at 8 months. Swaddling is by far the top recommendation we have for new parents. My oldest son slept 12 hours straight through the night at just 8 weeks. My now 6 month old has also been sleeping like a little champ all swaddled since birth, but this morning I found him sound asleep on his belly with both arms inside the swaddle. He is a strong boy, but I’d still like to know how he flipped sans arms! Anyway, I knew then and there we were done with swaddling…and frankly we are pretty tired of it too. So tonight we put him in the miracle blanket with his arms free and just wrapped the flaps around his torso. We laid him down on his back, and about an hour later I went into check on him and he was sound asleep on his tummy! I’m hoping and praying he sleeps with no problems tonight. I have a good feeling he will! It just seems like the right time. Wish me luck! Oh, our secret swaddle trick was to first pin arms at the side and wrap with a very lift weight receiving blanket. The we put him into the swaddle me Velcro swaddled. Worked like a charm for both our boys.

    • Awesome double swaddle tip!

      I think people are always keen to get out of the swaddle, as though there is some merit badge you get for being the first on your block to ditch it. But if you wait they’ll be ready and then getting out of the swaddle is a minor detail.

      Most babies (once they flip on their own) actually sleep better on their tummies so hopefully your awesome happy sleeper will continue to be so. Good luck!

  19. Awesome new product….Woombie makes a couple “leggies” styles that allow you to strap your baby in a swing. One of them is convertable so you can allow an arm or two out while weaning. I also got the summer onesie woombie which has legs completely free. I really love it! My baby woke up several times last night when she broke out of her Velcro style swaddle. She has done great today in her leggies Woombie, strapped in the swing. Hope tonight is better! I need some sleep!!

    • I don’t have a ton of experience with the woombie but it gets rave reviews on Amazon. It seems like a nice transition tool for when babies aren’t quite done with the swaddle but are breaking out constantly. Good to know they come in “leggie” versions too.

      Hope you are getting some better sleep 😉

  20. I was told by the nurses in the NICU and then again by my pediatrician to only swaddle my son with his arms out…after reading your website it only makes sense that now at 11 weeks he is barely sleeping at all. I don’t know what to do. Why did they tell me that? They said with his arms inside the swaddle he may flip the blanket over his face. So now we are being woken up several times per night and his day time napping is very little. He is sleep deprived and so are we. How do I reverse the damage that was done by so many weeks of swaddling with his arms out? Also, he screams and cries when he goes into a swing or the mama roo. We only have a travel swing because we live in manhattan and don’t have the space for a big swing. Any suggestions? Thanks so much.

    • I was reading your comment and I figured you were writing me from somewhere in the USSR. Swaddle with arms out? Surely you are coming from some remote country whose doctors are a little behind the times.



      I’ve never ever seen any evidence AT ALL that swaddling causes any risks (other than putting a baby swaddled and face down which IS VERY RISKY but obviously you know that already). There are TONS of benefits (lower risk of SIDS, better sleep, less crying, etc.). Swaddling the belly does almost nothing for babies and is pretty pointless. I have no idea why your NICU nurse would suggest not swaddling.

      In fact I went to a conference on preemies a few years ago and they RAVED about the benefits of swaddling preemies ESPECIALLY because they are a little less developed and swaddling helps them stay calm. So I don’t want to disagree with these medical specialists but I have absolutely no idea why they wouldn’t encourage you to swaddle.

      BTW – if you swaddle correctly your baby should be unable to “flip the swaddle over his face” (this is why I love the Swaddle me and such). I would raise your concerns with your pediatrician and strongly consider using the swaddle.

      Also at 11 weeks, given how tired you all sound, I would work on putting him FULLY asleep (swaddle, loud white noise, nurse) and THEN putting him in the mamma roo. Putting him down awake definitely has to happen soon but it sounds like things are so rough right now that the first goal would be to tackle just getting sleep to happen AT ALL.

      Good luck with everything!

      • Regarding risks of swaddling, our orthopedist told us that swaddling can contribute to hip dysplasia. After 2kids in braces for hip dysplasia, we only swaddle arms, not legs (swaddleme).

  21. Another question about unswaddling. My very strong 4.5 gets to her stomach in the double swaddle, which she has been sleeping with since 8 weeks. She slept 12-13 hours with one night feed. We just started to wrap the swaddle wraps around her torso with her arms out at night. We had been doing this for naps with minimal difficulty for a month. At night she goes down awake, now without the swaddle she fusses for 5-10 minutes and falls asleep. Then she is up about 5 times in 12-13 hours. She puts herself back to sleep without me, except one feeding around 4-6 am. Do you think that she will eventually put herself back to sleep without the crying in between? She does suck ferociously on her hands to soothe herself.

    • It sucks when babies start flipping over BEFORE they are ready to be out of the swaddle. You HAVE to stop using the swaddle and take the hit – which in your case means your amazing sleeper is now up 5 times a night.

      Will she eventually grow out of these crying night wakings? Yes. But it may be a while :(

      Your options are to:
      a) Wait it out
      b) Put her in something with straps (such as a baby swing) where she can be swaddled and CAN’T flip over.

      If the 5X night wakings are fairly minor (she cries for a few minutes, sucks on fingers, falls asleep) I would stick with your current plan. If they’re AWFUL (wakes up, cries for 45 minutes, THEN falls asleep) then option b might be worth considering.

      Otherwise, we’ll just send good wishes your way and hope that she stops crying at night so often!

      • Yes, they are minor, 5 minutes tops. I may try white noise too if it doesn’t get better. She did have one night of straight 11 hours, no fuss so I think she is capable of it! It has been less than a week, so I hope it gets better soon. Thanks for the well wishes!

        • I just wanted to update for others that are going through this too. Fast forward another week from this post and baby was unswaddled, rolling over and then crying until I put her back. Another 2 days later and she is sleeping longer than she has with the swaddle, sometimes 10 hours and even has gone 13 without a wake up. She immediately flips over on her side or belly and sleeps very well like this now.

          • Thank goodness you posted this. Our 4.5 mo son started rolling over onto his stomach inside his swaddle two nights ago and my husband and I are about to pull out our hair. We’ve set up a go-to-sleep routine and are trying to get through the night without it, but our 11hr sleeper is waking up needing the paci 4 or more times per night and feeding 2-3 times per night. I have not read anything anywhere else describing our situation. I just hope it is a sleep regression and it ends well because I miss my big sleeper.

  22. Hi, I am so happy to have found your site! Great information!
    We have a 4.5 month old son who two weeks ago rolled over while being swaddled. I found him face down swaddled…freaked me out!! We have thus stopped swaddling him but it’s going terribly. We tried one arm out for a week and then no swaddle for a week and he’s waking multiple times a night (prior he would either sleep from 6p-5a or wake once a night). Pretty good for his age!
    He goes to daycare and is a terrible napper. We are having a hard time keeping him up past 5:30p.
    He doesn’t know what to do with his arms and he just kicks and kicks all night long. The poor guy is exhausted. No good naps and sleeping poorly at night. And you can add teething on top of that! I don’t know how to break the no nap cycle since he is in daycare. And the no sleep at night is killing us!
    Since he can’t stay up, he is going down for the night around 5:30p and is up 2-3 times a night and it’s not quick ups and downs. It’s an hour at a time. What are we doing wrong?! Any ideas?

    • Hey Alison,
      Well you have a couple problems which are sort of compounding on you.
      1) Baby naps poorly = tired baby = baby which sleeps poorly. This is a vicious cycle. Are there any things that could be changed at daycare to get naps to improved? Will they work with you a little bit?

      2) Baby is flipping in swaddle but still NEEDS swaddle. Sadly there is no magic answer to this other than a) no swaddle or b) swaddled while strapped into a non-moving swing which prevents the flipping. For a few weeks you may want to consider strategy b if things are going really rough at night. If this suits you could then gradually work on the “one arm out” thing while still strapped into the swing.

      3) Baby up for an hour when waking up. This could be a few things – overtired and no swaddle are the likely culprits. Often babies will force themselves to stay up because they would rather hang with you than sleep. At 4.5 months your only real strategy is to keep things really dark, use LOUD white noise, and continue soothing them during the wake ups in order to get them as short as possible. Ideally you would gradually wean off your intervention. So if tonight you have to pick him up and rock him for 45 minutes to get him to sleep, ideally tomorrow night you would only rock him for 40 minutes. Eventually you would get down do a few brief pats on the back and then not going in to him anymore.

      The swaddle thing is a bummer but most kids 4+ months old will figure it out without too much hassle. I suspect the non napping is more the issue (do you notice things go more smoothly on weekends when you can get better naps to happen?). Which goes back to having a conversation with daycare to see what they can do to improve things.

      Sorry to not have any magic solutions to your multiple challenges.

  23. Love your site!
    My 7 week old son will wake himself up just trying to struggle out of swaddle. At night, he only sleeps 2-3 hour tops. Sometimes he wakes up every hour just want me to pat him to sleep again. I would pick him up pat him. When he settle, I put him down. Any idea I could help him stay asleep?

    • Google the double swaddle!! :)

    • Here is how I double swaddle. Started it at 12 weeks when the baby could break out of the Miracle Blanket.

      1. Do an inner swaddle with a blanket following this very easy method:

      2. Put a Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe over that.

      BAM! Bust-out proof. My baby also dropped a feeding when I started doing this. WIN!

      I only put the baby in a diaper under that first layer. Do make sure that you are keeping the room cool enough especially if you have a Microfleece SwaddleMe.

      • Thank you ladies! Yes and yes.

        Jenny – I like how you clarify that the diaper needs to go UNDER the swaddle. Because I swear if you didn’t somebody would try to diaper OVER the swaddle figuring that it would simplify the middle of the night diaper change ;P

  24. My nearly 5 month old has learned to flip to his belly while swaddled. He is proficient at rolling both ways. I tried to go cold turkey without it and he is up every 1 1/2 hours. I’m freaking out! He normally sleeps 12 hours. Any advice on the transition?

  25. Once again a life saver!

    I tried it and she immediately quiet down:)

    Was told to not swaddle her because she doesnt seem to like it with arms wrigglling out and all. Now I know it’s cause we did it the wrong way! Poor baby must have felt insecure for a long time…

    Hopefully this trades off to a good sleep for her now!

  26. How do you feel about the Merlin magic sleep blanket for when baby busts out of the swaddle? I swear I have a sumo wrestler/hulk wanna be for a kid because he can bust out of the tightest swaddle!! (Even with the Velcro!)

    • I am not personally familiar with the Merlin magic sleep blanket but I know other people have commented about using them. Of course I remember this because Merlin magic sleep blanket is probably the greatest name for a baby product of all time. In fact I’m simply jealous that I didn’t think of it first.

      So all I can really say is that other people have commented on my site and said they liked it?

  27. FYI. My little 15.3 lb baby is 3.5 months old!

  28. Thanks! I ordered the woombie to try first…so we shall see in a week or so just how strong the straight jacket is vs the hulk! :)

    • Meagan,
      It’s been ages so am wondering – what’s the verdict on the woombie?

      I feel I need to learn more about these swaddle weaning produces (woombie, zipadee, merlin miracle sleep sack thingies). Thoughts?

  29. I just have to thank you. Last night was the first night my seven week old didn’t cry all night. I had convinced myself that he hated being swaddled but I decided to try again after reading this page. He whimpered for a minute and then fell sound asleep, and didn’t wake up again except for milk. Even then, he slept immediately afterwards. I didn’t have to spend 20 minutes putting him back to sleep every time. I feel so well rested! Thank you!!

  30. Just a hypothetical question (I’m not a parent. Not entirely sure why I follow this site, I just find it interesting), but from what’s being said, things like the Woombie are good for not breaking out, but might not be so good because they don’t keep the arms by the sides.

    Well, could you do the inner part of this version of the double swaddle, and then put the Woombie over the top instead of the outer blanket? Not based on any kind of experience, just a thought.

    • Are you doing swaddle research for a soon-to-be bestseller? Ohh how exciting!

      And also good advice from a non-parent – woombie OUTSIDE to disuade swaddle breakage is a great thought.

      Cheers :)

      • Not doing research, I just find this site interesting. Babies are cute.

        • We use the moms on call swaddle method and found it works great, but our blankets aren’t long enough. The velcro swaddlers aren’t tight enough, so we do a double with the flannel blanket and then a knit velcro swaddle over the top to keep the blanket secure. It works like a charm-except my 4 month old just learned to roll from back to bell and the very next day figured out how to do it swaddled. :( Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem ready to be unswaddled yet…

  31. Hi Alexis,

    I tried swaddling my 6-week old baby last night. He usually sleeps around 7 pm in his pack and play with little light and white noise playing. Last night, I bf him around 6:30 and he woke up just before 10 and I gave him a bottle. Then up at 1 am and 4 am for feeding and up at 6:30 am. This was one of his best nights ever as they were 3 hour sleep stretches for him and me! I was a little afraid to swaddle as I was thinking he might overheat or he might get suffocated or if he gets so used to it, how I will get him off it and that it might hamper his motor skills as he cannot use his hands. But oh well! I just used one of our big receiving blankets but it worked, even though he is a big baby for his age. He makes little sounds every now and then making me think that he’s uncomfortable but when he wants out of it, he let me know, that I learned haha! Now what I wanted to achieve is for him to nap in the day. He usually falls asleep in my arms easy or in the swing after he has watched the birds in the swing moving. But once I put him in his crib or in the pack and play, he fusses and cries and he gets cranky all day I notice if he does not get enough sleep. I don’t notice any good effect on his night sleep anyway if he does not nap in the day much so I would rather him have some good rest in the day.

    • There are so many “don’t swaddle your baby” myths out there – most of them you mentioned – and it drives me nutz only because swaddling is SO helpful for newborn babies! At 6 weeks it’s a great thing! So glad you gave it a try.

      Also few 6 week old babies can actually nap in a crib so I wouldn’t sweat it for now. If he likes the swing then great! He won’t always be in there. Promise :)

  32. Another tip for swaddling bigger babies who really fight the swaddle but are not ready to lose it: try putting them in a sleepsack but with their arms tucked inside. They can move them but cannot put them up or flail around and bang themselves in their cute little head :)
    Sort of like a loose woombie for babies almost but not quite ready to lose the swaddle.

  33. Love your site! So what if they can roll over unswaddled, but not while swaddled? My 5 month old rolled back to front for the first time today on her playmat (unswaddled). This made me worry about swaddling and possible suffocation risk. We tried the merlin’s magic sleep suit tonight and she was burning up (and screaming) so we took her out of it. Now we have her back in the swaddle, but with one arm out. Is it ok to do just one arm out if she’s rolling over unswaddled?

    • It’s not easy to flip while swaddled. It definitely happens, I’m just saying it’s a lot harder than flipping unswaddled.

      You’ll need to keep an eye on her in case she flips while swaddled. And of course, once she does, it’s bye-bye swaddle. But that may be weeks or even months from now!

      Personally I would keep swaddling, keep tabs on things (do you have a night vision monitor for her room?) and see what happens.

  34. Hi Alexis, thank you for the refreshing humour on a topic we all take seriously.

    I have a 13 week old who hasn’t been swaddled thus far. We walk/rock/bum pat to sleep, then hold her for an hour so until she’s in a deep sleep, then we can put her down in her bassinet which is in our room.

    For naps, she’ll usually sleep another hour or so after being put down. I swear she could sleep for another 3 if someone holds her. I have on occassion gotten her down before that first hour but then she’ll only take a 30 min nap.

    For nighttime sleep, she’ll have a good 3-3.5 hour chunk right off the bat then seems to wake up every 2-3 hours. In my default zombie state, I feed her and drop her right back in. Most of time shell stay asleep until the next feed. Sometimes she needs to be picked up, soothed and put back down 45 min later.

    My questions are:
    1) Is it worth introducing swaddling at this point? Yes, I think she hates it. I have a miracle blanket and have tried for a day and a half with it (leaving out her thumb sucking hand and her legs). I wait until she’s drowsy enough before I put her in. Haven’t really seen a drastic improvement on length of sleep but i did get her down for nighttime sleeping without holding her for an hour. Although I am simultaneously trying to put down drowsy and not sleeping.
    2) Putting down awake. Is it an industry standard to not discuss what to do a when they start wailing? I’m having a hard time finding guidance in this area. Do you pick up, sooth, put back down endlessly? Try three times then revert back to your normal routine? At some point they have to get SOME sleep. How do you gradually put down awake and be successful?
    3) She sleeps well in the swing. Should I attempt swaddling before the swing? Should i even consider the swing if she can sleep in blocks throughout the night? Is it really as simple as you make it sound to move from swing to another room then to crib? I nearly jumped out of my seat with such a simple plan!

    Thanks for any advice

  35. Hi alexis,

    I really do love your website and I’m having an issue wuth my 6 month old daughter. She sleeps in a special swaddle (truewomb) and she recently as learned to roll over from her back to her front while swaddled in the truewomb. I know she can’t be swaddled anymore but we are having a tough time trying to wean her off. We have tried one arm but she really doesn’t like it. We tried putting her in a sleepsack but she immediately rolls over and can’t roll back to her back. She will cry and even vomit if left too long on her belly. We don’t know what else we can do. While swaddled in the truewomb, she would sleep through the night and we never needed to rock her to sleep. We would have a white noise machine, swaddle her, and she would fall asleep in 5 min.

    Tonight is our first night with cio because she thinks its playtime when we come in. Is cio the right thing to use while trying to wean her from the swaddle? Any advice from anyone would be great.



  36. First, let me say how much I love this blog. My baby girl has been sleeping a full 6 hours at night in her bassinet since 6 weeks because of all the things I learned here.

    Does anyone have any experience with the woombie? I’ve been swaddling my 2 month old since birth and she recently started sneaking her arms out. It hasn’t interrupted her sleep too much, but I wonder if she would sleep longer if she couldn’t escape.

    I’ve tried the swaddle me with the Velcro, but it scares the liking bejesus out of my little bean when I change her diaper in the middle of the night.

    Also, I want something that takes the guess work out of it. My husband isn’t confident with the swaddle and I want him to have that in his bag of tricks when he can’t get her to calm down.

    The woombie looks like it’ll do the trick, but maybe I need to consider the miracle blanket. Thanks!

    • We have used the woombie since she started getting her hands out from the swaddle me. We used it until 7 months, then had to stop as she was rolling. If I ever have another child, I will start off with the woombie. It’s amazing! I have the original and the Houdini and the latter works better. The original gets loose and when she was fighting naps, she was able to get her hands out. And it is so much easier for diaper change compared to the swaddle me.
      One thing though, it was hard getting her used to sleeping without it. We had to CIO after two nights of trying, which incredibly worked in less than 3 nights, thanks to this website.

  37. In case it helps anyone, we have had success with the Miracle Blanket in crib AND swing– my guy was a Houdini with other methods including the SwaddleMe (and when we did a double swaddle with SwaddleMe on top he was too big, even at 2 months, for the velcro to close). I leave his legs out of the bottom, then bring the bottom fabric up *between* his legs when I strap him into the swing—almost like a diaper. He doesn’t seem to mind, and I don’t see how he could ever break out of it with those arm flaps the way they are.

    Now at 12 weeks, we are working on one arm out during naps, and it’s going pretty well. I’m guessing it’s a good idea to get them used to having those arms out before they’re able to flip? That’s my thought anyway, so I’m trying to err on the side of caution by starting the weaning process at 3 months rather than 4. We’ll see how it goes. I am still too chicken to mess with the swaddle at night, because I am loving those long stretches of sleep and don’t want to ruin a good thing!

  38. Sorry about that last comment. I am in need of some help/guidance. I have a 4 week old baby who I’ve swaddled since day one. Besides the initial protesting that all babies give when being swaddled, he has always done well with the swaddle and it helps him sleep. Then 2 nights ago he decided he didn’t want to be swaddled anymore. I tried swaddle blankets and a swaddle sleep sack and with both he sat and fussed and grunted to get his arms free. This went on until he got his arms free or until he got so mad that he was screaming. I re-swaddled him multiple times and added other soothing methods (paci, swing, white noise, etc.), but each time he fussed until he either got his arms free or until he got so mad he was screaming. This went on for hours and needless to say neither of us got much sleep. I hoped maybe it was a fluke but last night he did the same thing. I tried leaving his arms un-swaddled once to see if maybe he could sleep that way and of course it kept waking him up because he has no control over his arms. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or if I just finally had the baby that hates being swaddled but I need help. We both need to sleep and that will only happen if he will go down swaddled. Has anyone dealt with this same issue before? I’d really appreciate some feedback!

  39. Just to add – I am swaddling him with his arms straight down at his sides. I am also leaving his legs un-swaddled so that I can strap him into his swing. Even with his arms down at his sides, he manages to work them up and sometimes out. But even if he doesn’t get them all the way out, he then just screams/fusses until I get up and re-swaddle him and we start the whole process over again.

    • Woombie worked great for us. There is no way he will be able to get out of it. We had both the original and the Houdini and the Houdini was the best!

  40. Help! My 9 week old will only fall asleep in the Moby. Sometimes she will transfer to the swing or carseat and stay asleep…sometimes. I will be going back to work soon and there is no way my mom or hubby will be throwing this Moby on for every nap (or at all for that matter). HELP!

  41. My LO will be 11 months next week. We have be swaddling him with the swaddleme since the very beginning. He started to break out around six months. So we tried not using the swaddle. But his arms n legs were just all over the place. Then I was advised to double swaddle. That worked wonders. The double swaddle even prevented LO to roll over. So I knew he was safe.
    And 8/9 months, He was getting too big for the swaddleme, then I switched to a woombie (bigger, stretch, zipper swaddle). And he was fine with it. Then around 10 months, He had learned to sit up Even with the woombie, But couldn’t lay back down bc his arms were too restricted. We would have to go in to lay him back down.
    Then we decided to wean him from the woombie this past Sunday night.
    First night, disaster. Let him CIO for almost am hour. We went I’m too help him and saw Arms flinging, sitting, crawling, n standing in crib.
    Second night was about the same. But with the night waking for about 2hrs.
    Same as last night, to 1.5hrs to put him to sleep and an 1.5hr night waking. Ahhhhhhhhh HE CANNOT SETTLE WITHOUT BEING SWADDLED/USING WOOMBIE. Then after the 1.5 Hrs of screaming of bloody murder In the mid of night (we pat, sang, held…. nothing worked…he Just coUldn’t settle), and so we put him back inthe woombie….N HE FELL ASLEEP WITHIN 2 MINUTES.

    So, my question is… am i doing any harm by still swaddling at almost 11 months?
    LO’s doctor said she swaddled her son until he was 2. That sounds a little crazy to me. How old is considered too old?
    I’ve heard people say to swaddle until it no longer works.
    Are there any negative side effects to continue swaddling? LO is extremely active during the day, So he gets plenty of time to stretch n Mine his arms n legs.

    Please advice, I don’t want to be a bad mother and do the wrong thing.
    Thanks so much in advance!

    • Hey,

      My baby is coming up 11.5 months and I still double swaddle him for naps. I have to keep and eye on him on the video monitor as he can and does sometimes roll as he is going to sleep. But once asleep he sleeps for up to 2 hours on his back. Happy days! Don’t plan on changing that one until I have to.

      Night time he would roll in the double swaddle (about 9 months) so we had to stop as I obv can’t keep an eye on him at night. I thought it would be a disaster, but we used a Zipadee Zip, and it was amazing! He found it as easy to go to sleep, and the first night we did have a night waking with 20 mins of crying and about an hour to go to sleep, but after that no probs (well, no difference to sleep when swaddled). I don’t really get why it works but it does for us. They are £££ though. I got mine off ebay, and my mum also made us a couple, literally just a star shaped sleeping bag.

      That might be worth a try for you. My son can sit up and get back down in the Zippee so gives that bit more freedom.

      As for worrying about being a bad mum, a) the fact you care enough to post on this website pretty much guarantees you are an awesome mum and b) the fact that you respond to your son’s needs even though wrapping up an 11 month burrito is probably the last thing you want to be doing, confirms it. Do you know what? I didn’t swaddle my son from 4 months to 8 months because I thought I “ought to” stop at 4 months. He slept rubbish. When I gave it back at 8 months it was like a miracle. I am a firm believer than you can’t teach a baby to become addicted to something like swaddling. They either need it, or they don’t.

      Hope it goes well for you guys.

  42. I’d like to go on the record here and state that babies under 6 months, MAY very well be capable of flipping over from back to tummy WHILE swaddled or in our case, double swaddled.

    After I read the last paragraph of this post, I thought for sure I was in the clear for at least another month and started toying with the idea of weaning him off the swaddle. Now it’s either cold turkey (= no sleep) or arms swaddled & strapped back into the non-moving swing which = sleep. No need to do the math. :)

    Btw if anyone finds this info useful, our Miracle Blanket has worked great since day 1 (and throughout the worst of his colic) but our little Houdini started breaking out of at 3 months. We outsmarted him with the double swaddle (A&A muslin blanket + Miracle Blanket) and now it seems he has indeed, “gotten in the last word” so to speak.

    Off to dig out the swing from the closet… :)

  43. Alexis,

    We have a 5-day old that loves having access to her hands (a bit of a thin band finger sucker). We have tried the super tight swaddle with her arms at her side to no avail. We tried the Woombie and she freed her hands. Are there any issues with swaddling with just her hands out of the top of the swaddle? Inevitably she breaks them free but she still sleeps for 2-3 hours at a time during the day. Though she is definitely having issues with sleeping at night, her clock is definitely off!


  44. My baby is 14 weeks old and the other night he rolled from his back to his belly while swaddled. So we are quickly trying to wean him by leaving his arms out of the halo sleepsack swaddle, while wrapping his torso. Last night went a little better, but naps are a big struggle. Every time I lay him down, whether he is drowsy or asleep, his eyes pop open and his arms startle. This morning I gave up after 30 minutes, and swaddled him for his nap. (Naps are already a struggle! I have a short napper no matter what I do.). Do you think it’s ok to swaddle for naps, but leave arms free at night? I have a video monitor, so I can watch him during naps to make sure he hasn’t rolled.

  45. Our 4 week old boy had no problems sleeping while in hospital for the first few days, the nurses there were amazing with their swaddling techniques. At home however it’s been a different story! We tried swaddling for the first week or so but as he has become more alert to his surroundings he struggles SO hard to get out of his swaddle. So much in fact that I’ve actually heard his shoulders clicking as he’s struggling.
    He LOVES to sleep with his arms above his head while sleeping but I’ve noticed that he’s constantly twitching or startling himself with his arms and is having trouble sleeping. If he’s reacting so adversely to being swaddled should I still persist?

  46. Just wanted to weigh in on the Miracle Blanket which you said is hard to use without legs in. I’ve actually experienced the opposite, my guys legs WON’T stay IN the pouch. So for us, this is the easiest wrap type to use for legs out. We have SwaddleMe wraps, and my Houdini easily breaks out of them if the lower leg Velcro isn’t there (which it isn’t when you leave the legs out).
    That’s my two cents in case anyone is avoiding the Miracle Blanket because of legs.

  47. HI,

    My baby is almost 3months old and it’s extremely difficult to make him nap. I stopped swaddeling him because hé wakes up when trying to break out. I really want him to nap, should I try again swaddeling him? If so, how to prevent him of waking up?

  48. My 3 month old seems to be on the verge of self-soothing by sucking on his hands, but still needs the paci instead. Do you still recommend swaddling? So sorry if I missed you responding to this question another time…?

  49. I am learning so much from this blog. Definitely will recommend this to friends :) Your a life saver!!

  50. Thank you for your blog. We have a nearly 7 month old who cannot sleep for more than 30 minutes unless she is swaddled. She was a colicky newborn who was worn, swung, rocked, etc. The day we read the Happiest Baby on the Block saved us from hours of screaming (by her and us) and the 5 S’s were a lifesaver. She is now a happy wee girl who falls asleep peacefully and sleeps 12 hours a night with one feed in the middle. BUT… she has to be swaddled. She is the opposite of happy without her swaddle. She gets so angry! We use an old style cloth nappy to double swaddle her arms and then use a swaddle me over the top. In New Zealand they really push stopping the swaddle when baby starts rolling. Well, she is nearly crawling and rolls too. She has never so much as tried to roll in her swaddle. I was feeling like I was a bad mother for keeping her in her swaddle, but after reading your blog and enjoying our happy girl, I am keeping her swaddled until she decides she doesn’t need it. Thanks for all the tips and reassurance.

  51. Just wanted to share my success story thanks to Alexis. :]

    My daughter will be 9 months on the 10th and I honestly thought she would be swaddled past a year. I kept trying the one arm out thing and it would normally not go past me trying to even get her to sleep before I went back and fully swaddled. But finally I committed and even though trying to get her to sleep was a bit of a struggle it didn’t have a huge impact on her sleep. So I started with the one arm out deal for about three days and it went pretty smooth, and then we continued on with two. We had one pretty rough night that consisted of mom getting up to replace the pacifier because she must have felt out of place or something. But then it got better the next night. I gave that three days and then stopped wrapping her body and now we’re done. Mommy’s happy, baby’s happy, and we’re all sleeping well.

    My advice if you really feel baby is ready to be out of the swaddle commit to Alexis’ advice and go for it, don’t turn back.

    Now the pacifier battle … We’ll see how we get rid of that one and when.

    PS I still rock my baby girl normally as soon as she closes her eyes she’s ok to be put down, it’s just something I enjoy doing for her and I won’t be able to do it her whole life so why not? She already fights me sometimes and would much rather lay in her crib and fall asleep on her own, it makes me kind of sad!

    Any who… Thank you so much for site Alexis… You rock!!

  52. I discovered this site in the middle of the night in the early weeks with our newborn when my husband and I didn’t think we would survive the exhaustion (now I find myself rereading posts often). At that time we often only got 40 minutes of sleep between our baby waking and were delirious. We thought our daughter didn’t like the swaddle but decided to try it again out of desperation around 8 weeks and finally started getting some sleep- she needed it! We implemented all of the suggestions for a newborn (white noise etc.) By three months she was occasionally sleeping through the night- yay us! We were even so brazen as to brag to family members about it, then….
    She is 4 months old now and waking as often as she did when she was a newborn. She is an extremely alert and active baby, and rolled over right at 3 months and is on her way to a commando crawl. She is also an extremely restless sleeper. She loved to practice rolling in the middle of the night so we had to stop swaddling, and just use a sleep sack. Since then sleep has completely deteriorated. She has a crazy startle reflex and goes to sleep okay then her whole body jumps and she wakes herself up crying. This repeats about every 40 minutes or so all night long. We know she is exhausted, she goes right back to sleep once we settle her. She used to sleep so peacefully in the bassinet next to our bed. We have since moved in the pack n play but because of this waking we are now in a bed sharing situation out of need which happens somewhere between 2-3 am after getting up for the 8th time, (I sleep with my arm across her to keep her from startling herself awake). She is sleeping better in our bed but I am not, but we don’t know what else to do! We would swaddle but know it wouldn’t be safe with our restless sleeper. Oh and when she rolls on her stomach at night she cries, she can’t settle in that position so between startling and flipping her back on to her back we get no sleep. Any suggestions? Or is it one of those things we have to ride out?

    • It sounds like she is really not ready to be done with the swaddle. I remember sleeping with my arm over my son’s arms for this exact reason until I put two and two together and figured out to swaddle–ha! Could you put her in a rock-and-play or swing, something with buckle, to keep her from flipping while swaddled? If you use the Miracle Blanket or Halo sleep sacks, you can just keep her feet out so that you can buckle her in. This would prevent her from rolling and allow you to swaddle longer!

  53. I love your website! Thanks for all of the articles and advice in your blogs. My issue is that my 2 month old son can only be swaddled if he is totally sleep otherwise he fights you tooth and nail. Then he wakes up anywhere from after a few minutes to a couple of hours and spends his time grunting and trying to break free. Should I continue swaddling him? Is it worth it? Any advice?

  54. Alexis, I would really like your thoughts on whether letting a 6 month or older baby cry it out while swaddled is a good idea. If they can’t roll over or access their hands bc they’re strapped down, what other self-soothing methods do they have?

    Our 5 month old Houdini son still needs his double swaddle. He hasn’t started rolling over while swaddled yet. I’ve periodically tried one arm out or the zipadeezip with no success yet. He doesn’t like his arms free and with the zippy he rolls over to his tummy and gets mad and doesn’t roll back over or settle.

    At 3 months, he was going down at 8pm and only waking once at 4 or 5 to eat and then right back to sleep until 8am. He would even sleep til 7am without a peep sometimes. It was some wonderful sleep for me especially since I have a 2.5 year old also. Then 4 months hit. For the past month, he wakes up 3-5 times between 11pm and 6am.

    We have been working toward putting him down awake and have been doing it gradually since he was born bc we rocked our daughter to sleep and that blew up on us big time so we weren’t about to make that mistake again.

    His naps are pretty good and he seems to get enough rest during the day on most days. He seems to fall asleep fine on his own at bedtime. His bedtime routine is bottle, bath, pjs, and then rocking and singing before swaddling and putting him down. We use white noise and his room his dark. The only thing that could be hurting us is he does fall asleep with a pacifier. When he wakes up, simply replacing it does not do the trick. It requires us picking him up, some rocking and bouncing and then putting him back down. My husband goes in and does this in usually 5 min or less before 2am and after that point it requires a feeding to get him to go back to sleep. So we’ve basically added back another feeding we had dropped like 2 months ago. One other kind of potential and odd sleep assoc I may have created is that after I swaddle him, I give him some gas drops. It has just become a habit since he struggled with gas a lot as a newborn. I only give them to him again at night after the times he wakes to feed.

    He has a strong sucking need so I feel bad taking away the paci at this point since his arms are tucked away in the swaddle. With these multiple night wakings over the past month seemingly not getting any better, I’m afraid we are headed toward CIO for when he wakes up at night? But if he still requires the swaddle and we end up having to remove the paci as a potential sleep assoc problem, will he be able to CIO effectively and self soothe? Any other suggestions for getting him to stay asleep?

    Thank you! Anne

  55. I have a 7 week old baby. We are having the hardest time getting him to sleep on his back anywhere. All he wants to do is sleep on me, and we can get up to 5 hours this way. But it’s driving me nuts and interfering with the quality of my sleep. He is swaddled and tonight I noticed that right after I slowly put him down in his crib, his legs would fly up within the swaddle (we use SwaddleMe) and that’s what would jolt him awake. Then if I put pressure on his legs, he’d calm back down. Any advice for getting his legs more snug so they don’t wake him up?

  56. This website has been a huge comfort and encouragement to me the last two days–thank you!! I have one question, though. We still swaddle our 10-month-old for naps and bedtime, and he still seems to like it/benefit from it plenty. Especially now that we’re starting sleep training (:() because he’s become insistent that he needs to be cuddled close to sleep, the swaddle seems like an invaluable asset. But he started rolling over to sleep on his stomach, especially at night, about three weeks, maybe a month ago. I’d asked other moms but never heard anything from them or a pediatrician about needing to stop the swaddle at any point–in fact, I was told by others to keep it up as long as possible! But now I’m worrying about the swaddle when he rolls over…

    The thing is, and here’s my question–as far as my hubby and I can remember, we’ve never found him asleep on his stomach without at least one of his arms out (and probably never without both of them out). As far as we’re aware, he can’t actually roll over without pulling his arms over his head because he can’t lever himself over his shoulder. Now that we know we need to end swaddling, we’re planning to, but I’m doubtful it will work as well at least til we’re through the sleep training (we’re doing cio and it’s going ok-ish)… should I be worrying about him as much if his arms are out of the swaddle when he’s on his tummy? He always ends up with the swaddle wrapped around his middle in some form, sometimes off his legs as well as arms, and not up near his face… help, please!

  57. Our LO loved to be swaddle and it worked so great for her. We stopped when she was rolling over because of safety concerns. We transitioned her into the zipadee zip and it was truly a lifesaver. She slept so well in it and it gave me the peace of mind knowing it was safe for her!

  58. Thanks for mentioning the Zipadee-Zip. I tried it on my LO and he sleeps so soundly in it. My little guy likes to move around a lot and the Zipadee-Zip gives him all the comfort and security of a swaddle, but allows him to freely move around.

  59. Just wanted to share, for those struggling with swaddle blankets. I use 48 inch muslin blankets for my 10 week old baby and LOVE them. They’re a bit pricey, but worth the money.

    Good luck, moms and dads. We’ll get there someday!

  60. I highly recommend the Zipadee-Zip as well. This sleeping sack helped our family through the swaddle transition journey. To the sleepless parents out there, check it out. I got mine from SleepingBaby.

  61. Our LO loved to be swaddle but we stopped when she was rolling over because of safety concerns. We transitioned her into the Zipadee-Zip and it was truly a lifesaver. She slept so well in it and it gave me the peace of mind knowing it was safe for her!

  62. My little one was fighting the swaddle and waking up a lot, so I had to stop swaddling him. I switched to a swaddle transition blanket called Zipadee-Zip and that worked great. I recommend it.


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