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Arms Up Swaddle: Step-by-Step how to swaddle with arms up


baby about to get swaddled up in zen swaddle

Every new parent wants their baby to sleep well at night - especially if you've heard horror stories from friends and family before your baby arrived! Many babies manage to sleep through naps and longer stretches of sleep because of the magic of swaddling, which recreates a womblike environment and helps your little one feel snug and secure.

But for many babies, swaddles are a challenge, and they're determined to break out no matter what! However, just because you're dealing with a Houdini baby doesn't mean that you have to give up on swaddling altogether - just swaddle with your baby's arms up!

In this blog, we'll give you a step-by-step guide (including pictures!) on how to swaddle your baby with their arms up, as well as some tips on transitioning away from swaddling when the time comes.

Should you swaddle a baby with arms up?

Swaddling with arms up is great for babies who often try to fight the swaddle when it's being put on or who break out during the night, and can also help babies transition away from traditional arms in swaddling.

It still feels cozy and snug while baby sleeps thanks to the pressure from the swaddle being wrapped around baby's chest, but it doesn't restrict them in a way that can be dangerous after a certain age is reached.

You might worry that it can't prevent Moro reflex wakeups as effectively, but as this reflex naturally fades away in the first few months of baby's life, this is unlikely to be a problem for a baby who is 3 or 4 months old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that parents should stop swaddling their baby as soon as they show any signs of trying to roll over. Many babies start working on rolling at around 2 months of age, but rolling at 3 or 4 months old is also common. Remember - every baby is unique, and it's perfectly normal if your baby doesn't reach milestones at the same time as others.

How to swaddle with arms up

As you can see, swaddling your baby with their arms up is quick and straightforward! All you have to do is follow a few simple steps that are very similar to swaddling the old fashioned way with a traditional swaddle blanket:

arms up swaddle infographic

If you want to know more about how to swaddle your baby and the benefits it can bring, from preventing wakeups from baby's startle reflex to reducing certain health risks, you can check out our blog here!

Practice swaddling your baby

Millions of swaddle blankets are sold to parents all around the world every year, but that doesn't mean that everybody knows the best way to use them. If you're swaddling your baby, you need to know the proper techniques, or you might face problems like making your baby uncomfortable during sleep or even some associated health and safety risks.

Luckily, swaddling is easy once you know how to do it, and much like diaper changing you'll be a natural before you know it, even if you find it a little tricky at the start.

If you're still finding it difficult, we recommend reaching out to a friend or family member who has had a baby and who can show you in person. If not, videos online can be a great resource for seeing exactly how to do it and where abouts in the process you might be going wrong.

Transition to sleep sack

Swaddling is fantastic for younger babies, but once your little one is showing signs of rolling over independently, you'll need to transition away from using a swaddle blanket. Swaddling with arms out is a great, safe way to do this, though you'll need to switch to a sleep sack or wearable blanket eventually.

If you want to know the best way of transitioning from traditional swaddle blankets to a sleep sack, including a step by step guide, check out our blog on the topic!

If you're looking for a swaddle that can still be used even after this transition, why not try our Nested Bean Zen One Classic?

With its detachable, quick-drying mesh sleeves, you can easily convert this sleepwear from a swaddle to a sleep sack, and the gently weighted pad gives your baby a similar sense of comfort to the pressure of a swaddle.

No time to swaddle?

baby sleeping in zen one swaddle

Swaddle blankets can be tricky if you've never used one before - with all the folding there's plenty that can go wrong, and leaving even a little slack can result in your Houdini baby breaking out!

If you want to get the perfect swaddle fit every time, why not try our Zen One Classic? Featuring a two-way zipper for easy diaper changes and detachable mesh sleeves that can be removed for arms up swaddling, this sleepwear can even be used after you've stopped swaddling your baby.

If you have a Houdini baby who always breaks out of traditional swaddles, we think the Zen One can keep them in place - and sleeping through the night!


Other Swaddle Resources

Healthychildren.Org: Swaddling: Is it Safe?

American Academy of Pediatrics: Influence of Swaddling on Sleep

National Library of Medicine: Risks and Benefits of Swaddling


Commonly asked questions about arms up swaddling

Athena S.

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