Learning to swaddle your baby is a parenting rite of passage. For many parents, it's a go-to technique for soothing a fussy baby. But as your child grows, you'll want to consider other techniques for lulling them to sleep and soothing their woes, as swaddling can become dangerous. Many parents wonder exactly when swaddling becomes dangerous. And a lot of parents find themselves wondering if your baby can roll, can you still swaddle? If your baby's starting to move around and you're still swaddling, you'll want to keep a close eye on their sleeping position. Because while keeping your baby swaddled is safe when they're sleeping in a stationary position on their back, once your child is moving around on their own, and showing signs of rolling over, you'll want to think twice about this soothing technique.
Swaddling works so well on babies because it mimics the feeling babies get while in the womb, keeping them warm and cozy, Dr. Kimberly Edwards said in an interview with Healthline. But at a certain point, babies stop needing to be swaddled. According to Edwards, this begins at about two months, when your baby's self-soothing abilities start to set in, and their startle-reflex begins to decrease.
Pediatrician Dr. Rachel Moon also told Healthy Children that two months is also when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends you stop swaddling your baby. She said said that rolling over has everything to do with when you'll want to stop swaddling. "I would stop swaddling by age two months, before the baby intentionally starts to try to roll,” Moon said. “If babies are swaddled, they should be placed only on their back and monitored so they don’t accidentally roll over."
The reason behind this two month stopping point is because when babies start to roll, it increases the chances of the swaddling blanket becoming loose and unwrapped. And when the swaddling blanket becomes loose and unwrapped, it could cover your baby's face and increase the risk of suffocation, according to the AAP's safe sleep recommendations. In addition to the breathing risks swaddling your rolling baby can bring, Dr. Judith Owens told Baby Center that swaddling your baby once they're ready to move around can simply make them uncomfortable, and lead to sleep walking as they grow up.
Taking into consideration all of the possible effects of keeping your baby swaddled when they start to move around, if your baby's rolling over on their own, it's time to give up the swaddle and find a new soothing technique for your little one. From pacifiers, to keeping a sleep schedule, and keeping your baby's room a relaxing environment, there are plenty of ways to soothe your rolling baby to sleep that don't present the risks that swaddling do. So when your baby reaches two months, start to wean them off of the swaddle, so that you and your baby can both rest easy, without the swaddling blanket.