How to get your baby out of a swaddle

Hi! Is your baby incapable of going to sleep and staying asleep unless they’re swaddled! Well, you’ve come to the right place!

I’m here to teach you how to get your baby out of a swaddle in one hundred easy steps!

Step 1: Loudly say to your significant other “I think it’s time for the baby to sleep without the swaddle”.

Step 2: Remove swaddle.

Step 3. Spend an hour and a half trying to hold down Baby’s flailing arms as you try unsuccessfully to rock them to sleep.

Step 4. Sing them a lullaby.

Step 5. Slowly become aware that you’re singing very loudly and aggressively as you lose your will to live.

Step 6. Change the lyrics to fit your current predicament: “Rock a bye baby on the tree tops, you need to stop wearing this fucking swaddle ok you are too big for a swaddle this isn’t working”

Step 7. Give up.

Step 8. Use swaddle for three nights.

Step 9. Forget pain of trying to get Baby to sleep without swaddle and again declare that it is Time to get Baby out of the swaddle.

Step 10. Remove swaddle.

Step 11. Question how it is even remotely possible that Baby was comatose and yet is now wide awake and screaming when you lay them in their cot just because they’re not swaddled.

Step 12. Try to pat and shush Baby to sleep. Get partner to take over. Hear Baby screaming on monitor as partner tries to get baby to sleep. Turn off monitor.

Step 13. Partner says they got Baby to sleep.

Step 14. Check on Baby and find them swaddled.

Step 15. Pour wine.

Step 16. Great drunk off one glass of wine.

Step 17. Look at old photos from when you were thin and had money and didn’t have children.

Step 18. Cry.

Step 19. Wake up with hangover and decide Baby can be swaddled until whenever, I mean who gives a fuck right?

Step 20. Two days later, read an article about respectful parenting and decide Baby will decide when Baby wants to sleep without a swaddle.

Step 21. Congratulate yourself by eating a kitkat. You’re a great parent!

Step 22. At 10.30pm just as you finish your kitkat, swear under your breath as you hear Baby screaming on the monitor as Baby rolls over and wakes himself up. Resolve that you will get rid of the swaddle for once and for all tomorrow.

Step 23. Baby goes to sleep! You’ve done it!

Step 24. That wasn’t too hard. Reward yourself by pouring a glass of wine.

Step 25. Baby woke because you were smug. Too bad. No wine for you.

Step 26. Fall asleep holding Baby in swaddle.

Step 27. Put Baby to sleep in swaddle.

Step 28. Eat two litres of ice cream directly from the container.

Step 29. Imagine your child’s future life partner having to swaddle them before they go to sleep.

Step 30. Google “adult swaddles”.

Step 31. Look up on the WINZ website to see whether your child can get a home based carer to handle their swaddling needs when they’re an adult.

Step 32. Do nothing for two weeks.

Step 33. Tell your partner the baby needs to sleep without a swaddle.

Step 34. When partner says to just leave them in the swaddle, consider divorcing them.

Step 35. You would have weekends to yourself if you were divorced. You’d miss your partner sure, but it would solve the swaddling situation for at least a week at a time.

Step 36. Eat cold baked beans out of the can.

Step 37. Look at yourself, you’re a disgrace! Put down those beans! You can do this! You can get the baby out of the swaddle!

Step 38. New resolve to get Baby out of swaddle. Rock Baby to sleep for 55 minutes.

Step 39. Tell partner he has to get Baby to sleep without the swaddle or you’re going to jump off the balcony.

Step 40. Yell YOU CALM DOWN to your partner.

Step 41. Write pros and cons list of swaddle.

Step 42. Pray.

Step 43. Agree to address the swaddle issue when you get more sleep even though the swaddle is waking your Baby up at night preventing you from getting more sleep.

Step 44. Swear at your Baby.

Step 45. Feel guilty for six days for swearing at your sleeping Baby who just loves their swaddle. You’re a monster.

Step 46. Look for advice online.

Step 47. Get drunk and furiously yell at your computer screen while reading Mamamia post: “If you really loved your child you would never have swaddled them in the first place you stupid cow who doesn’t deserve children“.

Step 48. Read the comments.

Step 49. Lose your will to live.

Step 50. Eat your weight in cookie dough.

Step 51. Give up.

Step 52. Do nothing for one month.

Step 53. Order eight different swaddles online that claim to be “in between swaddles”.

Step 54. Use none of them.

Step 55. Write a blog post about how nothing works.

Step 56. Try to get Baby to sleep without swaddle.

Step 57. Give up after 15 minutes.

Step 58. Google: “Charlie Hunnam naked butt shots”

Step 59. Do nothing for one week.

Step 60. Look up “swaddle” in Facebook mum group.

Step 61. See first post and immediately identify with the mum. Consider DMing her. Wonder if that’s creepy.

Step 62. Decide it’s creepy.

Step 63. Read first comment “I just stopped using a swaddle. Have you tried just not using a swaddle?” Consider throwing computer into the sun.

Step 64. Read second comment “My baby never needed a swaddle but that’s because she’s quite advanced”.

Step 65. Vomit.

Step 66. Read third comment “I would never use a swaddle. To each their own and I’d never judge a mum’s choice but I actually love my child so I wouldn’t expose them to the chemicals in a swaddle. One love mamas!”

Step 67. Explode computer with force of rage.

Step 68. Decide Baby can just stay in swaddle.

Step 69. On 27th wake up of the night, decide Baby cannot just stay in swaddle.

Step 70. Get Baby to sleep without swaddle.

Step 71. “You’re a genius! Well do-”

Step 72. Baby is awake after 28 seconds.

Step 73. Decide you will try again tomorrow since it’s already 11pm.

Step 74. Print off inspirational pictures to motivate you to stay the course.

Step 75. Drunkenly call your friend “I’m the adult right? Don’t I get to decide!”

Step 76. After 45 minutes realise you didn’t call your friend, you’ve just left a hysterical 45 minute message on your old employer’s voicemail.

Step 77. Wonder if your Baby will ever sleep through the night. Watch two episodes of Fireman Sam before you realise it’s not The Walking Dead.

Step 78. Do nothing for three months.

Step 79. Loudly proclaim it’s definitely time this time to get Baby out of a swaddle.

Step 80. Finally get Baby to sleep without a swaddle after three hours.

Step 81. Get Baby back to sleep when they wake up 45 minutes later.

Step 82. Get Baby back to sleep when they wake up 45 minutes later.

Step 83. Get Baby back to sleep when they wake up 45 minutes later.

Step 84. Get Baby back to sleep when they wake up 45 minutes later.

Step 85. Get Baby back to sleep when they wake up 45 minutes later.

Step 86. Put swaddle back on.

Step 87. Mention swaddle to parent at coffee group. Get lecture about consistency.

Step 88. Lie and say you’re consistent. Imagine her being hit by a bus. Attempt to feel bad about killing her with a bus in your head. Too hard, go back to bus fantasy.

Step 89. Do nothing until it takes both you and your husband together to pull the zip up on the swaddle because your baby is almost one year old and is still being swaddled.

Step 90. Google “How to get baby out of a swaddle”. Agree consistency is key.

Step 91. For three days keep putting unswaddled baby back to sleep every 45 minutes.

Step 92. Fuck consistency. Put that jerk baby into a swaddle and go have a wine.

Step 93. Use duct tape to keep swaddle on.

Step 94. Tell coffee group mum you got Baby out of swaddle with “consistency”.

Step 95. Drink heavily.

Step 96. Never sleep again.

Step 97. Survive on cold coffee and the food your toddler doesn’t eat.

Step 98. Baby breaks out of bottom of swaddle as their legs are too long.

Step 99. Make giant baby swaddle.

Step 100. Begin again at 1.

"I decide when I'm done with the swaddle. Begone wench!"

“I decide when I’m done with the swaddle. Begone wench!”

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37 Comments on “How to get your baby out of a swaddle

  1. Uh, something similar, except with the baby sleeping in my bed.

    Did I say that? Shit. I mean no, my baby always sleeps in her basinette. Always always always.

    I’m not writing this on my phone in our bed with her next to me. I haven’t ruined my baby so that she won’t stay asleep without me. Nope.

  2. My two were in the same swaddle as yours till 1, but that was because we used the evil safe T sleep, straight jacket, restrictive torture tool, as it is known by the self righteous mothers who have all their sh@t together unlike me!

  3. “Step 5. Slowly become aware that you’re singing very loudly and aggressively as you lose your will to live.”

    Love love love this. I remember one rough night googling “can you accidentally give baby shaken baby syndrome by rocking too vigorously?” That baby is 21 months now (and does not appear to be damaged by over-vigorous rocking), but there’s another one due in March and the only problem with reading your blog is that it pierces my wilful refusal to consider what it will be like doing the first year of human rearing all over again.

  4. My two were in the same swaddle as yours till 1, but that was because we used them in conjunction with the evil safe T sleep, straight jacket, restrictive torture tool, as it is known by the self righteous mothers who have all their sh@t together unlike me!

    • I use the safe T sleep too. I mean you have to if you’re going to swaddle forever. I just hope they make them for queen beds so when he moves out he can continue to be swaddled safely.

      • Hello I have a genius idea. Train Eddie to swaddle Ronnie and then they can both move out together!! As we all know WINZ hates paying for shit haha.

        • I reckon I could make an extension for the safe T sleep so it fits a queen bed. Sorted!

          • I have seen extensions to make it fit a queen or even king size bed so you’re all good 😛

  5. If anyone DOES have problems, my solution was to let her use the swaddle as a cuddly. She nuzzles it just like she would when being zipped into it. That was after she got to the biggest size and I considered sewing a bigger swaddle hahaha!!
    Now we have 3 “snuggles” that she is just as attached to hahahaha. Ohhh shit, dug myself that hole didn’t I.
    What do I care. My 3yr old is sleeping snuggled up to her snuggle for the next 10hrs 😀

  6. Oh my goodness I am crying with laughter! I absolutely love your blog and your writing style x

  7. Well, that totally cemented me on never swaddling. I don’t think that was your intent and I am apparently a jerk Mum as I didn’t intend to swaddle but between the post and the pic, I’m done! Here, swaddling generally just means all wrapped up like a burrito, usually in a blanket or maybe a sleep sack type of thing? I’ve never seen the tiny straightjacket before. Kinda freaks me out a little, despite his obvious pleasure!

    • And just read the other comments. I am clearly the only person who’s never seen one of these before? Maybe it’s a regional thing, I’m nowhere near New Zealand. I just like your blog. I don’t think I’m smug or self-righteous, just a different opinion. I once DROPPED my brother as a baby! I’m barely competent.

      • I’m now going to be cursed with babies that won’t sleep without being swaddled. Shutting up.

      • These swaddles are super popular. As I said, they’re just lazy people’s swaddles. Most people just use a muslin or a wrap. I use a zipped one because it’s easier to put together at 4am. Everyone I know who has swaddled has used this type. I don’t know – maybe it’s an NZ/Aust thing to use zip swaddles but swaddling is practiced all over the world. But mainly just for babies – not like kids as old as mine.

    • That’s all swaddling is – wrapping them in something to make them look like burrito. The swaddle Ham is in is just a lazy person’s swaddle because it zips up so you don’t have to swaddle them with a blanket yourself. I only swaddled because it got my kids to sleep. If they are sleeping without being swaddled there would be absolutely no reason ever to swaddle them.

  8. I did one arm at a time. For weeks I swaddled my son with just the one arm then at about 8 months we finally had both arms out!

  9. Oh, SNAP! The day my son forced his way out we were in our ‘room’ at Hutt hospital and maniacally wondering what the hell to do with this beautiful screaming banshee, arms and legs akimbo when in glides this ancient nurse. She didn’t say a word, just picked up one of those nappies they all seem to have at every available surface, wrapped our son like the snuggest burrito you could imagine, and glides out again. Honestly, not one word.
    The baby fell straight to sleep.
    I cried, then my husband ran out to thank her, and she was GONE! I swear it, she was the ghost of new befuddled parents.
    So I was converted from hour 1. I could never afford cool proper swaddles, but I used to pick up merino offcuts from the Levana factory shop in Levin for 50c. Honestly, if anyone is ever over that way, VISIT LEVANA, it’s amazing (they supply Icebreaker, Naturebaby etc…).
    Also, our son was well into 1 when we stopped, and he 6 years old and totes well adjusted now, I promise.

    • I’m not generally one to follow the parenting rules (especially since they change all the time!) But now in Canada swaddling is not recommended and nurses aren’t allowed to suggest it. It seems to come in and out every few years. Then if you do swaddle they want you to stop at 2 months. I always intended not to swaddle but per above I will now be cursed forevermore with babies that won’t sleep sans swaddle so at least I know the world won’t end if I do.

      • Hahaha good lord. That just highlights how parents are fucked whatever they do. Nurses tell you to swaddle. Then they say don’t swaddle. *rolls eyes* soon we will all just have to live in padded cells and even rocking them will be outlawed (you could rock too vigorously and make them dizzy?) Babies have been swaddled for centuries. It’s just a phenomenon of modern parenting that we have to make something as basic as swaddling controversial. Stopping any sleep aid early is a good idea. But in reality, if you have more than one child, a job outside the home, a child that isn’t the best sleeper, a sick child, or any thousand other reasons – you’ll likely keep the things that promote sleep. And they’ll become much harder to deal with at an older age. This whole post could be about getting rid of the dummy or weaning or any other kid thing. Oh and I never intended to swaddle either. Wasn’t going to use a dummy either. Wasn’t going to co-sleep EVER and was going to move the baby out of our room after three months. Turns out I prefer sleeping over everything else ?

        • I’m not sure what a dummy is and I’m now afraid to google. I was better off as a parent before the internet informed me how wrong everything is. I started with the best of intentions, I swear, but every SINGLE THING is wrong. For example, I’ve long preferred not to use pacifiers (another holdover from my mother who threw every single one out and had us cry it out or ‘self soothe’ – which is apparently now the equivalent of baby torture). But now the recommendation is for using them as it somehow decreased the risk of SIDS, but we don’t know why. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR THIS ANYMORE, INTERNET! 5 years from now, the recommendation will change. I’m not sure if NZ flipflops as much as Canada, but there seems to be no consistency here.

      • I think Canadian guidelines do change quite a bit from year to year, but it might also depend on the hospital. Our daughter was born at a large Toronto hospital a little over two years ago. The nurse swaddled her. Our daughter didn’t really like swaddling (at least not having her arms inside the swaddle), and shortly thereafter, broke free. My husband and I were never very good at swaddling, so we just didn’t swaddle her. Although, if we’re going to talk about things upon which she’s dependent (not just for sleep, but in general), I’m fairly certain she’s going to be a teenager at the very youngest before she gives up her pacifier.

  10. Yes! You forgot the step where you buy the safe t sleep, and the other step where you ignore the problem till they start going to daycare then get faced with the reality no one else will do the crazy arse things you have been doing to get them to sleep. First kid swaddled till after her 1st birthday. Second kid weaned off at three months, I was not going through lifelike that again… (Secretly I’m still using the safe t sleep on the baby!) have a glass of wine to celebrate your successes.

    • Hahaha this made me laugh so hard. And yes, definitely forgot the Safe t sleep! This post is practically a testimonial for that thing! Key is definitely to get them out by four months or you’re fucked.

  11. Ahhh this brings back memories! Mr 3 (tomorrow) had to be swaddled and rocked continually up to about 6 months (long painful reflux story) then I found he’d flipped onto his tummy and was of course unable to push up with his hands to clear his face. Panic ensued, so we went cold turkey on the swaddle. We found that he slept much better on his tummy though from this point (don’t tell on me). I’d feed him until he was sleepy then pop him down on his tummy, and tuck him in tightly with a sheet over his go-go bag.

    He’s still a lousy sleeper (only occasionally sleeps through the night) but we have reflux as a baby then lots of ear problems (he’s had 2 sets of grommets already) to blame for that.

    • I only slept on my belly from birth. At the time, they were not crazy opposed to it. Now the level of anti-tummy sleep for infants is so high that I occasionally check my pulse to make sure I’m still alive.

  12. Oh man, yes. Just yes. Once again, thank you for posting the honest version of parenting! I can relate to all of this!

  13. OMG this was me to a T!!! Removing the swaddle was such drama and we had massive sleep regression afterward. Thank GAWD my daughter is now 2 and we don’t have to worry about it anymore….she’s still in a sleeping bag though. Doh! xoxo

  14. This made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. Which made my nine month old baby laugh out loud (I was reading this while I fed her dinner.. hmmm poor parenting?). I don’t think she’s ever seen me laugh that much. This was my life a few months ago. so I can completely relate, and to the comments on the Safe T Sleep (a.k.a. evil of all evils). We have finally removed both from our lives and my daughter now sleeps face down, bum in the air, squished so far into the corner of her cot that the monitor keeps going off in the middle of the night because it can’t sense any movement. Awesome.

  15. mg I think I pied myself while reading this from laughter! Although we never used a swaddle, I can totally relate! My one year old baby will only sleep if I am with him, if I try to leave the room before he sleeps he will start crying! But to be honest I have only tried it a few times and decided its easier to just stay with him untill he sleeps! Did I create a monster???