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Cold Turkey-ing the Swaddle

By caseymullins |

My womb must be the safest most comfortable and secure place on the entire planet because Addie slept swaddled until her first birthday and it certainly looks like Vivi is following in her sister’s footsteps. Things were a little more difficult with Addie since there weren’t as many huge swaddling blankets readily available (most of hers were flannel) and there certainly wasn’t the Woombie on the scene. I could burrito wrap that child so well she wouldn’t wriggle all night, and man, that kid slept good. I don’t remember how we broke Addie off the swaddle but I remember it just becoming a non-issue, maybe once she started crawling.

Vivi on the other hand sleeps quite happily in her straightjacket Woombie for naps and at night. She has quite a bit of mobility in them considering we find her upside down and sideways most mornings. She can still get her little paws to her mouth (albeit covered with fabric) but she certainly doesn’t startle awake as easily all snug in her sleeping bag. I’m not horribly concerned with stopping the swaddle, she still has plenty of room in her bags and it really is a safe way for her to sleep, I just wonder how many other babies out there are coming up on the last quarter of their first year still snug as a bug in a swaddling blanket.

It’s situations like this were the age gap between these girls gets me. I honestly don’t remember how we broke Addie of the swaddle. It obviously wasn’t a huge deal or I’d remember it. Or perhaps it was so horrible that I’ve blocked it from memory. Either way, I take comfort in the fact that I don’t have to swaddle my now seven year old so somewhere along the line she grew out of it. I’m not even sure how one would go about tapering a baby off the swaddle, it’s kind of a all-or-nothing, cold turkey deal isn’t it?

To those of you fresh from the trenches of the swaddle … how did you get out?

P.S. Swaddle starts to look and sound really funny after about seven minutes. Swaaaaahhhdddlllleeee ….

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About caseymullins



Casey Mullins is a writer, photographer, and nice person living in Indianapolis with her two little girls, husband, and a one eyed cat. She writes regularly at her personal blog moosh in indy and can be found trolling local bakeries and napping whenever possible. Read bio and latest posts → Read Casey's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “Cold Turkey-ing the Swaddle

  1. Elle says:

    We recently broke our little guy of it at 5 months. He started rolling over onto his stomach while swaddled but didn’t appear to be able to right himself again (we were using a much more restricting swaddle than the Woombie). It admittedly kind of sucked at first. We had to go back to rocking him completely asleep because otherwise he would just thrash around like a wild animal. At first he seemed to HATE being on his stomach, but he would still immediately roll to his stomach as soon as we put him in his crib. We would go in there and he would be pushed up like it was tummy time just screaming. THEN, it seemed like he actually liked to sleep on his stomach, but he would wake himself up whenever he would roll over. FINALLY, we’re able to put him down on his back and he’s able to find a comfortable position without waking himself up. He’s also in a sleep sack, which in my opinion, really doesn’t resemble a swaddle at all since it’s so loose…but I like that it’s basically a wearable blanket so he stays warm but safe. I feel like the problem with our transition was because he suddenly became really mobile, but he still didn’t have enough control over his movements to execute them without waking himself up/getting frustrated. Obviously you shouldn’t really have that problem with Vivi!

  2. Jenny F says:

    My daughter is 11 1/2 months old and still naps/sleeps in her woombie. There are some days I worry I’ll be sending her to sleepovers when she’s 14 with a custom made woombie (they’re called sleeping bags, right?). But most days I realize that in the the scheme of things, this really isn’t a big deal. She’s comfortable, she’s happy and she’s sleeping through the night. What more can a mom ask for?

    I must admit, I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one who hasn’t tried to wean my almost-1-year-old from the swaddle yet. I just keep assuming that at some point she will tell me she’s tired of it – just like she’s done with everything else (breastfeeding at 10 months, being rocked to sleep, her paci, etc). I even bought the woombie that has the snap closed arm holes with every intention to being to wean her off of it after the holidays, but that just hasn’t happened yet.

  3. Maura says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one with a baby who looks to need swaddling…well, forever? She’s 6 months now and we’re still swaddling pretty much every night though no longer for naps. She’s just so active! Without swaddling she moves around so much she either never falls to sleep or wakes herself up long before she’s rested. Also, since we co-sleep, she’s not the easiest kid to sleep next to! When she’s swaddled I can at least avoid getting whacked in the face; that is, until she wriggles an arm out. I can’t believe how strong she is, and how well she can squirm in that thing!

  4. Jessica says:

    My older son was 7 months old when we stopped swaddling. I started by wrapping him up in his miracle blanket with one arm free. After two or three days of that, I wrapped the blanket around him with both arms free. It seemed to work. Our younger son was escaping the MB by 2 months old (still haven’t figured out how! lol) so we just cold turkey quit with him around that time. No problems with that either. I guess it depends on the baby.

  5. Barb @ getupandplay says:

    Casey! I didn’t know you were an extended swaddler! We swaddled Charlie ’til he was one (and weaned) and going strong on George at 8 months (well, only during naps because we’re sleep training him now, sob.)

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