Swaddling is an age-old practice we use with our infants that certainly has a lot of benefits, such as its soothing effect on excessive crying and how it encourages sleep in those early months. With these side effects, moms everywhere definitely don’t want to give it up.
But here at Baby Begin, we are always on the lookout for the newest reports and studies on how to keep your baby healthy and happy. We’ve found an important study by Dr. Charles Price, pediatric orthopedist at the Winnie and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and director of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. In this paper, he details the direct links between incorrect swaddling and infant hip dysplasia.
Dr. Price notes, “Swaddling an infant has many positive effects such as 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, and this restriction of movement in the lower half of the body can lead to post-natal hip dysplasia.”
Yikes! Sounds a little frightening for new mommies. But not to worry, if your baby is already showing signs of hip dysplasia, it can often be reversed in the early stages. Plus, Dr. Price offers these tips on how to correctly swaddle your baby to prevent the condition:
- If swaddling with a blanket, wrap firmly around the arms but loosely around the legs. That way, the hips can move without too much restriction.
- When swaddling, avoid pushing together or stretching out your baby’s legs.
- When you’re carrying your baby, encourage their legs to be wrapped around your body, as if they were riding a horse.
- Consider using a sleep sack with a loose bottom to ensure swaddling isn’t detrimental to your baby’s hips.
With these tips in mind, you can keep your baby snugly swaddled without hurting their hips, helping them (and you!) get a good night’s sleep.