how do I wean my baby from swaddling?

The chapter that discusses weaning from the swaddle is Chapter 15; titled “The Magical 6th “S” : Sweet Dreams!” which covers sleep patterns, weaning from the 5 S’s (swaddle), etc.

Your baby may not be ready to be weaned from the swaddle just yet. Many babies need swaddling up to 8, 9 or 10 months of age (but rarely longer). A great tool to be used when weaning from the swaddle & for sleep in general is our Super-Soothing Sleep Sounds CD of white noise. Babies find it much easier to wean from the swaddle when there is sound in the room. Make sure you are playing the CD of white noise continuously throughout the night at the sound level of a soft shower. Dr. Karp recommends using the CD for the first 12 months & many parents find it beneficial to use for years to come! It not only helps with weaning from the swaddle but also will help prevent night waking from teething, slight hunger, loud noises, etc.

When you begin to wean your daughter from swaddling, begin by leaving one arm out. If she is waking often, she still needs the full swaddle. Every few weeks try the one arm swaddle again and see how she fares. Eventually she will sleep just as well with the one arm out of the swaddle (continue to play white noise throughout this process) and once she is sleeping soundly with one arm out, you can try & stop the swaddling altogether.

15 Responses to “how do I wean my baby from swaddling?”

  1. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Megan, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’d suggest two things to help a baby like yours:
    1) use a strong, rumbly white noise – as loud as a shower – all night/naps (I prefer our specially engineered soothing sounds CD…the sounds are most like the womb of any white noise…and CDs are easier to use than machines in the car and on trips…and they don’t make radiation, like cell phones do). I’d use that at least for 12 months…
    2) Swaddle him, but let him sleep belted securely into a full reclined swing or infant seat…that way you don’t have to worry about rolling over. Then try to wean the swaddling in 1-2 months (as shown in teh book)…to see if he’s ready.

    Best of luck!

  2. Rachel Brimmer Says:

    My baby is 3.5 months old. I still swaddle him at night to sleep becuase he spazes. His arms go out and he freaks. I’ve been told when babies do this they feel like they are falling. I don’t swaddle him during the day for his naps but I do tend to old him and rock him for his naps. ShouldI swaddle him for his naps as well as at night? I don’t know if I should still swaddle him at night? I don’t want him to spaz and wake himself up. How do I know when I can stop swaddling him?

  3. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Rachel, Swaddling is for at least the first 4 months of life…but some babies need it for 5 , 6 or even 7 months. I recommend you swaddle for all sleep and also that you use white noise (like our CD of specially engineered womb sounds) for all sleep periods….use the sound until at least the first birthday. THe right type of white noise boosts a baby’s sleep, gets them ready to wean from the swaddling at an earlier age…and helps babies sleep through teething and growth spurts!

    Have fun! Dr. Karp

  4. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Christie,

    No you didnt miss the boat…thumb sucking usually happens between 3-4 months of age…but I am wondering if you are doing some other things that might help you:1) using a rough womb sound all naps and nights, 2) swaddling snugly, 3) using the reverse psychology technique to teach yoru little boy how to keep the pacifier in his mouth?

  5. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Jamie,
    To avoid finger sucking you should try the binki again (offering it right at the end of a feeding…using the reverse psychology method mentioned in the book/DVD). TO prevent rolling over, you can swaddle her and buckler her into a fully reclined swing or infant seat (not car seat).

    All best, Dr. Karp

  6. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Jen, As I have previously commented…that is of no concern. The sound in the womb is louder than a vacuum cleaner 24/7….I recommend a sound only as loud as a shower (or soft shower) for sleep and crying periods…and no additional sound all the rest of the day. All best wishes, Dr. Karp

  7. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Kelly, I would ry different white noise and maybe even the swing (for calming and to keep him in a safe position)…see earlier answers I have given here.

  8. Dr_Karp Says:

    yes it’s fine…as loud as a shower (about 65-70dB)..many kids (and adults) use it for years!

  9. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Diana,
    Yes, swaddling is still OK at this time…and there is no risk to the baby wrapped and snug in a fully reclined swing, but are you using a strong white noise!!? That is key to helping wean from swaddling and the swing. THere is NO need to do cry it out, if what you are doing is working to help everyone get good sleep. If you want to learn more, there are lots of specific suggestions in my new sleep book. All best, Dr. Karp (sorry for the short response….)

  10. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Kate,
    Are you using a strong white noise!!? I think our specially engineered sounds are best (rain on the roof or hair dryer). Make sure you are practicing tummy time exercises and use the sound for all naps, too. If you want to learn more, there are lots of specific suggestions in my new sleep book. All best, Dr. Karp (sorry for the short response….)

  11. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Emily,
    Yes, you don’t want your swaddled baby to be on the stomach. That is why I often recommend the baby wrapped and snug in a fully reclined swing…and are you using a strong white noise!!? Please read the info on this in my new sleep book. All best, Dr. Karp (sorry for the short response….)

  12. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Elaine,
    If he sleeps well with one arm swaddled for a couple of nights, you can try no swaddling…but make sure you are using the best white noise! That get’s continued for at least the first year.
    Dr. K

  13. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Rachel, Please look for earlier posts discussing this…you need to do some things so she doesn’t sleep swaddled on the stomach.

    All best, Dr. K

  14. Dr_Karp Says:

    4 months is a good time to try the weaning…but you HAVE TO use the right type of white noise for all sleep times…or else your baby is more likely to start waking up at night and may push you to do sleep training.

  15. carolyn Carlin Says:

    Hi! I love all the advice you give! I thought I’d share something that was a lifesaver for me when I transitioned our little girl out of the swaddle because for some reason doing the one arm out thing just wasn’t working for her… it was too much freedom and her one arm would get cold. I found this thing called the Zipadee-Zip and it was a lifesaver. Our daughter who literally wouldn’t sleep longer than 30 minutes without her swaddle or with one arm out, slept 12 hours the first night in this thing! I though it might help some other moms who have this problem. I found it on because another mom recommended it in a forum I’m in on baby center. It made our swaddle transition no transition at all! I hope that helps someone out there! :)

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