Swaddling is by all accounts on the rise among new parents, but a pediatric orthopedic surgeon thinks it's a bad trend, reports the BBC. Wrapping a baby tightly with blankets restricts the infant's hips from moving freely and raises the risk that they won't develop properly, the UK doctor writes in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. "In order to allow for healthy hip development, legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips." In other words, "the babies' legs should not be tightly wrapped in extension and pressed together."
Swaddling is thought to work because it mimics the feel of the womb and thus calms the baby. Great, writes James Norton at the Christian Science Monitor, this is yet more conflicting advice for confused parents. Controversy over swaddling isn't new, he adds, and his blog post provides a link to techniques that he says avoid most or all of the risk to infants.