How to use the Butterfly Cardi

Learn how to transition your baby from arms in swaddling to arms out sleeping using the Butterfly Cardi

When your baby begins to show signs of rolling their body over, it’s time to transition your swaddled baby to an arms out sleeper for their safety. Signs include rolling from back to front or tummy time onto their back around 2–6 months of age.

The Butterfly Cardi is designed to be worn over an arms out sleep sack or swaddle, to help transition your baby from an arms in swaddle to arms out sleeping with minimal sleep interruptions and maximum sleep comfort. Watch our video above for a step-by-step guide on how to use the Butterfly Cardi and read on below for more helpful tips and advice when using your Butterfly Cardi.

With anything new, your baby may take time to adjust. That’s ok! Give them a few days to become familiar to this new way of sleeping. Before you know it, you’ll have a little champion sleeping with both their arms out.

Step one

When your baby first shows signs of wanting to roll, it's time to transition a swaddled baby to arms out sleeping for their safety. We recommend transitioning over a 10 day period to help your baby adjust.

Step two

Day 1 - 3
Dress your baby in the Butterfly Cardi over their arms out sleep sack. Contain their arms within the fold-over arm pockets for all their sleeps (day and night).

Step three

Adjust the firmness of the Cardi by changing the snap closure position. If your baby has a strong startle reflex, start with a tight fit. If your baby has a low startle reflex, start with a looser fit.

Step four

Day 4 - 7
After your baby is familiar with their new Butterfly Cardi, you can take one arm out of the fold-over pocket for all their sleeps.

Step five

Day 8 - 9
Your baby can sleep with both arms out of the fold-over pockets for all their sleeps.

Step six

Day 10
Your baby can sleep without the Butterfly Cardi. Your baby has transitioned to sleeping arms out, HOORAY!

Let’s check the fit!

The Butterfly Cardi is designed to be a snug and comfortable fit on top of your baby’s arms out sleep sack or swaddle. It comes with variable snap closures that can adjust firmness to help comfort your baby. The Butterfly Cardi should only be used for baby's who weigh 11-18lbs. Please do not use the Butterfly Cardi if your baby does not meet this weight guideline.

  1. Dress your baby in their regular layers and arms out sleep sack or swaddle.
  2. Put the Butterfly Cardi on over the top.
  3. Fasten the snap closures on the tightest setting for a baby who still has a strong startle reflex; or for a smaller baby.
  4. Fasten the snap closures on the loosest setting for a baby who has less of a startle reflex; or for a larger baby.
  5. Whichever setting you are on, slip two fingers under the neckline of the Cardi, and onto baby's chest. The material should feel firm and comfortable on your fingers, but not tight. This fit means the cardi will not be compressing the chest.
  6. Your baby's arms should fit comfortably in the arm pockets.

If in doubt, feel free to chat to our friendly Customer Service team who can help you check the fit for your baby.

How to Layer with the Butterfly Cardi

Your Butterfly Cardi is not TOG rated, but is a light layer which is safe to use on top of your regular sleep sack and layer combination, for sleep without the risk of overheating. If your baby is too hot when sleeping with the Butterfly Cardi (feels hot/sticky to touch on the back of the neck or chest during sleep), simply remove an under layer.

In very warm environments, your baby can safely sleep in a diaper and the Butterfly Cardi without a ssleep sack or swaddle underneath. A singlet or short sleeve bodysuit is optional in this scenario.

For more guidance on how to dress your baby for sleep, follow our What to Wear Guide.

What are the signs my baby is ready to transition?

Indicators that your baby is showing signs of rolling, and no longer requires a swaddle for sleeping include:

  • Attempting to roll their body when unswaddled

  • Pushing up on hands during tummy time; lifting one hand off the ground

  • Fussiness when swaddled/fighting the swaddle when dressing

  • Disrupted sleep

  • Disappearance of the startle (moro) reflex

  • Attempting to have hands free/up around their face when the swaddle is on

While all babies are wonderfully different and will come to these milestones in their own time, it typically happens between 8 weeks to 6 months. Keep an eye out for the signs, and be prepared to transition BEFORE your baby rolls.

What are the signs my baby is ready to transition?

Extend the life of your Butterfly Cardi

Your Butterfly Cardi is made from GOTS certified organic cotton and elastane. When cared for properly, this product will last several years and can be used for more than one baby.

If you've received a second-hand Butterfly Cardi, check for loose threads and stable snap closures before using. Contact our Customer Service team if you have any questions.

How to wash and dry your Butterfly Cardi

  • Gentle cold machine wash
  • Do not tumble dry
  • Moderately hot iron
  • Dry cleanable
  • Do not use bleach based stain removers

FAQs for transitioning from swaddle to sleep sack using the Butterfly Cardi

How do I know if my baby is ready for the Butterfly Cardi?
If they are showing signs of rolling, it's time to get those arms out of the swaddle! The Butterfly Cardi will assist this transition by gradually releasing their arms.

Do I wear a Swaddle or Sleep Sack underneath the Butterfly Cardi?
The answer is an arms out pouch, whether it is an arms out swaddle or arms out sleep sack. We recommend using the pouch you intend to keep sleeping your child in after the Butterfly Cardi comes off and they are fully transitioned. See our Milestones Chart for help in picking the right style pouch for your baby.

Do I use blankets with the Butterfly Cardi?
No. The TOG rated sleep sack you use under the Butterfly Cardi has an insulation grade making it warm enough to use for sleep without loose bedding, and is designed to replace blankets.

What do I do if my baby rolls over while wearing the Butterfly Cardi?
If your baby rolls onto their stomach during sleep while their arms are contained in the cardi's pockets, they will still be able to use their arms to assist lifting their head to the side for unobstructed breathing. You do not need to put them back on their back. Following the roll, for their next sleep remove both arms out of the arm pockets for sleep. After another day, remove the Butterfly Cardi altogether.

My baby doesn't meet the weight requirements for the Butterfly Cardi, but is showing signs of rolling. What do I do?
We suggest dressing your child in an appropriately sized Cocoon Swaddle Sack, and releasing their arms out for sleep using the swaddles press studs. This is a faster way to transition to arms out sleeping but may cause a little more disruption. However, it is safer to endure a few days of disruption than risking a sleep product on your baby that is too big, or delaying the transition.

Does the Butterfly Cardi cause chest compression?
When the correct size for your child's weight is used, the Butterfly Cardi should be a firm fit, but should not cause chest compression. Every Butterfly Cardi is made with stretchy elastane for both comfort and to enable unrestricted breathing.

How long do I use the Butterfly Cardi for?
We recommend transitioning with the Butterfly Cardi over a 10 day period. Once your baby has transitioned to both arms out during sleep, the Butterfly Cardi should be removed for all their sleeps.

Do I need to remove the Butterfly Cardi when doing overnight feeds or diaper changes?
This is optional, but the short answer is no. Your baby can remain in the Butterfly Cardi for a feed, but you may wish to remove for comfort and burping. You do not need to remove the Butterfly Cardi for diaper changes.

Can I used the Butterfly Cardi for sleep on the go with baby?
The Butterfly Cardi can be worn if sleeping in a bassinet-style stroller attachment or travel bassinet/crib, but cannot be used in a five point harness. Please do not put your child in a car seat wearing the Butterfly Cardi.

Can my baby sleep with their arms up in a Butterfly Cardi?
Yes, your baby will be able find a comfortable arm position when using the Butterfly Cardi, including bringing their hand to their mouth for self-soothing if they are inclined.

How many Butterfly Cardi's do I need?
We would suggest two if you have a baby with reflux, or one that tends to bring up a lot of milk. Otherwise, one Butterfly Cardi is enough to see your little one through the transition period.

What do I dress my baby in for sleep after they've completed the transition?
Hooray, you have an arms out sleeper! You can now dress your child in an arms out swaddle or sleep sack, and their regular PJs/Romper/Onesie underneath. All ergoPouch swaddles and sleep sacks include a Room Thermometer and Dressing Guide. Place the thermometer in your baby's sleep environment to check room temperature. Once room temperature is established, use the table to guide you on the correct TOG and under Layers combination. Our organic cotton fibers are excellent at keeping your baby warm, while being breathable to maintain a comfortable and safe sleeping temperature.

Safety Tips

  • Ensure your baby's weight is appropriate to use this product. See our Size Guide for more information.

  • Not suitable for use in a 5 point harness. Please do not put your baby in a car seat while wearing the Butterfly Cardi.

Safety Tips

Complete your transition sleep stash

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