Ready to transition out of the Swaddle?

This is a common question:

Hi Tracy, you came and spoke at my breastfeeding support group last week and I had asked a question about when and how to transition from the swaddle. My daughter will be 14 weeks on Wednesday and loves sucking on her hands. I think she finds it soothing. She still has a little of the startle reflex but she is gaining control of her hands more and more every day. I had asked you at the group meeting how to transition out of the swaddle but I forgot what you said — something about starting with the dominant or less dominant hand out first and for how long? If you could remind me, I would be so thankful!


It’s a great question, I’m happy to help.

If you want to take it slow then start with the least dominant hand out first. Do that for up to three days and then take out the dominant arm keeping the body wrapped tightly from the chest down. Do that for about 3 days and then transition to a sleep sack.


 If you want to go faster just go cold turkey and switch to the sleep sack.  You will need to offer lots of extra support over three days while she gets used to it. You will have to do lots of extra pick ups at bedtime and lots of pick ups in the night. Between three and four months is a great time to do it.  She needs to practice controlling her body and develop muscle control in the bed time atmosphere of her crib or wherever you’re putting her down to sleep.


Tracy Spackman is a certified gentle sleep coach with .

4 thoughts on “Ready to transition out of the Swaddle?

  1. Cherise says:

    We could not stop swaddling my son cold turkey. Instead we turned for help from SleepingBaby. Their Zipadee-Zip helped my son transition well out of his swaddle. Without he would simply startle himself and be unable to go to sleep quickly. I recommend it to all my mommy friends 🙂

  2. Leaona567 says:

    Look at your little guy! I have been using the Zipadee-Zip on my son now for 3 months. Not a day goes by that he does not use it. Its amazing at how simple and effective the swaddle is! I gift Zipadee-Zip to all my first time momma friends! I tell them to use this swaddle transition sack the moment they see thier little ones breaking out of the swaddle. They always thank me later for this tip!

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