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I have a very active 4 1/2 month old baby, who has been swaddled since birth. For the last month, he has been breaking out of his swaddle (we use the SwaddleMe brand) and waking up several times per night, which seems to indicate that he's ready to be weaned from it. I've tried leaving one arm out, intending to move on to 2 arms out and eventually moving him to a sleepsack, but he flails his arms wildly and is unable to sleep (despite soother and white noise). He used to get up only 1-2 times in the night to feed then return to bed peacefully, but is now waking up every hour or two, having busted out of his swaddle (and often having rolled himself onto his stomach, screaming). It's clear he's done with swaddling, yet I can't get him to sleep without it. Any suggestions?

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1 Answer 1

First of all, check if your baby still has a Moro reflex based on this test - the Moro disappears between 4 and 6 months, though for some babies it is never severe enough to interfere with sleep. Since your child does roll, swaddling is no longer safe, though. Stomach sleep, which he can do now that he can roll himself, also counteracts the Moro reflex. For a baby who could not yet roll I might try a harder to break swaddle product, such as the Swaddle Strap.

Safe for babies who roll and still have a Moro reflex, or even just love swaddling, you can try one of the "step down" swaddle products. The Zippadee-Zip or Baby Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit are commonly recommended and I have heard great things from other parents about both, though a few negative reviews of the Sleep Suit say it did nothing.

If you don't want to invest in a step down from swaddling product or find it doesn't work, you may just need to wait a few minutes without intervening - check with your pediatrician but mine said up to 20 was acceptable at this age, we only did 5 minutes at a time - while he figures out how to stomach sleep.

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