Mid-evil baby torture device? Afraid not! It is the standard of care for DDH, or developmental dysplasia of the hip. DDH is a painful disorder of the hip a baby is either born with (due to cramped quarters in the womb) or that happens in the first year of life. It is a physical problem where for some reason the femur doesn't fit securely into the hip socket. Oftentimes it goes undetected until later in childhood or even into early adulthood when surgery is necessary! Unfortunately, first born females have the highest chances of developing this problem, but you can do your part to help prevent it!
Understandably you may get the urge to transform your darling into an adorable, snug, baby burrito but this could cause more harm than cuteness. Swaddling too tight with the hips and knees in an extended position may increase the risk of hip dysplasia and dislocation.
For a quick refresher on safe swaddling (you don’t have to be an origami Olympian to get it right) check out this video published by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.