If You're Not 'Hip Healthy' Swaddling, You're Doing It Wrong (VIDEO)

Is it just me, or does it seem like the longer you're a parent, the more studies come out informing you that everything you've done up until now has been HORRIBLY DANGEROUS AND WRONG? I know it makes me sound like I should have a cane handy for yelling at all these gol-dang newfangled parenting techniques to get off my lawn, but I swear I hear about a new baby-wrangling recommendation every other week and it makes me wonder how my own children managed to survive my stunning ineptitude.

I mean, I didn't know deli meat was forbidden during pregnancy! I couldn't wait for that one-year milestone to turn my babies' carseats around! I dosed my kids with over the counter medication at the first sign of a fever! My god, I fed my babies from a SPOON instead of spitting it into their mouths!

And now that I've learned about "hip healthy swaddling," I realize that the way I often wrapped up my babies in those early months was practically begging for hip dysplasia. GAH!

Hip dysplasia is the medical term for looseness of the hip joint, a condition that ranges from mild instability to complete dislocation. One out of every 20 full-term babies have some hip instability, and 2-3 out of every 1,000 infants will require treatment. Not only that, but it's something that can affect a person later in life—almost one third of hip joint replacements before the age of 50 are because of unrecognized hip dysplasia.

While many babies are born with loose hip joints, the natural process is for everything to tighten up on its own, allowing the hips to grow normally. In most cases, this is exactly what happens, but sometimes the correction doesn't happen thanks to genetics ... and overly tight swaddling.

Studies have found that regularly swaddling a baby too tightly may lead to an abnormal development of the hip joint, which can eventually cause the ball of the hip to dislocate from the hip socket. According to the president of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America,

Many cultures, and a growing number of Americans, practice traditional swaddling -- the tight wrapping of infants with their legs together and fully extended. Unfortunately, this practice places infants at a high risk for dysplasia. Instead, the infant’s arms and torso should be snugly wrapped, while the legs are wrapped loosely, ensuring the legs are bent up and out. The legs should be free to move, and most importantly, the legs should never be wrapped in a ‘straight down’ position.

Here's a video on how swaddling should be done:

It seems like I tried all sorts of different swaddles over the years, depending on my baby's age and temperament at the time (you know how sometimes they seem to want to be immobilized, and sometimes they just plain hate it?), but I definitely didn't know to always keep their legs loose. "Hip healthy" information isn't brand new, but I hadn't personally heard of it until recently ... so, I guess I can add "swaddling" to the ever-growing list of stuff I totally biffed back in the day.

Luckily, my kids' hips seem okay today, no thanks to my ignorant wrapping technique, but I'm more than a little paranoid about what I'm going to learn next. Sippy cups: LINKED TO MALFORMED JAWS. Onesies: RESTRICT ARM FLEXIBILITY. Teddy bears: FILLED WITH DEADLY TOXINS.

Did you know about 'hip healthy' swaddling?

Image via YouTube



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Rushn311 Rushn311

We swaddled my son because it was the only way for him to sleep at night...otherwise he'd punch himself. LOL There was always enough room for his legs but his arms were kind of belted down and I never liked doing it...but he turned out okay.

SueMN... SueMNanaMama

Oh, swell, another thing I can blame on my poor mom...  good thing she died and will never know all my hip problems are clearly her fault (wink).  Sheesh.  No, blame it on that first pediatrician who said something vague about me maybe needing "corrective shoes" and then never following up and all those other pediatricians who never followed up when my mom asked them about what the first pediatrician said.  Because I've had FIVE, count 'em, FIVE hip replacements in 15 years, and I'm only 58!

Bmat Bmat

I didn't know about hip healthy swaddling. I don't approve of a tight swaddle anyway.

nonmember avatar Ashley

I think the best part of the video was the ending where the host announced that the video was made possible through support from Larry the Cable Guy and his Git-R-Done Foundation. Awesome!

amy7243 amy7243

I did not know about this.

Littl... LittleManMama

I'm not sure leaving their legs loose is a great idea--what if they manage to kick the blanket loose, then you have to worry about suffocation risk. I think the problem is as a society we are too quick to completely change recommendations without examining the consequences or if the danger is really large enough to warrant a change. We need to change the way we swaddle for 2 or 3 kids out of 1000? There is no proof that those same kids wouldn't still need treatment even with the new swaddling recommendation. But in terms of car seat recommendations, it does make sense as statistics show your child is 5 times safer that way. (of course your odds of being in an accident are fairly low anyway but still)

mamivon2 mamivon2

oh lord.. my kids werent swaddled well they were but not that often

godde... goddess99

Never heard of it before and my dd was happy anyway.

dusky... dusky_rose

I never heard about this until recently, and my babies had no problems with this.

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