Swaddling: Short Term Solution, Long Term Problem?

Swaddling

Swaddling is as old as time, but doing it tightly has come back in style recently for the first time in 25 years

If you’re a new parent, chances are strong that you have a love-love relationship with swaddling. Your baby loves being swaddled, your baby sleeps when swaddled, so what’s not love about swaddling?

But is it possible that the long term effects of swaddling are actually harmful?

Yes, according to a children’s surgeon at Southampton General Hospital in the U.K. He says the practice of full swaddling, when the arms and legs are wrapped up, is causing an increase in hip problems, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Nicolas Clarke claims there are a rising number of cases of hip dysplasia as a result of swaddling. “Babies hip joints are loosened by hormones released by the mother during labor to ease their birth. Swaddling, however, forcibly straightens the baby’s legs for the first three to four months of life, leaving them unable to flex and strengthen their weakened joints.”

The practice of tight swaddling has come back in style for the first time in about a quarter of a century. Major educational initiatives helped eradicate the practice for a time, and babies with hip problems were less common until recently. While treatment is available for babies with weakened hips, some will suffer permanent damage.

Prof. Clarke said: “While many cases of hip dysplasia are down to genetics or other conditions, swaddling is becoming an increasingly prevalent cause once again and that is extremely frustrating because it is something parents can control.”

Professor Clarke also said there is a safe way to swaddle, which includes ensuring babies are not too tightly wrapped and have enough room to bend their legs.

How tightly do you swaddle your baby?

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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