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Should You Add an Arms Up Swaddle to Your Baby Registry Checklist?

Baby boy laying on a white sheet sleeping with his hands under his head wrapped in a light grey blanket

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Take any pre-baby parenting class, and the instructor will likely wax poetic about the benefits of swaddling your baby for sleep. While this is undoubtedly a trusted process, many babies don’t enjoy the suggested “arms across the chest” technique. That’s why companies such as Love to Dream invented the arms up swaddle.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking–aren’t all swaddles more or less the same? 

Surprisingly, no.

Head into any baby store, and you’re bound to find an eclectic mix of baby swaddle products on the shelves. Deciding which ones are baby registry must-haves can lead to a serious case of mom overwhelm.

Let’s face it; when you’re shopping for your little one, you want to feel confident that you’re purchasing products that will offer them the most comfort and protection possible.

Although traditional wrap swaddles are a popular purchase, if you’re a soon-to-be parent who’s getting ready for baby, you have to wonder–are they the best choice?

Surprisingly, these types of swaddles can be problematic (more on this in a minute). That’s why new mom Hana-Lia Krawchuk decided to create a safer alternative after the 2008 birth of her son.

Enter the arms up swaddle. 

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What is an Arms Up Swaddle?

In most standard variations of swaddling, a little one’s arms are left down by their sides or crossed before being wrapped into a baby burrito.

While this is safe for your baby, it doesn’t replicate their natural position after birth. 

Take a moment to think about something: how often do you see new babies lying on their backs with their hands by their sides or across their chests?

Spoiler alert: almost never.

Instead, the more natural position for newborns is to have their hands raised by the sides of their heads. Baby bodies often instinctually fall into this position during rest. Not only is it comfortable for them, but it also gives them easy access to their hands for self-soothing.

 By purchasing your baby an arms up swaddle, you can help them stay in this position while still providing the comfort that comes from swaddling.

Are These Types of Products Safe?

Safety is obviously a top concern with anything baby-related, especially when you’re talking about a product or practice that’s “out of the norm.” Since arms up swaddles are a relatively new design, it’s no surprise parents might question their reliability.

Thankfully, arms up swaddles are perfectly safe for your little one.

Not only have they earned approval from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, but the design also prevents issues like suffocation. When used correctly, an arms up swaddle is safe for babies right out of the belly.

Baby boy laying on a white sheet almost asleep with a blue pacifier in his mouth and wrapped in a blue blanket
When it comes to healthy sleep habits and encouraging self-soothing for your little one, choosing an arms up swaddle for bedtime and rest could be the right choice.

Understanding the Benefits of Putting Your Baby in an Arms Up Swaddle

Swaddling in and of itself is a beneficial way to practice safe sleeping practices with your new baby. By selecting an arms up swaddle, however, you’ll reap even more advantages than you would with a traditional swaddle.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll receive if you choose one of these products:

  • Your baby will have better access to their hands for self-soothing.
  • There will be less risk of excess or loosening fabric which can lead to suffocation. 
  • These types of swaddles keep babies in hip-healthy positions that prevent pressure and strain on their hips and legs.
  • This design reduces the chances of your baby accidentally rolling over before they’re strong enough and ready.
  • Most arms up swaddles, such as the Swaddle Up, feature soft, breathable material that keeps your baby from overheating

Are There Any Cons to Using These Types of Baby Swaddles?

So, this all sounds great, right? You might be thinking, so what’s the catch? There has to be a “but” in here somewhere.

Well, it might surprise you to learn there really aren’t any significant risk factors when using an arms up swaddle. While unfortunate circumstances can happen with nearly any product, the chances of problems with products like the Swaddle Up are rare. 

The most important thing to remember is to use whatever product you buy correctly. Pay close attention to the directions to ensure your little one is safe, and if you still have questions, it’s always a good idea to talk to your child’s pediatrician!

Should You Stop Using an Arms Up Swaddle When Your Little One is Rolling Over?

The general rule of thumb is to discontinue the practice for any swaddling situation once your baby can rollover. HOWEVER, if you want to continue using a swaddle-like sleep sack, there are safe ways of doing so.

For example, arms up swaddled, and rolling over can sometimes work together.

Companies like Love to Dream make transition “bags” that keep babies’ arms out. This allows them to push up and reposition themselves if they roll while sleeping. 

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Tips for Purchasing the Right Baby Arms Up Swaddle

Now that we’ve decided putting your baby in an arms up swaddle can be the way to go; it’s time to figure out the right way of doing it. 

For starters, be sure to pick one of the best arms up swaddles on the market. There are tons of products available, but you deserve the comfort of knowing your little one is in something that’s well tested and reviewed (pay close attention to our list of favorites below for suggestions!).

Aside from shopping for quality products, though, there are a few other tips you should think about when buying arms up swaddle that’s safe and reliable.

Pay Close Attention to Sizing

Most arms up swaddles come in various size options. Make sure you pay close attention to any age, weight, or height suggestions. While you might think buying a swaddle that’s a little big so they can grow into it is a good idea, the loose fabric can be a suffocation hazard. 

Buy More Than One 

If you’re expecting your first baby and haven’t ever dealt with the newborn bathroom habits, I’m going to let you in on a little secret–blowouts are inevitable! You’ll want more than one swaddle on deck for when it happens.

Consider the Temperature Outside

Many companies that make arms up swaddles for newborns and infants offer different styles based on the weather. If, for example, you live somewhere that often sees frigid winter weather, there are thicker options to keep baby warm.

Consider the climate in your area before making a final choice about which type of swaddle you want to buy.

Zippers Vs. Snaps

When our daughter was born, most baby pajamas had snaps on them. While this seemed like a perfectly acceptable shopping decision in the beginning, we quickly learned that snaps were the bane of our existence.

Zippers, however, are where it’s at. 

At least they were for us!

We felt like zippers provided quicker, easier access for diaper and clothing changes (see the previous section on blowouts.)

Don’t take our word for it, though. It might not be a bad idea to get one of each style to figure out which option works best for your family. 

Newborn baby lays on a white blanket with puffy dots on it wearing a white and yellow striped sleeper waiting to be wrapped up
What is an arms up swaddle? Is it right for your little one? We’re answering all your questions!

The Best Arms Up Swaddles of 2022

If you’re ready to start shopping for your baby’s swaddles, why not pick from the best arms up swaddles available?

We’ve put together our list of the top three options currently on the market:

1. Love to Dream Swaddle UP

Let’s start with the OG of arms up swaddles and one of our all-time favorite products! The Love to Dream Swaddle UP offers everything you could want out of a swaddle for your baby. 

This baby registry must-have will support your baby by keeping their arms and body in a position that feels natural and relaxing to them.

It’s also made from high-quality breathable fabric that prevents overheating. 

2. Zen One™ Classic by Nested Bean

Nested Bean provides its customers with an incredible arms up swaddle that promises longer sleep cycles in just 1 – 3 nights.

The Zen One™ Classic is highly reviewed and even includes a safe weighted design that mimics the feeling of a parent’s hand resting on the baby.

3. Sleeping Baby Zippadee-Zip Swaddle Bag

Do the words “As seen on Shark Tank” mean anything to you? If so, you’re going to love the amazing Zippadee-Zip Swaddle Bag from Sleeping Baby

Not only does this product come in the most adorable patterns and designs, but it’s also one of the top-rated arms up swaddles on Amazon.

It’s also the winner of the National Parenting Products Award!

Keep Your Baby Comfy By Choosing the Right Kind of Swaddle

So, sure, there’s no rule stating you have to use an arms up swaddle for your baby. There are plenty of great things about other types of swaddles, too.

If you want to pick a product, however, that promotes self-soothing, healthy hips, and natural positioning for your little one, this type of swaddle is probably your best bet. 

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Have you ever thought about using an arms up swaddle for your little one?

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