Swaddling, Hip Dysplasia and Hip Dislocation

The term ‘swaddling’ refers to an age old practice of wrapping an infant in a blanket

or cloth so that the movement of the baby’s limbs is tightly restricted. It was done as

it was believed that it was protecting the baby. The act of swaddling generally fell out

of favour in the 17th Century.


It was surely a universal practice, so much so that to this day it is a technique that

is still being used in some parts of the Middle East and minor ethnic groups. It has

however recently experienced somewhat of a comeback. According to research

approximately 90% of infants in North America are swaddled in the first few months

of life.


Why do we have to swaddle our babies?

Swaddling is practiced as it is generally accepted that it has a certain palliative

effect on a baby’s excessive crying, infants with colic and little ones that are

struggling to sleep.


What is hip dysplasia and hip dislocation?

Hip Dysplasia refers to when the bones of the hip joint are not aligned correctly.

This is a common result of incorrect swaddling. It also goes by the name of

hip ‘dislocation’.


What is the correct way of swaddling?

The term, ‘Safe swaddling’, refers to what can be assumed is the correct way

of swaddling. The use of appropriate devices, like the Love To Swaddle UPTM,

should be promoted. You can be safer by allowing the child’s legs to bend up and

out at the hips, which will allow for healthy hip development. Remember that the

baby’s legs should not be too tightly wrapped- there should be ample room for hip

movement and hip flexion, and abduction.


What is the incorrect way of swaddling?

Swaddling that in any way, shape or form limits the baby’s legs in movement is

the incorrect way to go about it. As mentioned in the above point, there should be

enough room for the child’s legs to move around.


What else can cause hip dysplasia?

There are different ways in which your child can be affected by hip dysplasia,

including; a proven family history of DDH (Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip),

being the firstborn child, being female and being born buttocks-first.


Contrary to popular belief it is after all safe to swaddle your baby. The important

thing is to do it the right way. Perhaps consider acquiring some of the approved

products to assist with it. And again, remember not to wrap your child too tightly.


Take care and love your baby.

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