A baby is completely unable to protect himself and dependent on you. They are so fragile that even the smallest things may startle them, even during their sleep. This could cause troubles like incomplete naps and sleeps.
This is why people many people in the past used to make their babies sleep on their tummies. So that they do not spread their arms out suddenly being startled and wake up. However, now, most people swaddle their babies to provide them the protection they need to feel.
In fact, swaddling is the process of wrapping the baby’s body with a cloth or blanket or anything of the like to keep his movements restricted. Apparently, this restriction provides the baby with a feeling of safety that he felt in the womb which is similar to a swaddle. However, you cannot swaddle a baby forever. In fact, swaddling a baby past his swaddling age can be life-threatening.
But, it is not easy for babies to learn to sleep without being swaddled all of a sudden. It is a huge change for them and can cause disturbances to sleep. So, it is necessary to learn how to get baby to sleep without swaddle for good without causing any harm.
How to Get Baby to Sleep without Swaddle: Why unswaddle?
You may think it is not a big deal if your baby sleeps wrapped in something or not. However, it actually is for the baby. Babies usually get swaddled to sleep until the age of four to five months. However, it may vary from baby to baby.
Why should you unswaddle? For the following reasons:
- Safety: A baby of four to five months will learn to turn over and many such movements. Apparently, he will do it automatically during sleep. And, a baby turning over with his arms locked in a swaddle could injure his limbs and even suffocate.
- Freedom: The older babies get, the more freedom they need for their movements. You may notice that your baby himself is trying to loosen the swaddle to move. That’s the cue to unswaddle your baby.
- The departure of the Moro or Startle Reflex: If you have seen a baby sleep, you have also seen him getting startled, spreading his arms and waking up. Apparently, this is the Moro or Startle reflex and it goes away with time. In fact, babies mostly swaddle to combat this reflex. So, if it leaves, your baby is old enough to stop swaddling.
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How To Get Baby To Sleep Without Swaddle: The Process
There are babies who sleep fine without swaddles. Again there are babies who give up swaddling very easily. But, again, there are babies who can not let go of the habit easily and struggles with sleep without swaddles. So, here are some ways to accustom your baby to sleep without a swaddle.
1. Cold Turkey or Drastic Approach.
You can make your baby learn to sleep without a swaddle by simply removing the swaddle all of a sudden. This will definitely involve a lot of crying in the crib and sleep troubles. So, you may feel it is too drastic and heartless.
However, if you think your baby can take it then you can try. But, it is best to avoid it.
2. A softer, gradual approach.
If you unswaddle only parts of the baby’s body at first then the baby will be exposed to lesser shock. In fact, you can start by letting his arms free first, or legs. Then, you can gradually move on to the later stages and finally remove the saddle form the chest.
However, if your baby cries during a stage or is uncomfortable, let him first settle in that condition before moving to the next stage.
3. Start with naps.
You should always start small before going big. Start to unswaddle your baby during naps. This will cause less loss of sleep if he is not comfortable.
Then, gradually unswaddle your baby for each nap and finally for the whole night.
4. Find a replacement-activity to soothe.
The main thing your baby needs is the feeling of safety and shelter. You can kee the lights dim and the environment perfect for sleeping. Furthermore, you can sing a lullaby, read a book, etc to make your baby fall asleep.
If your baby is startled then you can gently place your hand on his arms over the chest. You can rub his feet and hands too. All you need to do is make your baby feel safe without the swaddle.
5. Use sleeping bags or other products.
There are endless baby products available that help them sleep in various positions. You can consider a sleeping bag or any such product to help your baby through the unswaddling process.
How To Get Baby To Sleep Without Swaddle: The Safety Concerns
Make sure you start at the right time: You must observe your child well. If you see him irritated, crying or restless in a swaddle then it’s time.
Watch against suffocating positions: Babies often accidentally turn to positions that may suffocate them. Make sure there is nothing around to suffocate him and check on him frequently.
Postures that can harm limbs: When free from their swaddles babies often do not know what position to sleep in. They often move too much which could make them fall or hurt their limbs. You need to guide him through it.
You should never be careless with babies no matter how easy or negligible an activity seems. Little things are big deals to these tiny beings. So, it is best to observe their responses and reactions to each change.
Moreover, you need to be gentle and slow with babies. Do not just impose a big change on them. Now, you know how to get baby to sleep without the swaddle and you should keep our tips in mind because swaddles are a big deal to babies.