Swaddling is one of those techniques I could never seem to get right unless I had the fool-proof ready-made swaddles that just required connecting Velcro. Ands my daughter got older and learned to roll over, I panicked about having her arms swaddled so tightly. But the alternative was a cold baby, as blankets were a no-no. I ended up finding another product that worked perfectly, but learning how to do a half swaddle would've been even better for us.
Yes, this is the one thing you can half*ss in parenthood that yields excellent results. (OK, it's not the one thing, but it's the one thing no one will judge you for.) According to aden + anais, a company that produces swaddle blankets, parents choose to half swaddle their babies for a variety of reasons. Your little one might not like to sleep with their arms tightly bound or they may be getting too big for the swaddle, but still like their torso wrapped. It can be especially helpful for babies who self-soothe by sucking their fingers or thumbs to have a half swaddle happen so their hands can reach their mouth. A half swaddle is also a great way to transition a baby from a full swaddle to sleeping without one at all.
So how do you do it? According to The Baby Sleep Site, you can do it in a couple of different ways. If you're transitioning away from the swaddle, you can try swaddling your baby with their legs out, then one arm out the next time, and eventually both arms out. Or, you can try swaddling their bottom half and leaving their arms out — you just have to know which one works for your baby.
If you're a baby gear enthusiast like me (hi friend), you can also find products that help you half swaddle without worrying about parts of the blanket coming undone. According to Halo, if you use a sleep sack, you can swaddle your baby with or without their arms in, making it even easier to choose to half swaddle your baby. You simply tuck the parts that would normally go around their arms up under their armpits and secure them.
7 Swaddles shared seven different swaddling positions depending on your baby's needs and a few of them can be considered half swaddles. For babies that need access to their hands, babies who need their hands to show you hunger cues (like sucking on their fists or rooting), and for babies who only need their arms swaddled — the half swaddle can be adapted to whatever your baby prefers.
The most important thing to remember is to make sure there are no loose pieces of fabric that could cover your baby's face when you do a half swaddle. If you are using a product for swaddling, make sure you follow the item's full instructions for constructing a half swaddle. When in doubt, ask your pediatrician about how to safely half swaddle your baby so that they are getting the benefits of swaddling and what they need in terms of arms and/or legs free.