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