MARCH 3-10 IS NATIONAL SLEEP AWARENESS WEEK

Did you notice a few extra mentions about sleep this week? Maybe an email topic here, a social media mention there? That’s because we’re in the middle of National Sleep Awareness week. I received quite a few emails about the topic of sleep just prior to this week. While I’m an enormous fan of sleep… it wasn’t quite a topic that was calling to me though. (Maybe because I’m currently suffering from not enough sleep?) One email struck a cord with me though. The message was from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHPI).

March 3-10 is National Sleep Awareness Week, a week created to celebrate the benefits of sleep.

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If you’re unaware (which at this point the majority of people have no clue), Zoe was born with severe bilateral hip dysplasia. Both of her hips were not fully formed and were dislocated at birth. While it’s ancient history in our lives now, those first six months to over a year everything we did kind of felt like it revolved around Zoe’s little hips. All of these years later I can honestly say her hips completely changed the path of my life. But also, over 13 years later… an email about hip dysplasia is something I will still stop and fully read though. So as a “hip mama” I wanted to send this out there for any parents dealing with Hip Dysplasia now. There are more of us out here… and if you need an ear to listen to you vent about diapers and spica casts… or how to help your little ones be a little more comfy in the bouncy seat (or bean bag chair!!!) send me an email. (If nothing else… I will assure you that your little one WILL dance, and play t-ball, and eventually you may even joke that you wish you had the cast back just so they would sit still for two seconds!)

In the mean time:

Here’s what parents need to know about hip health when it comes to a baby’s swaddling for bedtime:

 
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No one will argue that we all need a good night's sleep! If you are the parent of a newborn, those days (or nights!) are temporarily on hold as you are more focused on your baby's sleep than your own.  So let's talk about making your baby's sleep as safe as possible.  

Many parents find that swaddling can provide comfort for fussy babies, reduce crying, and develop more settled sleep patterns. When babies are swaddled, care should be taken to swaddle properly so the baby is safe and healthy.  

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And, there is a right way and wrong way to swaddle, and it's all about the hips

According to the nonprofit, International Hip Dysplasia Institute, there are many ways to swaddle babies by using blankets or commercial products designed for swaddling. In order for swaddling to allow healthy hip development, the legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows for natural development of the hip joints. This will help prevent Hip Dysplasia - general instability, or looseness, of the hip joint.  Hip dysplasia has a wide range of severity. In some children the ligaments around the hip joint are loose allowing the hip to subluxate. This is when the ball is no longer centered in the socket. Other times the ball is slightly or completely dislocated from the socket.

Did you know that not all baby swaddles are Hip Healthy?  Any swaddle that wraps baby’s legs straight or pressed together does not support proper hip development. Proper hip position is especially important during the first six months of baby’s life and this includes hip position when sleeping.

 
 

There are several key features to look for when choosing swaddles that will ensure healthy hip development for your baby, including looking for a swaddle garment that features a roomy bottom, allowing baby’s legs to bend up and out at the hips.  This position allows for natural and proper development of the hip joints.

Some parents choose to wrap their babies in wearable blankets specifically designed for swaddling. Commercial products for swaddling should have a loose pouch or sack for the baby’s legs and feet, allowing plenty of hip movement. However, even some of these commercial products can confine the legs if they are tightened around the thighs.

It’s especially important to allow the hips to spread apart and bend up. In the womb the legs are in a fetal position with the legs bent up across each other. Sudden straightening of the legs to a standing position can loosen the joints and damage the soft cartilage of the socket.

Check out this list of hip healthy swaddles from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. 

According to Dr. Charles Price, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, "All parents want to select the best for their baby, and in many cases this also means the safest. When it comes to selecting swaddle garments there are specific features parents should look for to ensure their baby's proper physical development."