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Thread: Swaddled babies at greater risk of hip problems, study finds

  1. Senior Member
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    Swaddled babies at greater risk of hip problems, study finds

    Something to keep in mind when swaddling your babies. I swaddled using the method shown in the video link at the end but didn't know that there was a good and a not so good way to swaddle when raising my own babies.

    Swaddled babies at greater risk of hip problems, study finds -

    Ever in search of a way to quiet the fussy baby, parents increasingly have been turning to the age old technique of swaddling, in which babies are bundled tightly in blankets. But a new report suggests that while swaddling does actually soothe babies, it may also leave them at a greater risk for hip dysplasia.

    The problem with swaddling is that it “positions the legs in extension, that is, straight,” explains the report’s author Dr. Nicholas P. Clarke, a professor and consultant orthopedic surgeon at the University of Southampton, in the United Kingdom. “But in order for the hips to develop properly in the first six months, the legs need to be flexed and abducted, that is, separated.”

    Thus, swaddling, which holds the legs rigidly in place, can provoke dysplasia, particularly in infants at risk, Clarke says.

    Doctors suspect that swaddling increases the risk of dysplasia because it gets in the way of normal development, says Dr. Anthony Scaduto, chief of pediatric orthopedics at the Orthopedic Institute for Children at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    In the early months, babies’ hips are still very malleable, Scaduto explains. In normal development, when babies move their legs, that drives the ball of the femur deeper into the socket, causing permanent changes to the joint.

    “If the pressure from the ball isn’t there, then the socket grows more flat and plate-like,” Scaduto says.

    And that shallow socket can lead to hip dysplasia.

    Scaduto has noticed that an increasing percentage of the patients referred to him because of suspected hip dysplasia have been swaddled.

    After reviewing all the available studies on infants and swaddling, Clarke determined that swaddled infants “arouse less and sleep longer.”

    “Parents are turning to swaddling because there is a view that it helps sleep, which it does, and colic, which it does not,” Clarke says.

    There are other risk factors for hip dysplasia, Clarke notes, including “breech delivery and family history,” but environmental factors such as swaddling can’t be ignored.

    Animal studies have shown that immobilizing the hips and knees in extension in early life leads to hip dysplasia. Research has shown that approximately 20 percent of infants have hip dysplasia or other abnormalities that can lead to the condition. In most cases, Clarke points out, the condition fixes itself with time.

    The good news about hip dysplasia, Clarke notes, is that when it is diagnosed early, the treatment is relatively simple and often successful: splinting.

    Still, Clarke says, it’s best to prevent the condition rather than to have to try to correct it.

    Does that mean parents have to give up a tried-and-true method for soothing babies?

    No, says Clarke, noting that there are safe ways to swaddle. He suggests parents watch this video on safe swaddling

    Hip-Healthy Swaddling | International Hip Dysplasia Institute TAKEN AT NISQUALLY WILDLIFE PRESERVE
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    The point of no return. Is that a duty station?
    I swaddled mine. Their legs were never in a fixed straight position. I used the Miracle Blanket.
    Pax, Aeon
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    I always left baby girl's legs covered but never fixed into position when I swaddled her. I'll do the same for baby boy (if he ever decides to vacate his current location )

    DH: Thank you. ME: For what, babe? DH: For being you.

  4. Mombie.
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    Like the others, mine could move their legs.

  5. Keep Calm and Ride Unicorns
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    The swaddle blankets with velcro at the top on the chest and the pocket at the bottom to let their legs move freely are the most popular and are hip healthy, the danger lies in swaddling with regular blankets and wrapping fully across the body. Kalista has hip dysplasia (although she was never swaddled) and so we heard all about all of the different things that can help contribute and what kinds of swaddles are hip healthy was definitely a part of that.

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    I love my swaddling blankets. Even with the Velcro our little wiggle worn manages to squirm his arms out in 5 minutes though.
    Never do anything halfway unless you want to be half happy.

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  7. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    It's been a long time since I swaddled Tristen and I can't even remember how I kept his legs. Makes me want to grab him and try swaddling him now
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    Madison still needs to be swaddled moderately tight to fall asleep, but she tosses in the night, so she doesn't stay in it too long anyway

    be cool.
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    Ashley- do you use a velcro swaddler or just a blanket? Zach is 8 months now and we swaddled him up til 6 months, he always broke out of it, but he seemed to sleep better. He outgrew the velcro ones and I finally just quit swaddling him. He still sleeps with me because he nurses all through the night, but wondering if he might do better being swaddled again.
  10. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    Huh! I always swaddled Aubs in froggy position-- just seemed more comfortable, you know? We were definitely swaddlers, though. We didn't stop swaddling her until like...maybe...16 or 18 months? Then we just wrapped her like a burrito with her blanket until like 21ish months. Now we just tuck in her sides under her body. She likes feeling snug and safe, always has.

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