Hip-Healthy Swaddling

You may or may not know, but my 17 month old daughter was recently diagnosed with a dislocated left hip. We didn’t know anything was wrong with her until she started walking with an obvious limp, and pressed hard for answers after her pediatrician was not very concerned.

Her hip dysplasia diagnosis has been a huge blow to me. I, like so many people, have an expectation of 100% healthy babies. Of course, there are no guarantees in life…and we love her just the same!!! 🙂 It’s just beyond sad to me that she will be fighting hip problems her entire life and that I have to put her through a horrible surgery in a couple of weeks and then deal with her in a spica cast for 6 weeks to 5 months.

About 1 in 1000 babies is diagnosed with hip dysplasia. HD can range from a looseness of the ball in the socket (meaning the hip is not stable), to an all out dislocated hip (my daughter’s problem). Some babies are born with an immediate problem, and in some, it just happens because of a predisposition sometime during the first year of life. Most newborn doctors and pediatricians screen for HD at well baby checks, but it’s still not found all the time.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  1. Uneven thigh folds – they should match up on both legs
  2. Less flexible hip on one side
  3. Strange gait when walking (limping or waddling)

Some things you can do:

  1. Have your baby evaluated by a pediatric chiropractor
  2. Discuss any risk factors with your doctor. Risk factors include family history, breech baby, c-section delivery, girl, and first born. Best I can tell, 75% of babies with HD are girls! And the leg most often impacted is the left.
  3. Practice hip healthy swaddling if you swaddle. The hip socket is still developing during the first year of life and pulling legs down tightly and not allowing them to be in their natural state can encourage more hip problems.
  4. Carry your baby on your hip and cloth diaper. These things help keep the hips properly aligned so they can develop as needed.

Since my baby was diagnosed, I have been researching almost non-stop. I’m compiling a list of resources and blogs that have been helping me and will post it soon, but if you’re facing this problem, The International Hip Dysplasia Institute is a good place to start.

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Comments

  1. I am sorry to hear about your little one. Hopefully recovery will go by quick. Thanks for the info and link. I am due in 2.5 weeks and although I try not to overload myself with info, I like to be somewhat prepared. I do have a question. Why is cloth diapering recommended? I do plan on cloth diapering but I was just wondering why it would affect it. Thanks
    • Hi Suzy, Cloth diapers help because they are bulkier than disposables and they hold the hips out a little further from the body in a more optimal position. Obviously they can't keep HD from happening...I cloth diaper and carry my babies...and have very few risk factors. Sometimes, things just happen. Thanks for your comment and best of luck with your new baby!! :-)
  2. I pray that everything goes well with surgery & recovery! Love your list of things you can do, especially #1! I can't stress enough that children should see chiropractors, especially babies. Thanks again for linking up at Healthy 2day Wednesdays!

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