Swaddle Transition Plan - 4 Easy to Follow Steps

Every parent who owes a full night’s sleep to their favorite swaddle should follow this plan before their sleeping beauty outgrows swaddling and disrupts their restful nights.

Swaddle Transition Plan - 4 Easy to Follow Steps

Swaddle Transition Plan Step 1: Swaddle Arm(s) Free

By month 4 your baby may start showing signs of outgrowing the swaddling phase. Increased mobility, swaddle coming undone or rolling over are some common signs that your baby is ready to transition away from swaddling.

As soon as you see these cues, change swaddling technique to swaddle with one arm out. Why only one arm? In case the moro-reflex (also known as startle reflex) is still prevalent, the closed arm will offer resistance necessary to curb the disturbance caused by the jerking of both arms that comes with no swaddle.

Here is how to use the Zen Swaddle with one or both arms out. 

Swaddle Transition Plan Step 2: Check if its too early to transition

Swaddle Transition - One arm out

Once you have tried the one arm or arms free solution, your baby will let you know if he or she finds it easy to settle in their new state. Try this option during nap-time at first so you can observe your baby's response.

If your baby still shows signs of moro-reflex, is unable to sleep at all or is still waking up multiple times during sleep periods, it might be too early. Try swaddling for a couple more weeks and then give it another go.

Still struggling to figure out if it's time to stop swaddling? This blog post might help: When to Stop Swaddling.

It is normal for your little one to take a little longer to fall asleep at first, but this should change after a couple days. 

Swaddle Transition Plan Step 3: Transition To a Wearable Blanket

Swaddle Transition to Baby Sleep Sack

Once your baby has taken to the arms-out swaddle style, its time to switch over to a wearable blanket. We recommend the Zen Sack (no surprises!), it has a lightly weighted pad which rests just where you would place your reassuring palm and has plenty of room to grow.

The added security of this gentle weight is perfect for the swaddle transition period. At first you should place the weighted part on your baby’s chest as your baby sleeps on his or her back. Before your baby starts rolling over, back sleeping is the safest.

Once again consistency is key, so persist for 2-3 days before determining if the solution is working or not.

Swaddle Transition Plan Step 4: When Baby Starts To Roll Over

Baby Rolled Over - Reversible Sleep Sack

Once your baby is comfortable sleeping in a sack, they might start rolling on to their tummy to sleep. Babies tend to choose one or the other fairly consistently. 

If you are using the Zen Sack, reverse it so that the little chick is resting on your little one's back. This feels like your palm on their back and helps them fall asleep a little easier and stay asleep longer.


Caught between a rock and a hard place? Your baby may have outgrown your swaddle but not yet ready to have her hands out in the Zen Sack. No worries, this hack will get you moving right along.

Use the Zen Sack over the basic onesie and then on top of the Zen Sack, wrap your baby with a light muslin swaddle just around the arms. Then gradually roughly one week at a time, take one arm out starting with the dominant arm, then the second arm until your baby no longer needs her arms out. 


Here are the 4 steps we just covered:

1) Once you have noticed the signs that it's time to stop swaddling, make the step to one arm or arms free swaddling.

2) Monitor how your baby is receiving this change to their regular sleep circumstances and adjust accordingly.

3) Transition to a wearable blanket - these are made specifically for the swaddle transition period.

4) Keep an eye out for when your baby starts rolling on to their tummy. If you're using the Zen Sack, remember to reverse it so the chick is resting on their back.

Remember all babies are different, so make an effort to be patient and consistent. Good luck :)

Be sure to check out our baby sleeping bag - The Zen Sack!