A swaddle gives a newborn a sense of security and is used to help them transition to life outside the womb. However, improper swaddling can cause problems, such as hip dysplasia.
What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a condition where a baby’s hip socket is too shallow to cover the head of their thigh bones (femur), causing the femoral head to come out of the socket frequently. This causes the unequal length of the two legs, uneven buttocks, and popping sensations with hip movements.
How hip dysplasia affects a baby’s development
Untreated hip dysplasia can result in a permanent hip dislocation, abnormal walking gait, chronic hip and back pain, or teenage arthritis. Many people with this condition will also require hip replacement surgery at a young age.
How tightly should a baby be swaddled?
A baby should be swaddled snugly, but not tightly. They must be given enough room to move and bend their legs freely inside the swaddle while minimizing any violent jerk reflex movements. A good way to eyeball this is to ensure that they are able to bend their knees, inside the swaddle, all the way up to their hips, similar to a frog’s sitting position.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (15 July 2021)