Transitioning Out of the Swaddle

My Experience

My little one LOVED to be swaddled. Since she was brought home from the hospital, we would wrap her up like a tiny burrito and hold her or lay her down for naps. I honestly didn’t put clothes on the child until she was about 1.5 months because she loved to being swaddled or naked (skin to skin). I always kind of worried about the day we would have to stop swaddling her and I feared those amazing long stretches of sleep would dissolve. (We were luckily getting 3 to 5 hours at this time. Thank the good Lord for Moms On Call.)


As a new mom, I questioned everything. What if she hates not being swaddled? What if she rolls over in the swaddle? What if her startle reflex wakes her up? When will I know when she should transition? (You get it.) I’d read too many blog posts and too many new parent books to officially freak myself out. But guess what?

To my surprise, one week before she turned 3 months, she decided she didn’t want to be swaddled any longer. I was laying her down to sleep as I had each night before, but this night she squirmed and whined until I let the zipper down and her arms came flying out of that straight jacket-like contraption she wore religiously. I asked my husband, AJ what was wrong with her? The books said she wouldn’t roll over until around 4 months and she LOVED the swaddle, so what’s up with her?

I decided to give it a whirl. I put her in the Nested Bean sleep sack I had purchased from a Consignment Shop (for $15) and tucked her in. I decided to leave the swaddle zipped up around her body, but leave her hands free. Y’all, I laid her down, she fell asleep and she slept for 11 HOURS! ELEVEN HOURS! (I was happy for her, but you know I woke up every 4 hours because my boobs were leaking and I was concerned she wasn’t breathing or something.)

Now, I’m not here to say that it’s going to be that easy, but I hope it will be for your sake.

Recommended Products for 0 – 8 Months

So, there are a ton of products and I was gifted regular fleece sleep sacks at my baby shower, but she didn’t care for those. Here are two products that I have used for transitioning out of the swaddle. Both worked well and both have pros and cons.

Nested Bean Sleep Sack

+ I really liked the material and the bean filled egg on the chest of the baby. This little egg is supposed to help baby fall back asleep with the sensation that mommas hand is on his/her chest.

— The main negative for me was that Brooke’s hands were exposed and got freezing old at night. (I read this is normal because their circulatory system is still developing.) Your baby is cold or warm depending on the temp of their torso. Anyways, I didn’t like her hands were cold and she could easily scratch her face. Sooo…I bought the Zipadee-Zip.

It retails around $37 on Amazon.

Best from 3-6 months of age

Zipadee-Zip Sleep Sack by Sleeping Baby

+ I love that the starfish design allows an easy transition out of a swaddle. The wing shaped arms allows for the startle reflex to still be “caught” and it keeps her hands covered so they are warm and unable to scratch her face.

— I do wish the material was a little nicer quality. It starts to pile up after a few washes.

This product is famous for being on Shark Tank and has great reviews all around.

It retails around $37 on Amazon.

Best from 3 – 8 months of age.

Check out Sleeping Baby’s website – sometimes they have sales!

Another transition sleep suit I’ve heard wonderful things about from mom friends is the Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit. It’s priced at about $40 on Amazon. I never used this one, so I can’t really tell if you it’s worth the money or not.

Steps to Transitioning

  • Swaddle(s) Only (Since birth – until baby is ready)

    • We kept our baby naked and swaddled her in 1 cotton swaddle and then a fleece swaddle. She was cold if we didn’t use 2 and we found she slept much better with 2.
    • When you feel your baby is starting to show signs of “Swaddle Resistance” and they will not go to sleep until you take that darn swaddle off of them, then try these steps to transition.
  • Swaddle + Sleep Sack (~ 1 week)

    • Always make sure your baby is warm, but not too warm. Touch their torso and add or remove clothing as necessary.
    • Our baby girl likes to have layers on and we leave our house chilly (~70 degrees), so she wore long sleeved PJ’s + swaddle zipped up over her body, but her arms were free, then we put her into the Nested Bean Sleep Sack
    • She slept 10-12 Hours a night consistently for 1 week
    • After 1 week, I removed the swaddle (she started kicking her feet alot)
  • Sleep Sack + PJ’s

    • During the “transition” above, I hopped online to find something for her frigid fingers. I discovered Zipadee-Zip from another mom friend and decided to give it a try. I am an Amazon Prime mom after all, so it was super easy to order.
    • Once the Zipadee-Zip came in the mail, I put this on her. She continued to sleep long stretches and also took longer naps.
    • I purchased a small which states it is good until 8 months old.

Whatever you choose, I hope the transition goes well for you and for your baby. Good luck mama!

Your Friend, Amanda