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Transitioning out of a Baby Wrap

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When thinking of discarding the baby wrap firstly consider how disruptive this will be for your baby.  If they have become accustomed to being wrapped at sleep time then you may need to transition them slowly as wrapping is their indication it is time to sleep.  Typically I encourage mothers to wrap their babies till around 9-10 months or until they are beginning to roll over or crawl around the cot. 

Transitioning out of a baby wrap is quite simple if you have wrapped you baby with their arms up as in this photo.  If you are still strapping your baby's arms against their body I suggest your first move is to release their arms so as to be wrapped as shown here. see wrapping instructions  Once your baby has become accustomed to having their arms up yet under the wrap you can then advance to the next step.  This may take 3-5 days.

Wrap to sleeping bag

I find babies respond well when introducing another sleep association like a sleeping bag which make the switch allot easier.  When you are about to remove the baby wrap choose a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the temperature of the baby's room.  

Step one

Before wrapping your baby as normal (as seen in picture) fold the bottom of the wrap up to just below where the top fold comes down.  Fold the top fold over this and place baby slightly to one side of the centre.  Now wrap as normal leaving baby's legs out of the wrap.  Tuck the end of the flap into the bottom of the wrap which will hold the wrap in place.  Zip the sleeping bag over the wrap making sure baby's arms are free from the sleeping bag.  Allow baby to sleep like this for 3-5 days before moving to step 2.  Make sure baby is not to hot by testing his temperature at the nape of his neck.  For the summer months sleep baby in a nappy and singlet.  Continue to tuck baby in under a sheet so they still feel snug.  This will also prevent problems later when you move baby into a bed.  Some children who have not been use to a top sheet in their cot, dislike being tucked when they move to a bed, this can cause problems when the weather turns cold.

Step Two

The second step is to leave one arm out of the wrap and continue to put the sleeping bag over the top.  If your baby has begun to roll you can either start with one arm out or the legs unwrapped.   Continue to use the sleeping bag at every sleep time so that baby begins to associate the sleeping bag with sleep.  After 3-5 days eliminate the wrap altogether so that you are just using the sleeping bag.  Sleeping bags may be used until your child moves to a bed.  Once in a bed it can be dangerous to have their legs restricted to a sleeping bag.  

Comfort toy or security blanket

It is not necessary to give the wrap as a comfort blanket to your baby after you have stopped wrapping.  You may like to replace it with a soft toy but I find this is also not necessary as babies adjust quickly to their new routines.  A favourite toy if used should be swapped frequently otherwise you will have one toy which will not be parted with and this can become a problem later when if falls apart of is lost.

Hint:  Keep wrapping your baby till around 8-10 months or till baby is beginning to move around the cot.    

Remember: Always wrap with your baby's arms up not strapped to their bodies as this is very unnatural and can cause problems with growth and settling later. 

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