Did you know there’s a direct connection between incorrect swaddling and hip dysplasia? Swaddling an infant has many positive effects, such calming a crying baby and soothing pain in infants. Unfortunately, many parents are taught to swaddle the baby’s entire body to create a tight cocoon. However, this restriction of movement in the lower half of the body can lead to post-natal hip dysplasia.
The most common infant abnormality, hip dysplasia results when the top of the femur bone is not properly located in the hip socket or is loose in the hip socket. The condition is most common in breech birth babies, firstborn girls and when there is a genetic predisposition or family history of the dysplasia. If diagnosed early and with proper care, this condition can usually be reversed.
Recently, however, it has been discovered that infants whose hips were normal at birth are developing hip dysplasia in the early months. This may be due to improper swaddling. The condition often goes undiagnosed and leads to early onset of adult arthritis of the hips with hip replacement at a young age.
The following hip-healthy swaddling tips can help prevent hip dysplasia.
- If using a blanket, wrap firmly around the arms but loosely around the legs so the hips can move freely
- When swaddling baby, avoid stretching out the legs straight or pressing them together
- Encourage baby’s hips to be spread and bent as if riding on a horse.
- When carrying baby, wrap his legs around your body for proper hip development
- Consider using a SleepSack product with a roomy bottom, such as the Halo SleepSack Swaddle, a fool-proof and safe way to swaddle baby.