Swaddling is the topic of the hour. Some experts say it can be harmful to your baby’s development,and advise against it completely – yet the technique has been used by cultures around the world for thousands of years. The topic has been recently revived in the press with pictures of celebrity children comfortably tucked into stylish blankets at the heart of the contraversy. A photo of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West‘s baby North wrapped in swaddling clothes was posted on Instagram last week. Meanwhile, royal baby George was pictured swaddled in muslin cloth. So the question remains – to swaddle or not to swaddle?
Tightly wrapping the extended legs of a baby and pressing them together is believed to impede the natural development of the hip joints and cause hip dysplasia. There is also a risk of the baby overheating, as well as a raised risk of cot death.
At the moment, it is not straightforward. There is evidence for and against swaddling. One expert suggested that the real issue was not about whether or not to swaddle, but rather when to swaddle. And many agree that HOW you swaddle is even more important.
Hip Healthy Swaddling
Swaddling mimics the environment in the womb and is often done to calm the baby and to help soothe or prevent crying. According to the National Children’s Trust, if the purpose of swaddling your baby is simply to stop them thrashing around, then it may be best to use a muslin (particularly indoors), as it is important that your baby does not overheat.
A key to hip healthy swaddling is that the baby’s legs should be able to move into a ‘frog position’, rather than being held straight. You should never cover a baby’s head, and only use materials made for swaddling. Infants must also NEVER be placed on their stomach when swaddled.
For further guidelines on safe swaddling and details on how to swaddle your baby in a hip healthy way, click here.
Here is a helpful video guide as well: