7 Sleeping Options You Can Try Out If Your Baby Hates to Swaddle

Swaddling has been one of the oldest techniques for calming down our cute little ones. Being wrapped up burrito style gives the babies a throwback to the good times they had while still in the womb.

Wrapping up your bundle of joy is also another source of joy for parents. More so after practicing the technique for the longest time ever and then finally getting it right. It then becomes tough for you if your baby hates to swaddle. It is like all your efforts going down the drain.

You are then left wondering why your baby hates the blankets that much. What do you do when you find yourself in such a scenario? Is there a way of making him gentler with the blankets? This article will provide you with possible reasons and a solution for your little situation.

What is swaddling?

Let us not work on the assumption that everyone out there knows what swaddling is. There are those who might have heard of the term but still do not know what it means. There are the new moms, the wannabe moms and those not yet thinking about it.

Swaddling, also called wrapping, is the process of wrapping your baby snugly in a warm cotton sheet or blanket for security, comfort, and warmth. Apparently, babies love it because it is a replica of their time in the womb. Well, not all babies do love it apparently.

Why your baby could hate the swaddle

It is absolutely normal for your baby to hate swaddling. It could be with reasoning behind it or none, but either way, it is still normal. If your friend’s baby likes being swaddled, it does not automatically mean that yours will also like the swaddle.

To ease your concerns a bit, here are some reasons for the love-hate relationship your baby has with the swaddle.

1. Wrong Swaddling Technique

As a new mom, you are still on a learning curve, getting to figure out how some of this mommy stuff is done. The reason why your baby hates the swaddle could have something to do with how you carry out the process.

Maybe you wrap her too tightly, this restricts her motions. She, in turn, associates the swaddle with confinement and begins to hate it. My neighbor used to have the same problem. Whenever she did the swaddling, the baby would wriggle her way out of it. But when I swaddled her, she slept within minutes.

You should keep practicing the swaddling technique until you get it absolutely right. Always ensure she is not too tight. Using too many layers to wrap the baby also makes her overheated. When this happens, she will not appreciate the swaddle very much.

2. Baby development

As babies grow up, they prefer stretching here and there to staying still at times. The swaddle tends to restrict various body motions such as rolling, swinging the legs a bit and sitting. The baby becomes frustrated when she cannot practice these new-found skills.

Sleeping solutions to adopt if the baby hates to swaddle

You should not force your baby with the swaddle if she does not like it. Likewise, do not be too hard on yourself and think you are a failure, simply because your bundle of joy refuses your swaddling skills.

There are other sleeping options you can adopt to put her to sleep “like a baby” and get yourself some hard-earned sleep too.

1. Let the arms free

Most of the babies who hate swaddling prefer to have their arms unrestrained. When putting her to sleep in the swaddle, try to leave out the arms out, with the elbows bent. This gives her a feeling of freedom.

In return, she will not be fussy and irritated. The only problem is the threat of her escaping the swaddle because she can use her hands to wriggle out easily. If she can keep her wits to herself, then this alternative could be of great help.

2. Wear the baby down

If the baby cannot be soothed to sleep by the swaddle, then use another sleep inducer called “wearing down.” This particular technique works well if the baby cannot get some sleep but still hates the swaddle.

It gives the baby the same feeling of being in the womb, just as the swaddle, albeit with better results. When your baby has been fed enough and is time for bed, place her in her sling carrier then “wear her” around your house.

Any bedtime fighter or reluctant sleeper cannot resist the carriage of a dad (yes, apparently dads love this technique more than swaddling) or a mom.

3. Rock her world to sleep

There are some newborns who hate the swaddle when they are still awake, but will not sleep without it. First of all, get them to sleep, then you can swaddle her. To do this, carry the baby in your arms, held against your chest and sway her back and forth.

The rocking motion helps the baby to sleep faster as the motion soothes her, just like it used to when she was in the womb as you walked around. In the unlikely event that this technique fails, you can put her in a baby rocker. She will be in slumberland within no time.

4. Alliteratively, use sleep sacks

Sleep sacks are ideal alternatives to swaddles and are warmer and cozier. Better still, if you love knitting, this could be among the many DIY projects that you can try out. There are various versions of this, the ones that restrain the arms and those which let the arms free.

The sacks are much easier to use too; you do not have to possess any skills to use them as you just wrap the baby in it and zip it up.

5. Develop bedtime rituals

Bedtime rituals help the baby associate these activities with sleep. These rituals include a warm bath, rocking and some familiar song. She will be able to know that it is bedtime when one of these rituals starts rolling.

You should be mindful of the baby developing a conditioned reflex, where she only sleeps when one of these conditions are in place. Try to create several of these rituals so that she does not get used to only a few.

6. Put yourself in her shoes

Imagine yourself to be your daughter, how would you prefer to fall asleep? Would you prefer sleeping alone in a dark room wrapped up in a swaddle? Or would you prefer to be cuddled up in mummy or daddy’s arms? Well, the choice is quite obvious.

7. Always put her to sleep when she has not fallen asleep

The timing of your daughter’s sleeping time is very crucial in her quest to sleep without any impetus. Put her in the crib when she is drowsy but not asleep. When she drifts to sleep all by herself, she learns to soothe herself to sleep. This would be best for you.


If your baby hates to swaddle then there you have it on how to go about the whole issue. Your baby needs her sleep to stay healthy and well developed. If her swaddle is not giving her the peace she needs to have a quality sleep, then you have to think outside the box.

These alternatives have an amazing success rate in helping babies everywhere fall asleep. I hope they work the same magic for yours too.

Kristi Cathey

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi Cathey and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I am a mother of 3 beautiful angels. This blog was created in order to share my personal experiences in baby care and general health care for pregnant women. If you'd like to get in touch with me, please contact me by sending me an email via kristicathey.intelligentmother@gmail.com. Welcome to Intelligentmother.com

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