Swaddling infants is practiced around the world and dates back to Biblical times. Swaddling wraps babies' arms tightly in a small blanket, such as a receiving blanket. Swaddling can help babies sleep better, according to Dr. Harvey Karp, author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block." Karp also says that swaddling can reduce crying and may ease colic. Although swaddling calms babies and is an effective way to help them sleep, all babies will eventually outgrow swaddling.
No set date exists when all babies are ready to stop swaddling, but most babies stop wanting to be swaddled within a certain range of time. According to The Baby Sleep Site, the average age for this to occur is between five to six months, though it can range from three months until nine months.
Your baby may let you know when she is ready to stop being swaddled. The website Easy Baby Love says that babies commonly outgrow swaddling when they are able to roll over. Other common signs include the ability to move her arms or kick her legs out of the blanket and expressing frustration when you swaddle her.
Karp recommends approaching the end of swaddling as a form of transitional weaning. He suggests starting with one arm outside the blanket for a couple of days, then keeping the other arm out. Repeat the process with both legs.