Dr. Charles Price, pediatric orthopedist at the Winnie and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and director of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, has reported 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, and this restriction of movement in the lower half of the body can lead to post-natal hip dysplasia.”
Hip dysplasia is the most common infant abnormality and results when the top of the femur (leg 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, first born girls and when there is a genetic predisposition (family history). When babies are checked for the condition at birth about 2-3 babies per 1000 will require treatment, making it the most common newborn condition. 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, and this may be due to improper swaddling.
Improper swaddling has been associated with hip dysplasia in specific cultures worldwide where tight swaddling is the norm. The condition often goes undiagnosed and leads to early onset of adult arthritis of the hips with hip replacement at a young age.
Risk factors for hip dysplasia
(These should cause parents and physicians to look more closely for possible hip dysplasia)
- Family history of hip dysplasia
- Breech position in the womb
- Prolonged or frequent tight swaddling with the legs straight
- Twisted neck or foot
- Birth weight more than 8 lbs 13 oz
- Mother more than 35 years old
- Hip click
You can help your baby have healthy hips by recognizing risk factors, keeping your doctor appointments, and protecting your baby’s hips without swaddling the legs too tightly in the first few months of life.
What to look for in infants and children
Your pediatrician is trained in methods to examine a baby’s hips to detect hip dysplasia. When in doubt, ask him/her to check the hips carefully. Hip dysplasia does not cause pain or keep your baby from sitting, crawling, and walking at a normal age. Some findings that may alert you to possible hip dysplasia are:
- Uneven buttocks creases where one crease is higher than the other
- When changing diapers, one or both legs don’t spread out as fully as they should.
- A consistent clicking or bumping sensation when changing diapers
- One leg appears shorter than the other
- An extra crease is noticed on the inside of the thigh suggesting that the thigh is thicker and shorter than it should be. This is more noticeable if only one side is involved
- After walking age you may notice:
- Your child stands and walks with one foot on tiptoes with the heel off the floor (because of difference in leg lengths)
- Visible limping on one side
- If both sides are involved, there will be a waddling gait that is more exaggerated than a normal baby and excessive sway back posture in addition to the waddling gait.
Dr. Price Offers These Hip Healthy Swaddling Tips To Help Avoid 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 the legs out 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 which is a fool proof way to swaddle baby in a hip healthy manner.
Improper “Tight” Swaddle
Halo Sleepsack Swaddle For Hip Healthy Swaddling
How to Swaddle Properly (Video)
Learning how to swaddle the correct way doesn’t take long & luckily The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has a video that demonstrates how to swaddle properly. You can find that here: http://www.hipdysplasia.org/Infant-and-Child-Hip-Dysplasia/Hip-Healthy-Swaddling/Default.aspx
For additional information on hip dysplasia, including safe swaddle tips and how to recognize the condition in your child, visit:
My precious Silje in her Halo Sleepsack. Funny thing is I received a size “newborn” sleepsack in the hospital (they give them away to new moms) & she didn’t fit! Thankfully Halo was kind enough to send us a size up. We love Halo sleepsacks because if your baby is anything like mine they’re a little Houdini that can break out of any swaddle you put them in, which in turn actually increases the chance that you’ll swaddle incorrectly and make it too tight.
I’d like to thank Halo for sending us our sleepsack & Dr. Price & The International Hip Dysplasia Institute for providing the above information for myself and my readers because even as a third time mom I was still swaddling wrong at times!
Are you expecting? Know someone who is? Do you have a newborn? Halo has been kind enough to provide a sleepsack to one of you! Enter below. Good luck.
Prize: Halo Sleepsack in the color of your choice (boy, girl, neutral) for newborns or infants.
How to Enter: 2 step process. All you have to do is tell us in a comment directly on the blog who you’d love to win this for, then fill out the rafflecopter form below. (please wait & the form will load).
Good luck! Any questions or problems entering please leave a comment here or on Facebook and I will get back to you. (only I can see your email)
Disclosure: I received the above product in order to facilitate this review. No my opinions and experiences are my own. Yours may vary. Prize fulfillment handled directly by PR.
Going to be a mommy soon and this would so help with learning to swaddle! This would.be great to win!
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I’m not currently expecting, but trying for #2 begins in a just a couple months!
I am currently TTC!
Expecting baby #3 due to arrive in a few weeks!
i am not expecting just yet, but hopefully soon!
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I would love to win this for my 4month old girl 😀
I’d like to won one of these for my friend Allyssa, due with a lil boy in October