The Best Infant Car Seat?

 Inertia
 SnugRide35
 KeyFit30

What is the BEST car seat available for your infant? This question is asked by most parents when a new baby is on the way. We all do research to seek out as many reviews and recommendations as we can find. I think the truth is that there isn’t a “best” car seat, there is simply what meets most of your preferences. I compared the 2 most popular, Graco Snugride 35 and the Chicco Keyfit 30 to the Baby Trend Inertia using some of the characteristics I think are most considered.

 

But, before I get into these details I must comment on the safety factor. The single most important quality in a car seat is safety, but it is really difficult to actually compare this. Every car seat on the market has passed Federal Safety Standards & strict crash performance standards. The only government information you can easily find are NHTSA ratings on their ease of use in four basic categories: Evaluation of Instructions, Evaluation of Labels, Vehicle Installation Features, Securing the Child. They note that all rated seats are safe, so how do you pick which one is safer than another? I don’t think you really can unless you rely on consumer reports and crash test YouTube videos you can find. So, for this reason you will not see safety on my list below.

 

LATCH Installation

Baby Trend Inertia: This carseat base has a rigid LATCH system install which is extremely easy and gives you much peace of mind. You don’t have to pull any straps to make sure it is tight enough. The base simply has 2 bars with claw-like snaps that grab onto your car’s LATCH system. Line them up and snap them on and that’s it! Angles don’t matter when using the base either which makes installation even easier to get right.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The KeyFit LATCH system of the Chicco is easy to use and install correctly. It has claw-like snaps that you push into the LATCH system then you use its one-hand Center Pull Latch tightening system to easily tighten.

Graco Snugride 35: The LATCH installation on a Graco is my least favorite. It has big snaps that can be difficult to get on (and especially off) your vehicle’s LATCH system. There is not an easy way to tighten it either. You still have to pull a strap and sometimes it is hard to pull it tighter even though the base is not installed tight enough. Graco has made the angle installation easier, however, by having a dial that you twist the raise or lower the front of the base.

 

Style/Colors

Graco Snugride 35: I think Graco wins the style race with the many, many patterns and fun color options they offer. It is easy to find something that is gender neutral, girlish or boyish in just about any color combination you would want.

Chicco KeyFit 30: There are plenty or colors to choose from with a Chicco, however there are not a variety of patterns/styles.

Baby Trend Inertia: The Intertia only comes in one color/pattern option. It is both gender neutral and fun, but you do not have any options beyond the “Horizon” color.

 

Price

Graco Snugride 35: $119.99-$179.99, available at many retailers

Chicco KeyFit 30: $179.99-$199.99, available at many retailers

Baby Trend Inertia: $179.99, available at Babies ‘R Us

 

Weight (with base)/Base Size

Graco Snugride 35: 17.6 lbs, wide base but not too long.

Chicco KeyFit 30: 21.1 lbs, narrow base good for compact cars

Baby Trend Inertia: 26.7 lbs, long base that will fit tight in compact cars.

 

Max Child Weight

Graco Snugride 35: 35 lbs

Baby Trend Inertia: 32 lbs

Chicco KeyFit 30: 30 lbs

 

Visor and Additional Features

Baby Trend Inertia: The visor of the Baby Trend is the best on the market! It is huge and offers tons of sun shade. BabyTrend took it a step further and mush mesh “windows” on the visor so baby can still look out and air flows. The handle on the Baby Trend is the nice triangle type, offering more comfort and positions to carry. The most impressive unique, special feature of this car seat is the controlled motion base, which is unlike anything else on the market. It responds to crash forces by rotating more upright resulting in better force distribution. There are 4 more recline positions that provide ultimate comfort and easier breathing for baby. There is an 8 position adjustable head support. You never have to rethread the harness of the Baby Trend. There is a dial on the back that allows you to adjust for the proper height. There is also a “cold weather boot” that is included with the car seat, that goes over baby’s legs for warmth.

Graco Snugride 35: The visor of the Graco is nice and big and it can move completely from front to back. It offers adequate sun shade. The seat is known for being plush and comfortable. The newborn insert provides very comfortable, padded head and body support.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The visor of the Chicco is very small and serves very little purpose. The newborn insert provides head and body support and proper fit with the harness.

 

Cons

Baby Trend Inertia: The BabyTrend has a plastic puzzle buckle that, although it doesn’t get hot, it can be hard to hold/snap both pieces in (especially if you don’t loosen the straps). The entire system is too large for smaller vehicles.

Graco Snugride 35: More difficult to install/tighten. Adjusting harness height requires rethreading. Upright angle causes newborn and sleeping baby’s head to fall forward. Buttons to raise/lower the handle are loud and will wake a sleeping baby.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The visor is inadequate. Adjusting harness height requires rethreading. Upright angle causes newborn and sleeping baby’s head to fall forward.

 

baby trend inertia

Baby Trend Inertia Installed in Mini Van

So, you may want to know which car seat is my favorite? I have to say the Baby Trend Inertia works really well for me. My four most favorite things about it are the recline positions, the adjustable head support, the rigid LATCH install and the visor. I love that when my baby is in it, asleep or awake her head never falls forward. I feel like my baby’s head is safer in a side impact collision with the head support (I have not tested this feature, this is not based on any proof) and I love anything that is easy to adjust with growth. I am obsessed with the ease of installation with the LATCH system. It is beyond easy to install and you don’t have to worry about it being too loose. A visor might seem like a silly thing to like, but I can’t help it. This visor is amazing and it is one thing that people comment on when I am out and about with the car seat.

 

Obviously this car seat is not perfect. The base is pretty big and you have to put the handle all the down when he car seat is on the base, which is impossible to do in smaller cars. I have had to put the handle down outside of the car before I snap it into the base in those situations. Even after that you have to make sure the seat does not touch the seat in front so the controlled motion base can work properly. In our mini van there is plenty of room and no issues whatsoever, though.  I am not in love with the puzzle buckle, either. It is pretty much impossible to do with one hand and difficult if the straps were not loosened first. My final complaint is that the buttons to adjust the handle are a little loose, so if the handle is not all the way down when it’s in the car, they jiggle around and make noise. The buttons are quiet, though and do not make noise when they are squeezed (they have never woken my baby like my Graco has).

 

The Inertia is definitely loaded with all kinds of cool special features. I think Baby Trend put a lot of research and thought into making a safe and comfortable car seat. While it is not going to be the ideal car seat for everyone, it has won my vote!

Understanding the “Mantra Cry”

Learning When It’s Ok To Let Your Baby Cry (The “Mantra Cry”)

The Mantra Cry-ok for baby to cryWhile learning your baby’s cues and cries, and teaching your baby to self-soothe, your little one will have a cry that is not calling for you to come to the rescue. Learn to recognize when it’s ok to let your baby cry.

The Difference Between a Mantra Cry and a Serious Cry For Help

Although we are against letting your baby Cry It Out, it is important for a parent to realize that there is a difference in cries, and some are ok to leave be. For the first three or four months many of your baby’s cries are genuine cries for help. Newborns are very needy! But, by the time they reach this 3-4 month mark, you will hopefully be able to recognize when his cry seems to sound different than the serious cry for help. What Tracy Hogg refers to as the “mantra cry” is a burst of cry that a baby will do as he is settling down (and going to sleep). It is valuable to recognize this cry, because this is where a baby really learns to self-soothe. If you rush in to your baby every time she makes a peep, it will be hard for her to learn to soothe and fall asleep on her own. Don’t worry that you are letting you baby Cry It Out, because Crying It Out is when you ignore your baby’s cry for help. To learn more about alternatives to the Cry It Out method, read our other article.

Learning to Recognize the Mantra Cry

Every baby has his own unique mantra cry so listen carefully to learn to make the distinction. Typically, a mantra cry’s pitch and tone stay the same, while a genuine cry will escalate in tone. A baby that is crying because she has a need gets more distressed as time goes on and you can hear that in her cry. A baby that is crying because she is trying to settle does not escalate, get louder or sound distressed. These cries do not sound the same.

It will take some careful listening (and reading of your baby’s body language) to learn his cues. When you hear you baby start to cry, it is okay to stop and listen before you rush in to him. In fact, you should! You are not being a bad parent by letting him cry for a minute while you listen for differences in sounds. It is the best way for you to really learn what your baby is telling you. Letting your baby cry becomes an issue is when you ignore the cry for help and let your baby continue to cry even after you have had a chance to recognize/analyze it.

The Mantra Cry In the Middle of the Night

The “mantra cry” will also be heard at times when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night. When your baby wakes up between sleep cycles and just needs to fall back to sleep, she may do her “mantra cry” to go back to dreamland on her own. If your baby wakes at a time when you know it is not time to eat, hesitate for a minute before you go in to her room and listen to her cry. Be sure that it is a serious cry in need so you don’t disturb your baby’s attempt at self-soothing before you go in. As your baby gets older, her ability to self-soothe should improve and be easier to notice.

It will take time for your baby to learn to self-soothe. You might have to go in to his room to reassure him hundreds of times before he is ready to put himself to sleep. Every baby is different. Don’t get stressed if your baby needs more help than your friend or your sister’s baby. Just listen to your baby and learn what he is telling you. Being able to recognize what his cries and other cues mean feels great!

Recommended Reading

To read more about learning to read your baby’s cries, we recommend Tracy Hogg’s books, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems

In Favor of the Pacifier

Pacifier PrinciplesIn Favor of the Pacifier

Most parents wonder whether or not they should use a pacifier with their baby. Some object because they are breastfeeding, while others have images of five year old kids that are addicted to their pacifier burned in their minds, believing that it is too habit forming and hard to break. Some believe that if a baby has a pacifier, she won’t learn how to suck her own thumb (which many, like I, want). Some are afraid that a pacifier will mean braces will be needed, and others simply fear a baby will not be able to self-soothe without it.

But, pacifiers have been around since babies have been, so there must be good reason for them! Archaeologists have found prehistoric pacifiers, Ancient Egyptian drawings of babies with pacifiers and different forms of pacifiers have been used throughout the centuries. If you follow basic pacifying principles and use them properly, they will prove to be valuable on many levels for baby and you.

Newborns Need to Suckle

A newborn has very little control over her body, but she does have control over her mouth.  She has an actual need to suckle separate from feeding, which satisfies the oral stimulation she needs. A newborn may have the need to suckle for several hours throughout the day! Remember, though, that vigorous sucking does make your newborn tired. This is the type of sucking that should be happening during feeding, while pacifiers should be suckled (a very clear difference in the type of suck). If your baby is sucking aggressively, she is probably hungry. Don’t let a newborn suck vigorously at a pacifier when it close to feeding time. You don’t want her to waste her energy on the pacifier and not have enough to get in a full feed.

Reducing the Chance of SIDS

Several studies have shown a major decrease of SIDS deaths among babies who use a pacifier. The American Academy of Pediatrics goes as far as recommending pacifier use! In a report published in 2005, they concluded:

“Published case-control studies demonstrate a significant reduced risk of SIDS with pacifier use, particularly when placed for sleep. Encouraging pacifier use is likely to be beneficial on a population-wide basis: 1 SIDS death could be prevented for every 2733 (95% CI: 2416–3334) infants who use a pacifier when placed for sleep (number needed to treat), based on the US SIDS rate and the last-sleep multivariate SOR resulting from this analysis. Therefore, we recommend that pacifiers be offered to infants as a potential method to reduce the risk of SIDS. The pacifier should be offered to the infant when being placed for all sleep episodes, including daytime naps and nighttime sleeps. This is a US Preventive Services Task Force level B strength of recommendation based on the consistency of findings and the likelihood that the beneficial effects will outweigh any potential negative effects. In consideration of potential adverse effects, we recommend pacifier use for infants up to 1 year of age, which includes the peak ages for SIDS risk and the period in which the infant’s need for sucking is highest. For breastfed infants, pacifiers should be introduced after breastfeeding has been well established.”

For Breastfed Babies

Opinions are all over the place on what parents should do about pacifiers for the breastfed baby. Some resources suggest waiting 3-4 weeks, others recommend waiting up to 6 weeks, while some say it’s ok to start with them right away. There is no right or wrong time to introduce a pacifier to breastfed babies. Ultimately, you have to do what is right for you and your baby. The main concerns with pacifiers and breastfeeding are nipple confusion and mom’s milk supply getting established, so keep these things in mind:

  • If your baby is having a hard time figuring out how to breastfeed, latch on or suck, you should probably hold off on the pacifier.
  • If your baby is not being super fussy and is not needing to suck all the time for comfort, you don’t need to give her a pacifier right away.
  • Don’t ever substitute a pacify for feeding your baby or to hold her off. Newborns need to eat very frequently and should not be encouraged to wait longer between feeds until she is much older. Your newborn baby needs to be eating 8-12 times a day.
  • If your baby is having problems gaining weight, she should be at the breast as often as possible and a pacifier should not be used until weight gain is adequate.
  • If mom is having problems with her milk supply, a pacifier should not be used until the supply is established. The more a baby sucks at the breast, the more of a demand for milk there is.
  • If your baby is spending an hour or more at the breast for a feeding, she is probably spending some time just suckling. A pacifier may help satisfy her desire to suck between feeds. Just be sure that you know your baby is not hungry.
  • Studies show that babies that have a pacifier wean earlier than those that do not. This is probably because as a baby gets older and is established on solid food, his desire to suck keeps him on the breast. Babies who use pacifiers are getting that need to suck met with the pacifier instead of the breast, so they may decide to give up breastfeeding sooner than if they did not take a pacifier. To avoid this, limit pacifier use for babies older than three months.

How Long to Use a Pacifier?

The AAP recommends pacifier use up to one year. The most important time is during those first three months when a baby’s need to suckle is the strongest and he is unable to control his limbs and find his thumb to suck on. The pacifier will help calm him before sleep and soothe him when he is upset. Many children (including some toddlers) use a pacifier as a transitional object, something that relieves stress and helps your child adjust to new or challenging situations. Once you are past the first few months, limit pacifier use so it does not become a habit that is difficult to break and causes developmental delays. If your child is learning to speak or is having speech delays, the pacifier can be a problem.

It is best to set an absolute timeline for your baby’s pacifier use, so you have a plan on when you will get rid of it as soon as you get started. This way time won’t get away from you and you won’t have a five year old walking around with a pacifier in his mouth all day long. The longest your baby should probably go using a pacifier is 18 months, although this is a personal decision. Whatever time you decide to get rid of the pacifier is best, stick with it and don’t let your child change your mind!

Pacifier Principles

  1. Don’t use a pacifier to replace feeding a hungry baby. If your baby is hungry it is important to feed him. If you need to keep baby quiet while you prepare to feed him or if you are trying to hold him off for a few minutes using a pacifier is ok. Just be sure that you are keeping track of your baby’s feeding schedule and you are determining why he is crying before offering the pacifier.
  2. Don’t use a pacifier at all times of the day, as your baby gets older. When your baby is a newborn and for the first three months your baby will want and need to suck more than any other time. But, as your baby enters his fourth month consider reducing use to sleeping times only. A child does not need a pacifier when he is happy and playing.
  3. If your newborn doesn’t take to a pacifier right away, keep trying. This doesn’t mean that he won’t like a pacifier or doesn’t have a need for one. Some babies just take a while to get used to one. Also, sometimes when a baby is figuring out how to suck a pacifier it pops right back out. This is not always intentional and could be result of the way you are offering it. As you put the pacifier in your baby’s mouth, try lightly stroking just to the side of his mouth and gently hold the pacifier in his mouth for a moment as he starts sucking.
  4. Find a pacifier that your baby likes. There are many different types of pacifiers available and babies do not find them one in the same. Try to find one that matches your nipple (or the nipple on the bottle you use) the closest. IF your baby doesn’t seem to be taking to one, try another kind until you find one he likes.

To read all about Tracy Hogg’s Sleep Methods and to hear many case studies, check out her incredible books: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.

Recommended Reading

To read more about pacifier use or problems, we recommend Tracy Hogg’s books, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems

Establishing A Routine

Establishing a Routine for Your BabyEstablishing A Routine For Your Baby

Some people cringe at the thought of establishing a routine for a newborn, thinking that it is not a reasonable thing for an infant to follow. This may be true for schedules, where you fit your baby to a clock, but not a routine. Babies, live adults, thrive on a routine and it helps parents in many, many ways. The important thing to remember with your routine is that is has to remain FLEXIBLE.  Setting up a rigid schedule that your baby must follow to the minute is not acceptable or fair to your baby (and will make your life more miserable).

The easiest routine we have found to follow is Tracy Hogg’s EASY routine. EASY is an acronym for a predictable sequence of events the pretty much mirrors adult lives. Eat, have some Activity, go to Sleep, then have time for You. This is a routine (not a schedule) that keeps the day structured and predictable, helps parents learn their babies ways of communicating, and prevents the forming of some bad habits (like feeding your baby to sleep). We suggest starting on this routine from the day you bring your baby home from the hospital. The routine is only a daytime routine. During the night, there should be no activity period (not even a diaper change unless you know the diaper has poop in it or the diaper is leaking). At night, if your baby wakes from hunger, feed him them put him right back to sleep.

Newborn to four month old babies should be on a three hour routine (eating every three hours) and at four months babies are ready to move to a four hour routine (this is assuming a baby was not premature, is of average healthy weight and has no health problems). Establishing a routine is easier the younger the baby, so start right away and your baby will naturally and easily move from the three to four hour routine-probably even on her own.

A Routine That Works for Parents AND Baby

Tracy Hogg’s years of experience implementing the EASY routine with families, resulted in babies’ lives that were predictable and calm, which led them to be “good eaters, they learned to play independently for increasingly longer periods and they could get themelves to sleep without sucking on a bottle or breast or being rocked by their parents. As many of these babies grew into toddlers and preschoolers, they were also confident in themselves and trusted that their parents would be there if they needed them. The parents themselves learned early on to tune in to their child’s cues by carefully observing their body language and listening to their cries. Because they could “read” their child, they felt better equipped to deal with any bumps in the road.”

“With EASY, you don’t follow the baby, you take charge. You observe him carefully, tune in to his cues, but you take the lead, gently encouraging him to follow what you know will make him thrive: eating, appropriate levels of activity, and a good sleep afterward. You are your baby’s guide. You set the pace. EASY gives parents, especially first-timers, the confidence to know that they understand their baby, because they more quickly learn to distinguish their baby’s cries.”

Write It Down to Help Stick To The Routine

The most important thing you can do to keep on your routine, especially in the beginning or during periods of change, is to write everything down. Write down what time your baby eats, how long of on activity period you had, what time she went to sleep and when she woke up. This helps you remember what times things occurred (because your lack-of-sleep brain isn’t as good at remembering on its own) and helps you recognize patterns (good and bad). Writing it all down gives you the perspective of an entire day (or week).

Some of the things you might want to write down or log would be:

Eat-Time, How much (if bottle)/how long (if breast), Right or Left breast

Activity-What, How long

Sleep-How long

You-What you did for yourself (taking naps when your baby is napping is the best way to spend your “You” time in the beginning)

The Most Important Thing To Remember

It is so important to remember that this is a flexible, structured routine, NOT a schedule. Your baby will likely vary a little from day to day on when she is hungry or tired (usually only by 15-30 minutes) and that is ok. If your baby is hungry, feed her, even if it is before the “time” on your routine. When your baby starts showing signs of getting tired, put her to bed. Instead of focusing on the clock, focus on your baby. Look for signs of hunger, sleepiness and overstimulation. “The better you get at interpreting your baby’s cries and body language, the better you’ll be at guiding him and at clearing whatever obstacles get in the way.”

A Typical EASY Day for a 4 Week Old (as outlined in Tracy’s book)

E-7:00 am Feed

A-7:45 Diaper change, some playing and talking; watch cues for sleepiness

S-8:15 Swaddle and lay your baby in the crib. It may take him 15-20 minutes to fall asleep for his 1st morning nap.

Y-8:30 You nap when he naps

E-10:00 Feed

A-10:45 See 7:45 above

S-11:15 2nd morning nap

Y-11:30 Nap/relax

E-1:00 Feed

A-1:45 See 7:45 above

S-2:15 Afternoon nap

Y-11:30 Nap/relax

E-4:00 Feed

A-4:45 See 7:45 above

S-5:15 Catnap for 40-50 minutes to give him enough rest to handle his bath.

Y-5:30 Do something nice for yourself.

E-6:00 1st Cluster feed

A-7:00 Bath, into jammies, lullaby or other bedtime ritual

S-7:30 Another catnap

Y-7:30 You eat dinner

E-8:00 2nd cluster feed

A-None

S-Put him straight back to bed

Y-Enjoy your short evening

E-10-11 Dream feed and cross your fingers ’til morning!

“NOTE: Whether a baby is breast or bottle fed, I advise the above routine–allowing for variations in times–until 4 months old. The “A” time will be shorter for younger babies, and get progressively longer for older ones. I also recommend turning the two “cluster feeds” into one (at around 5:30 or ) by 8 weeks. Continue to dream feed until 7 months–unless he’s a great sleeper and makes it through on his own.”

From Our Experience

As activity time gets longer and more involved, it is necessary to have an adequate wind-down ritual to prepare your baby for sleep. It is not easy for her to go right from playing to sleeping. She has to have time to settle down and get in sleep mode. Be sure to do the same things every time before bed (swaddle, read books, sing a lullaby, sit in the chair, etc). If your baby is extra fussy when you try to put her to sleep, you might need to spend a few more minutes in your wind-down. And, enjoy this time! The time to cuddle and snuggle your baby is irreplaceable!

To read all about Tracy Hogg’s Sleep Methods and to hear many case studies, check out her incredible books: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.

Recommended Reading

To read more about the EASY Routine, we recommend Tracy Hogg’s books, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems

To Swaddle? How Long?

To Swaddle? How Long?Should You Swaddle Baby or Not and For How Long?

Most parents wonder how long they should swaddle their baby, if at all. The question of whether or not to do it at all is an obvious yes! Swaddling has been around since babies have been (FOREVER) and for good reason. Some people look at swaddling through their adult eyes, not the baby’s, calling it a “straight jacket” and assuming it is too binding and uncomfortable, an unnecessary restriction of movement. The truth, however, is that babies love to be swaddled and it is best to swaddle from the day they are born until they tell you they are done with it. (For videos on how to swaddle, click here.)

Safety First

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a study in May 2005 suggesting that swaddling may reduce the chances of SIDS and that babies who are swaddled have fewer night wakings and fall back to sleep more quickly. They also suggested that swaddled babies are more responsive to outside stimuli (which means they may wake up more easily if something is wrong).

Womb To World Is a Shock

When babies are first born they are in total shock. All the comforts of a tight, dark, warm womb with the constant loud swish of mom’s heartbeat have been replaced with bright light, new sights and sounds and no more security of being snug all the time. While most of the elements of the womb are hard to replace for your baby, a tight swaddle is an easy way to give them the cozy, cradled, secure feel they miss.

The Startle Reflex

Newborns are born with the Startle Reflex, also called Moro Reflex. The Startle/Moro Reflex is when a baby will startle and spread out her arms and legs (actually a fear of falling) and possibly cry. While this reflex demonstrates proper motor development in babies up to five months, it can cause sleep disturbances or problems falling asleep.  When babies are tightly swaddled, the Startle Reflex is contained and does not interfere with sleep.

Involuntary Movement

Babies under the age of three months have no control over their arms or legs and when tired, their arms and legs wave and jerk. Babies don’t realize that their limbs are attached to their body, so when flailing arms hit them in the face, they think they are part of the environment, an outside stimulus that is disturbing them. By swaddling, you contain their involuntary movements and remove stimulation that keeps them awake.

Swaddling Is a Great Step In the Bedtime Routine

Starting from the day they are born, you can use swaddling as part of your wind-down/bedtime routine, both for naps and night. Being put in a swaddle is a consistent and recognizable sign for baby to know that sleep is coming. Many babies are ready to calm down and fall asleep as soon as they are snugged up in a swaddle.

How Long to Swaddle

The question of how long to swaddle baby is not as black and white and whether or not to swaddle at all. Almost every resource you look at will tell you a different time as well. Some will tell you as little as one month is long enough and others may suggest swaddling for up to seven or eight months. The important thing to look for are real signs from your baby that she is ready to stop being swaddled. These signs might not be as easy to recognize, either.

Getting Out of  Swaddle Doesn’t Mean She’s Ready to be Done With It

As a baby gets older he is going to get more mobile and be able to move around. And this movement will cause the swaddle to come undone. This is not an indication that your baby does not need to be swaddled anymore, though. Some babies will wake as a result of becoming unswaddled and can only fall back to sleep (and stay asleep) when reswaddled. Another cause of the swaddle coming undone is that babies get bigger and it is harder to make small blankets stay tight around a larger baby. The swaddle wraps with velcro are a fabulous way to keep a swaddle in place on babies as they get bigger.

Experiment

Around three months is a great age to experiment and try unswaddling your baby. This is the average age for babies to find their fingers, which can be very helpful for being able to self-soothe. Some babies, however, might not find their fingers until 5 months, or even later. Leave one of your baby’s arms out of the swaddle (so you can still incorporate it into your wind-down routine for now) and see how he does. Give it a few days, as the first sleep like this will likely be disturbed. If your baby does ok with it after a few days, is able to fall asleep and stay asleep, he is probably ready to get rid of the swaddle. If he is having a hard time falling asleep and wakes often, it is an indication that the swaddle is still needed. Go back to it and experiment again in another month or two. Don’t feel bad about sticking with a swaddle for a while, regardless of what others tell you. I got rid of the swaddle at six months and I hear a lot of success with using it until five months old. Do what your baby needs and feel good about that!

Recommended Reading

To read more about swaddling, we recommend Tracy Hogg’s books, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems