Swaddling your baby is useful to help them sleep longer during the newborn period – but is there any particular time when you should stop swaddling your baby?
When to Stop Swaddling
Yes, there is a particular time when you should stop swaddling. You should stop swaddling when your baby is able to roll over.
This is a developmental milestone that usually occurs around 3 months of age. Your baby may achieve this milestone earlier or later than that, but when they can roll over, the swaddle needs to go.
Why you need to stop swaddling
Continuing to swaddle a baby after this point is a big safety risk.
They can roll themselves and end up face-down on the mattress. To lift their head up, the baby needs to push down onto their arms, which they won’t be able to do if they are swaddled. Trying to lift your head off the ground from such a position, without use of the arms, is incredibly difficult and most babies will not have the strength in their neck and other relevant muscles to do so, nor the coordination to do so quickly.
In addition to the safety risk, continuing to restrict their movement will also inhibit their development and their hand-eye coordination. When swaddling, you also need to make sure your baby is not swaddled too much, and that they are swaddled correctly.
Swaddling was advised against for a long time as it was believed to cause hip problems. Be sure that any swaddle used allows free movement of the hips and legs. Otherwise, there is a risk of hip dysplasia. Swaddling correctly can avoid all these issues.
When your baby can roll, it is better to switch them to a sleeping bag which has sleeves. This lets them push up if they roll, but will prevent them kicking off their blankets and getting cold.
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Did swaddling work for you? What are your best baby sleep tips? Let me know in a comment.