Weaning from the Swaddle (Crazy Sleeper!)

Swaddling is one of those parent things that I do NOT understand how some people don’t do it?!?! ALL babies sleep better when swaddled! I’m so, so thankful I learned about swaddling (I actually remember shopping for Crissy’s first baby shower…for Stevie…and she had registered for a swaddle. I bought it for her but had ZERO clue what in the world it was!). With Kye we loved the swaddle so much that we were afraid to have him sleep without it. Seriously. We didn’t full wean him from the swaddle until he was almost 6 months old (you can read about it here and btw…seeing that bumper in his crib makes me want to slap myself!).

With Kye we waited so long and it was much longer than necessary. Did you know that a LOT of a baby’s learning actually occurs while in the crib? Swaddling is a wonderful sleep tool, but if used too long it can delay a baby’s development. Back in March Brittlynn started to break out of her swaddle (we use Miracle Blankets with her, with Kye we used the Swaddlemes. I do think the Miracle Blanket stayed on better and we will probably use those with the next baby!). Since Britt started sleeping through the night she NEVER wakes up in the night. Like seriously never. But she started waking and Zach would have to re-swaddle her. She would also bust out of it during naps and I would often have to re-swaddle her.

I remember from Kye’s swaddling days that when a baby is breaking out of the swaddle that it probably means it’s time to get rid of it. At that point the swaddle is disrupting their sleep because they are waking up attempting to escape it. On March 26th I tried to start the weaning process. I left out both of her arms for her nap. She fell asleep pretty quickly but I noticed she still had jerky arm movements and it would startle her. Get ready for some fun video monitor pics 😉

She ended up not sleeping well for that nap so for the next nap I left just one arm out. It went okay, but again she just wasn’t sleeping like she typically does.

I decided to go back to swaddling her. SO unlike me. Typically I’m a
“once I start something, I finish it” type parent. We transition and we
don’t look back. But I could tell she just wasn’t ready yet and I didn’t
want to push her. We actually started swaddling her tighter. The miracle blanket is a type swaddle where you wrap it around their bodies and since she was getting so strong she could break out if we didn’t do it super tight. It helped! She went back to sleeping soundly for naps and through the night thanks to the tight swaddling 🙂

About a month later (like April 18th I think) I decided to give it a go again. She had started breaking out of her swaddle but this time around she wouldn’t cry about it. Instead we’d find her happily sucking on her fingers. I decided to start this time with just one arm out and I did her right arm since those fingers are the ones we were typically catching her chewing on. She went down with no issues, but I tried not to have a heart attack…she is a finger sucker FOR SURE!!!

She slept like this through the night…so lady like 😉

That next morning I checked on her right away and found her like this…

Yes…her hand is out of the crib!

Her arm is between the crib and the part we can put up and down to get into her crib

Since we were leaving for Toronto soon (we left April 27th) I wanted to make sure she was fully weaned before our trip. I didn’t want Mom dealing with a partially swaddled baby! I took a day for each transition. One day with one arm out, then one day with two arms out.

Somehow she ALWAYS finds the side of the crib!

Then the day after I left both arms out I only swaddled her body, leaving her legs out.

I read that it’s common for babies to sleep with their arms spread WAY out like this

Finds those fingers!

Zach didn’t know not to swaddle her legs that night, but she still kept those arms out!

On April 22nd I completely unswaddled her. I did it the first time at night, because I knew she’d be the most sleepy then. It caused ZERO problems. Seriously, weaning her from the swaddle was THE easiest transition EVER. I’m glad I went back to swaddling and waited until it was better timing for her. It really made the whole thing painless and simple. We waited until Kye was almost 6 months old before fully unswaddling him…Brittlynn was about 4 1/2 months. 

First night

First nap the next day
I made sure to tuck her shirt into her pants and pushed up the sleeves so she could get to those hands!

Since we were finding her up against the side of the crib so often I did buy one of those breathable bumpers. I don’t really feel 100% okay about using them as they are NOT considered “SIDS safe.” However, I caught her chewing on the side of her crib and I don’t think choking on wood chips would be a good thing either! So I put it in her crib…but honestly it doesn’t do anything. She just pushes it down and still gets her limbs stuck in-between the rails! Waste of money! When those little limbs get stuck I just go in, move her, and leave again. She always goes right back to sleep.

She did AWESOME not being swaddled. She would play with her feet often (we’d find her in the morning with the foot of her pjs soaking wet) but she was happy and slept better than she had before. She used to wake up at 6 from her 5 nap and cry and cry. Now that she’s not swaddled, we have to wake her up at 6:40 for her bath or she’d keep right on sleeping!

Weaning Brittlynn from the swaddle was FOR SURE the right choice and the right timing. She needed that time in her crib to work on new skills. The day before I completely unswaddled her for bedtime she rolled over for the first time from her back to stomach (more on that soon). I couldn’t believe it! On April 24th she rolled from her back to her stomach in her crib during her 1:00 nap. She got SUPER upset about it so I went in and rolled her back over but this is how I found her at the end of that nap:

Not only on her belly, but also somehow with her arm out of her shirt!

I had a feeling EARLY on in Britt’s life that she would be a stomach sleeper. When she was a little, little baby she would be comforted by us holding her stomach against us. I have never put her to sleep on her belly. I still continue to (and will continue to!) put her on her back to sleep every single time I lay her down. It scares me to death that she sleeps on her tummy, but she is the one deciding it. If she’s old enough and strong enough to roll herself over to her stomach then I have to assume she’s strong enough to roll back. But I totally check on her WAY more often than I used to. With the video monitor and I’ll sometimes sneak a peak into her room just to double check and make sure I see the Angel Care monitor blinking green. 

The night of April 24th she slept on he stomach the entire night for the first time.

I’m SO thankful we own a video monitor. Not only do I like being able to see her for safety reasons, but it’s also hilarious. I check the monitor all the time and laugh out loud at how I find my child in her crib! She’s a CRAZY sleeper! Kye ALWAYS slept on his back. We laid him down on his back and he would never move. We’d find him in the same exact spot the next morning. Not Brittlynn. Who knows how you’ll find her!!!!

Most often we find her with some part of her body touching part of the crib in someway.

Notice the left arm completely out of the crib and against the wall

Typically she will have the fingers in her mouth while sleeping…I WISH she was a paci baby as I have NO CLUE how we’ll get rid of the fingers?!?!

She pulled DOWN the mesh bumper to get to the crib

Arm out over the bumper!

Here’s a video of her enjoying the side of the crib…she just talks and talks about it!
I love that her grin is so huge that you can still see it on the monitor!

How in the world is that comfortable!?!?

Even though she’s not sitting up yet and is nowhere near pulling herself up in the crib, I did start to put the side of the crib up every time we put her to sleep. She’s just so wild who knows what she may do next!!! RIGHT when I lay her down in her crib she immediately rolls to her stomach. Typically she sleeps on her stomach the entire time but I do also see her on her side a good bit, never on her back though. It’s like she KNOWS she’s supposed to sleep on her back and does it just to freak me out haha!

What will REALLY freak you out is when you look at your video monitor and don’t see a baby. She’s gotten so crazy when she sleeps that she will move out of the vision of the camera. She’s also so “mobile” that the Angel Care Monitor has gone off a few times. We RUN in her room to find her way down at the end of the crib all smashed against the end of it.

I’m glad I weaned Britt from the swaddle when I did. It really was PERFECT timing. Now she’s free to be her crazy sleepin’ self with nothing holding her back! I have a feeling that when the time comes for her to move to a “big girl” bed that we’ll be needing to cushion the ground with pillows, ready for her to fall!


  1. Meg
    May 21, 2012 / 1:31 am

    Those Breathable Bumpers are totally worthless!  Definitely a waste of money.  Caleb's limbs are always falling out through the slats which is kind of annoying but what are you going to do?  I have tried making the bumper super tight and switching the location of the Velcro latches, but no luck!

  2. emilysparker
    May 21, 2012 / 6:43 pm

     Meg glad I'm not the only one!!!! I'm just going to take it out…she gets stuck anyway! I just go in there, move her and she goes right back to sleep 😉

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