When to Stop Swaddling and How to Keep Your Baby or Toddler Warm at Night
If you ended up swaddling your baby for naps and nighttime sleep, as majority of parents do, after doing it for a while, you probably became a swaddling pro. And just as you got good at it, you may have started wondering how long it's safe to swaddle and when you should stop. That's exactly what we are tackling in this short article, along with transition recommendations and what's next.
While there isn't a clear age guideline for this, it is recommended to stop swaddling immediately, when a baby starts showing signs of attempting to roll over. You may wonder why. As mentioned in our previous article, an increased SIDS risk was noted in babies sleeping on their side or tummy while swaddled.
So what's next after you are done swaddling? How do you keep a baby warm at night?
Infants should never be covered with a regular blanket, or have anything else in their crib other than a fitted sheet over a mattress. To stay warm, a baby can be dressed in additional layers (although recommended no more than one layer in addition to what you wear yourself) or a sleep bag.
Sleep sacks are great as they function like a blanket, allowing a baby to move freely, without the risks. Zip up sleep bags are also convenient for the middle-of-the-night diaper changes. We highly recommend sleep sacks made from natural materials such as cotton or merino wool. Consistent with our typical point of view, we believe organic cotton in particular, or wool, are the best materials for a few reasons:
- Highly breathable for the best body temperature regulation to help prevent overheating
- Very soft and comfortable
Depending on the season, you may need a warmer heavier sleep bag or a lightweight one. We have both options made from organic cotton: warm quilted sleep sack and a thin lightweight type in multiple sizes. We even have them in an extra-large size, which isn't very common, for bigger toddlers or even younger preschoolers who don't quite keep their blankets on yet.
In addition to keeping your baby or toddler warm at night, sleep bags also help keep little ones safe in their crib, preventing them from climbing out and you from stressing out (for a while anyway). When your toddler gets more and more creative and strong, and starts climbing out even with a sleep sack on, or starts taking the sleep bag off (it will happen eventually), than it's definitely time to move them into a toddler or straight into a big boy bed. Typically age-wise this happens around the same time as potty training, at which point sleep sacks are no longer convenient, especially if you are trying to teach your toddler to go on a potty on their own at night or in the morning.
While there isn't a specific guideline for when blankets are safe to use in bed, general understanding is SIDS risk primarily affects infants under 1 year of age. So if you got to a point of not being able to use a sleep bag anymore, it is now time to start getting your toddler or preschooler (in some cases) used to keeping a blanket on. That is something that will likely take a while. As usual, we recommend blankets made from natural materials: cotton, merino wool, down. Organic is always best, if possible. Check out our 100% GOTS organic muslin cotton blankets at our shop. Muslin cotton is lightweight and highly breathable, so kids are more likely to keep the blanket on at night. For colder nights you can use warmer pajamas made from natural fabrics.
We would love to hear about your experience, tips and tricks, when it comes to keeping little ones warm at night.