Figuring out swaddling is difficult enough, then, after a few months, when you’ve finally got it all figured out, you have to transition them out of the swaddle! I kept Arthur in a swaddle as long as I could, because it was SO easy to get him to sleep with it, but it is not safe to keep babies tightly swaddled when they are approaching the milestone of rolling over.
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So many options, so little help.
Just like any other common parenting trouble, there are plenty of products for this, from one-armed swaddlers to “swaddle straps” to “magic sleepsuits” that are so thickly padded that even though baby’s arms aren’t tied down they are still mostly immobilized.
Then of course there is always the option to just stop swaddling cold turkey and let them cry it out until they get used to it.
I have tried so many different ways to transition my babies out of swaddles, and it wasn’t until my third that I finally figured out the most AMAZING method.
The very best swaddle transition just might be sitting in your drawer already!
When it was time for Charlotte to transition out of the swaddle, I came up with this pattern, and I have to say, it is one of the most brilliant things that has ever come to me. And the best part is it is SO easy!
If you have a sewing machine, or even a needle and thread, you can make one for yourself in just a few minutes.
Making your own super simple transition swaddle
- Start with a pair of 3-6 or 6-9 month zippered pajamas. I like to get all of my baby clothes secondhand, but new ones will still be much more cost-effective than a specific swaddle outfit.
- Turn the pajamas inside-out.
- Sew the sleeves closed about 2 inches from the shoulder seam.
- This may seem especially short and like not enough room, but baby’s arms will actually end up with their elbow at the “armpit” of the outfit and their hands at the “shoulder.” The purpose is to give them enough room to bring their arms up into the ideal position and to have enough room to lift their heads or roll back over if they roll onto their stomach, but still be restricted enough to keep from hitting themselves in the face with the startle reflex.
- Snip off the ends of the sleeves, turn it back right-side-out, and zip up baby for a safe and cozy night’s sleep!
Still too difficult? You can even just tie the sleeves in knots and it works the same way!
This transition swaddle can be worn by itself just like jammies, over their outfit for naps, or layered with wearable blankets on top or warmer clothes underneath in colder weather.