Dropping the Swaddle

Drop the Swaddle

We’ve come to a point (at 11.5 weeks) where Amalia is no longer down with being swaddled. Up until now, she has felt comforted by swaddles, and as soon as they’re on, she calms down and immediately yawns. They signaled bedtime or naptime, and made her feel safe.

All of a sudden, something switched and she screams when I try to put her in it. This is clearly a sign that we need to drop the swaddle, but I’m terrified that she won’t sleep! I’ve asked around, and have gotten some great tips, but also need your help. This is the advice I’ve received so far:

1. Try the Magic Merlin Sleepsuit. We have one, but haven’t tried it yet, I’m afraid she’s just going to have her hands up in her mouth (current obsession) or in her face the whole time. Has anyone had success with this?

2. Swaddle her with one arm out. We’ve tried this and she woke herself up with her hand after 30 minutes. Do we just have to soldier few the first few tries?

Let me know what you’ve done successfully to drop the swaddle… I’m not sure where to start!

Update: Yesterday she did a full nap in the Magic Merlin and then slept in it overnight from 7pm-7am with no issues. We’re going to try it for a few more days, and if it sticks, we’ll stay with it until she rolls.

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  1. Lee R said:

    We had to drop the swaddle at 12 weeks with my little one. He got to where he could turn over in it and that freaked me out. He could also break out of them easily. We now use the Halo sleep sack with his arms out. It probably took 2 or 3 nights for him to get used to it but I’m so glad we made the change bc now I know he can comfortably flip instead of having his arms restrained. I was going to make the transition with one arm in, but quickly decided to go ahead and have both out. I’m glad we did this bc I’ve heard Merlin can be hard to transition out of when the time comes. Hopefully you’ll find a good solution, best of luck!

    10.12.17 · Reply
  2. Caryn Steinman said:

    We had a similar thing happen – at around the same time (~10 weeks), our girl rolled over so we had to stop swaddling! It was terrifying! I don’t have advice about the “partial swaddle” since we didn’t have that as an option, but I do recommend the Merlin. We tried to go cold turkey straight to a sleep sack thinking we didn’t want to introduce another product we would eventually have to wean from (the Merlin), but after 1.5-2 weeks of TERRIBLE sleep at night, we admitted defeat and introduced the Merlin, and she slept 10 hours! And this was on vacation, in a new bed, a new time zone, etc.! Ever since that night (4 weeks ago), she has slept through the night (~11 hours) with just a few, easy-to-soothe, wakings sporadically. Highly recommend! The hands-to-the-face issue will resolve itself and teach her how to self-soothe. I feel like the Merlin helps them gradually learn how to have more movement/access to hands while sleeping so when they are just sleeping in PJs or a sleep sack eventually, they’ve had this interim step and are more used to it. Just our experience though. Good luck!

    10.12.17 · Reply
  3. Neely said:

    The love to dream swaddle up 50/50 we used it from about 5 weeks to 4 months. At 4 months and beyond he just slept in footie pjs and loves it!

    10.12.17 · Reply
    • Meg b said:

      Totally agree about the love to dream swaddle as a next step. Then we switched to the zipadeezip and have been happily there ever since. He can sleep in regular sleep sacks but he loves rubbing the fabric on his face to soothe

      10.12.17 · Reply
      • So many people have recommended the love to dream. I have to try it!

        10.13.17 · Reply
  4. julia said:

    Yes, sometimes you just have to power through a couple bad nights! My pediatrician told us to give every change three nights, and that advice really held true for both my kids. With my second, we used the Love to Dream swaddle sack that zips up. It allows them to move their arms up but still not let their arms flail everywhere. They sell one with arms that zip off so you can use it to transition to a sleepsack later. My son hated the Merlin, but the love to dream worked amazingly well for him. Good luck!

    10.12.17 · Reply
  5. Christy W said:


    Merlin, Merlin, Merlin…

    I’ve done this three times now and find a transition aid works best. We’ve used both the Zipadeezip and and Merlin. Give the Zippy a try if she doesn’t take to the Merlin but my guess is that after 2-3 nights she will be a convert 🙂

    10.12.17 · Reply
  6. Jess said:

    My baby never used the swaddle with her arms in — but she’s 11 months and now I swear by the Aiden + Anais sleep sacks! I also would buy the velcro sacks and just wrap it from under her armpits and down so she could be mobile but was warm and snuggly! Good luck!

    10.12.17 · Reply
  7. Is she rolling over yet? I stopped swaddling when they could roll over and choose to sleep on their tummies.

    10.12.17 · Reply
  8. Kelly said:

    MERLIN!!! It’s is amazing – can’t recommend it highly enough!

    10.12.17 · Reply
  9. Ashley said:

    The Merlin is the BEST. We used it with my first daughter from about 4 months, and with my second daughter, who is now 12 weeks, we started using it around 10 weeks. Basically as soon as she could fit into it! It is great because it is thick enough that they don’t wake themselves up from any startle reflex or sudden movements, but they have access to their hands and can use them to self-soothe. Both my girls are good sleepers, and I am convinced that the Merlin is part of the reason why – I truly think it teaches them how to sleep well without a swaddle. Also, we had no issue transferring my first daughter to the sleep sack when the time came! The Merlin is fantastic for this period between newborn swaddle and regular sleepsacks. Good luck!!

    10.12.17 · Reply
  10. Caitlin said:

    We switched to the Swaddle Me wrapsacks after ours was done with regular swaddling. She’s five months now and still in it. She is also a hand eater, but we found that she can self soothe with her arms out and also get into a comfy position (she’s a side sleeper now). I think they just need a few nights to get used to the arm freedom.

    10.12.17 · Reply
  11. Whitney said:

    We made a slow transition out of the swaddle with my now 8 month old. Because she had such a sensitive startle reflex, we double-swaddled until she was about 3.5mos. Then moved to one swaddle, the Nested Bean, which has a pouch full of weighted beans on the front that worked so well! Once she started rolling over, we continued using the NB but kept her arms out. One night around 5.5mos she suddenly decided she didn’t want anything to do with the swaddle anymore so we’ve done sleep sacks and footie pajamas ever since and she sleeps great!

    10.12.17 · Reply
  12. TWC said:

    Definitely give Merlin a shot – just make sure she’s big enough for it (if she’s too little she may pull her legs up inside the torso section of the suit and get stuck like that, which she’ll hate, obviously). The suit is thick enough that they really have to work hard to get their hands to their mouths (think Ralphie from A Christmas Story in his snow suit) so that may not end up being an issue while she’s in it. Good luck and keep us posted!

    10.12.17 · Reply
  13. Liz said:

    We did Merlin. It was great until he could roll in it (when Merlin says to stop). However, next time I will probably just ride it out and go straight to sleep sack. Another commenter mentioned ~3 days of transition, which has always been true for us with any change.
    But, if you have it, it’s worth a try. My little guy always wanted his hands and so Merlin was sort of nice for some mobility. The downside is weaning from it can be rough.

    10.12.17 · Reply
  14. So funny! When I was there he mentioned you. So glad I’m not the only one with post pregnancy tooth problems. I feel like my mouth is falling apart haha.

    Just bought a Love to Dream so thanks!

    10.15.17 · Reply