How Long can I Keep Swaddling my 6-Month Old?

by Stephanie (Tucson, AZ)

Eliseo & Abuelita

Hi Kristen,

I asked this question in your submission of a picture of one of your sons, but I haven't been able to find that thread again so I apologize if you've already answered this.

I have swaddled my son in the Miracle Blanket since he was born, and now he is 6 months old. His doctor said I should probably stop swaddling him so that he can move his arms more at night, so I stopped wrapping him in the Miracle Blanket and started swaddling him in a regular 42×42″ blanket. He falls asleep fine that way, but gets out of that swaddle as soon as he starts moving around and pulls the blanket up near his face, which makes me uncomfortable.

Last night I put him to bed with only PJ's and a sleep sack, and he fussed and woke up every hour until about midnight when I decided to put his Miracle Blanket on him so we could all get some sleep. He obviously sleeps better when swaddled, but should I worry about his arms being restrained in the Miracle Blanket? I don't put his legs in anymore…he is way to big for it now.

Also, when would you say that a baby usually is ready to eliminate his/her nighttime feeding? My son wakes up every night around midnight and fusses until he falls back asleep, then he wakes up between 3 & 4 to eat. After that he'll go back down for 3 or 4 hours.

Thank you!

Answer:

Hi Stephanie,

I did reply on the other post, so if you don't mind, I'll copy and paste, the add to it:

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I swaddled Asher until he was 24 months old. He just could not settle down and get to sleep with his arms waving. I had to abandon the Miracle Blanket, too, and use a regular blanket.

In some cultures, such as Native American and European cultures in the past, swaddling even into the second year of life was normal.

I swaddled Brennan for a long time, too. I don't remember exactly how long but he wasn't anywhere near 24 months – he was probably closer to 12 months.

Galen is 13 months now and most nights he's not swaddled, just occasionally here and there if he's having a hard time settling down. I still use a Miracle Blanket with him but he's tiny (around 18lbs). He doesn't mind his feet a little scrunched, but if he did I'd still use it and just have his feet out. I put him in a onesie, then swaddle him, then put a blanket over him when we put him to bed at night. When he comes to bed with us I just keep him in the swaddle.

When it was warm out I just swaddled him in a diaper, but it's really cold at night now, so I want his little shoulders covered.

Hopefully that's a little helpful… I know it can feel like you'll never get them to sleep without being swaddled but eventually, he'll be able to.

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If he's spending his time during the day un-swaddled and moving his arms around I'd say he's fine.

Since I wrote the above something that has worked for Galen is to start the night un-swaddled, and then for me to swaddle him if/when he wakes the first time. Then we get back to sleep and sleep well the rest of the night, but he's not swaddled quite so long at night.

As for night feeds:

It sounds like he has a pretty normal pattern for his age. In general I think it's best for babies to keep having at least one night nursing until they're eating solids – but there are babies that sleep fully through the night before then.

You can encourage him to continue to stretch out his night if you want to, or just continue to give him that early morning feeding.

Just watch him and see how he does and if you feel good about it if you decide to try and have him stretch the night out.

Eliseo is gorgeous (and the swaddle blanket is cute!)

About the author 

Kristen

Kristen is childbirth educator, student midwife, and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! She has spent years helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Find her on her website NaturalBirthandBabyCare.com and helping families through her online childbirth class MamaBabyBirthing.com

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