Swaddling Tips

While in the womb, baby is tightly cuddled inside mom for nine months, so it’s natural that they would find comfort from swaddling after birth. Swaddling is a technique that can help calm fussy or crying babies and even help them sleep longer during their first few months of life, which is something all moms and dads need.

There are a couple of important things to remember in order to swaddle your baby safely. Follow these important swaddling safety tips.

Always place your baby to sleep on their back.

A baby should never be placed on their stomach for sleeping, but especially not while swaddled.

Baby’s crib should be bare.

Do not put any loose blankets, pillows, bumpers or stuffed animals in the bed with your baby as they can be a suffocation hazard. Baby’s crib should be bare, with just a tight-fitting sheet.

Avoid swaddling with a traditional blanket.

Avoid using a traditional blanket for swaddling. A traditional blanket can more easily become loose or undone when used for swaddling than a wearable blanket swaddle. Loose blankets should be avoided as they can become a suffocation hazard.

When there are signs of rolling, it’s time to stop swaddling.

Swaddling should be discontinued when your baby shows signs of rolling over or breaking free from the swaddle wrap. When this occurs, transition your baby into a HALO SleepSack® wearable blanket. While it varies for every baby, generally a baby should not be swaddled past 4 months.

Make sure the swaddle is securely wrapped.

To reduce the risk of the fabric accidentally covering baby’s mouth or nose, the swaddle wrap must be snug, appropriately sized, positioned around baby’s torso and securely fastened.  

Some infants want to self-soothe by sucking on their fingers or touching their face. Positioning your baby’s arms across his chest or elbows bent with hands towards his face is helpful for allowing movement, if your baby is unsettled with the confinement of swaddling. If your baby is fighting to be free of the swaddle wrap we suggest transitioning to swaddling with arms out or switching to a SleepSack wearable blanket.

Always select the appropriate sized swaddle for your baby.

We recommend selecting a size based on your baby’s current weight and length. It’s important that the swaddle is not too large for your baby. It should not be purchased like clothing as something that your child will grow into. Please refer to the SleepSack® wearable blanket size chart to select the proper size for your baby.

Your baby is safest in his/her own crib or bassinet, not in your bed.

Bed-sharing can increase a child’s risk of suffocation by five times.

Avoid overheating.

Swaddling may increase the chance your baby will overheat, so avoid letting your baby get too hot. Your baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. To avoid overheating, baby should be dressed in just lightweight pajamas or a bodysuit underneath the swaddle. Keep baby’s room at 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do not tightly swaddle your baby’s hips.

Your baby should be able to freely move and flex his/her legs.  Look for a swaddle with a generous sack design, like the HALO® SleepSack® swaddle.  It’s recognized as “hip healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

The HALO® SleepSack® swaddle makes safe swaddling easy.

The HALO SleepSack swaddle with its adjustable swaddle wrap, immobilizes baby’s arms to prevent the “Moro” or startle reflex. And, it is the original 3-way adjustable swaddle that adjusts to your baby’s sleep style. Swaddle arms in, one or both arms out to ensure baby’s best sleep and an easy and gentle transition to the Halo SleepSack wearable blanket. 

Watch the video at this link to learn more.


When It’s Time to Stop Swaddling

and How to Make the Transition Easier

Swaddling can be a parent’s favorite tool to help calm their baby into a restful nights sleep. But unfortunately, swaddling comes with an expiration date. Most parents wonder about the best way to identify when baby should discontinue swaddling, and we’re here to help! 

First and foremost, it is important to note that every baby is different. Not all babies will be ready to transition at the same time. It’s important to watch your baby for key developmental milestones to know when it’s the right time to start the transition.  

The general rule of thumb is that your baby should start the transition process when they show signs of rolling over from back to front, when they show signs of breaking free from the swaddle wrap, or when the swaddle becomes disruptive to sleep.  

If your baby can roll onto her tummy, it’s important that swaddling be discontinued. Your little one must be able to protect her airway when she rolls onto her tummy by using her arms to push her upper body up.

If she’s showing resistance to the swaddle, try swaddling baby’s arms in one of the many positions the HALO SleepSack Swaddle allows. The Halo SleepSack swaddle was designed with a flexible 3-way swaddle to help make baby’s transition to the HALO SleepSack wearable blanket a gradual process.


Step-down Approach to Gradually Transition from the SleepSack Swaddle to the SleepSack Wearable Blanket

You may choose to follow the steps below in sequential order or move around depending upon your baby’s sleep habits and preferences.

One Arm Out

If baby is showing resistance to the swaddle wrap with both arms in, try swaddling only one arm by positioning your baby’s dominant arm out of the swaddle. In this position, your little one will get a gradual introduction to the feeling of being able to move her arm freely.  Put baby to sleep wrapped one arm out for a few nights, so they become comfortable and accustomed to it.

Both Arms Out

After your baby has mastered this transition, wrap your baby with both arms out of the swaddle. In this position she has the freedom to move her limbs, while at the same time feeling the snug and familiar comfort of the swaddle wrap around her torso.

SleepSack Wearable Blanket

When this transition period is over, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be dressed in wearable blankets, such as the Halo SleepSack wearable blanket, for safe sleep through her first year.

Start early and take it slow.

Start paying attention to your baby’s developmental cues. If you notice changes in how they are sleeping, or if they start to show signs of rolling over, it’s time to start the transition process.

Take your time through this process, allowing your little one to graduate through each phase. Rushing can produce anxiety for both you and your little one. If an entire night with one arm or both arms out of the swaddle is too intimidating, try graduating to the next stage during baby’s naps throughout the day. 

With this strategy and your trusty friend, the Halo SleepSack swaddle, the transition won’t be one to fear. Tackle it with grace and confidence. You’ve got this!

Empowering Through Education to Improve Child Safety