There are a number of good reasons to swaddle a newborn infant. A fussy newborn can often find peace with proper swaddling. This can help the baby and the parents sleep better and be happier. But, there are risks that need to be considered including Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH or Hip Dysplasia).
Proper swaddling is important because newborns are often born having loose hips. About one in ten babies have loose hips, but most often this will correct itself. Babies hips are somewhat soft with shallow sockets at birth so the danger lies when the legs are tightly wrapped and pressed together as if the baby were in the standing position. This can loosen the joints and damage the soft cartilage of the newborn’s hip socket. When the infant’s legs are pulled together and straightened, the top of the leg bone may be pulled away from the hip socket causing the hip to develop abnormally. A recent study from the AI duPont Institute in Delaware showed that even loose swaddling that pulls the thighs together makes loose hips worse.
The practice of a “baby burrito” swaddle” is deep rooted in the beliefs of many people and that may interfere with transitioning to a hip healthy swaddle. So, please pass the word to others that there’s a right way and a wrong way to swaddle newborn infants. The intentions of tight straight-leg swaddling may be good, but unfortunately the techniques may have debilitating results.
In the following video our Medical Director, Dr. Charles Price, explains the dangers of incorrect swaddling and he walks you through how to correctly swaddle your newborn.
For more information on swaddling please visit the American Academy of Pediatrics
For more information on hip dysplasia and hip healthy swaddling: https://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/hip-healthy-swaddling/