Only what you need for your baby. Really. (OK – and some fantastic things you don’t that are pretty cool.)
It would be great to feel 100% certain, but, like lots of parenting questions, when you stop swaddling your baby is going to be a judgment call on your part. I’ve asked doctors, nurses, and experienced moms, as well as trolled a lot of parenting web sites for THE answer, but, unfortunately, there isn’t one.
The answer I got that made the most sense to me was from a child development expert at Day One, and this is what she said: since there is no one right answer, so you need to decide on the right course of action for you and your baby based on your common sense (going against your instincts is not usually a good bet), what you can live with (are you going to stay up all night worrying that your baby’s rolled over in her swaddle and can’t breathe?), and your knowledge of your baby (does she stay up all night crying if she’s not swaddled?) Take a few quiet minutes to think about those factors and then pick a lane. Trust yourself.
A quick summary of what I’ve read and discussed:
I worried about this decision for weeks but in the end, didn’t have to make it: Astrid certainly slept better (after an initial few minutes of crying and objection) in the swaddle until she was almost four months old, at which point she howled at being wrapped up or Houdini’d out of whatever we wrapped her in. Since I’m claustrophobic myself, I probably gave in earlier than other moms and stopped forcing her into the swaddle at night. She didn’t roll over until she was 5+ months old, at which point we’d all but stopped swaddling her anyway. However, I’d already decided we’d stop when she rolled because I couldn’t see myself sleeping if I was wondering if she was OK.
So that’s where we ended up. I hope the summary and notes helps you with your decision. Good luck and peaceful nights!
The usual caveats apply to all advice on Minimalist Mama: I’m not a doctor or a trained professional in childhood health or development. All opinions and advice expressed on this site are mine alone, a result of my personal research and experience, and are not endorsed by any medical entity or person. Take ’em or leave ’em:)