Swaddling for a Pavlik Harness

Swaddling for a Pavlik Harness

Swaddling for a Pavlik Harness

My squishy wee newborn LOVES being swaddled! The snuggly, warm and safe feeling it provides not only mimics the womb, but it instantly triggers a calming response and supports her sleep by protecting against the startle reflex. We were initially using a miracle blanket and it worked great. She was sleeping, I was sleeping, we were all happy! ….

So you can imagine my devastation when at 7 weeks old she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia (as a result of being breech) and put into a Pavlik harness. Suddenly, she wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t sleeping. We are both miserable. The miracle blanket wasn’t wide enough to fit over her harness and despite my best efforts we just couldn’t get that snug feeling and she was able to wriggle her arms free which resulted in a frustrated and tired baby awake at all hours of the night and day. After trying several more swaddles with little success I had almost given up hopes of ever sleeping again when Koala hugs came into my life…

Halleluiah!  We have a winner! It has an inner pocket for her arms which means no more wriggling free, but it still gives her a little bit of movement which is great as she loves having her hands closer to her face (which coincidently is where they were in most of my pre-natal scans).

The wrap itself is HUGE, so the leftover fabric allows you to wrap baby a second time which not only keeps her nice and secure but also means she’s nice and warm too.

The generous size allows for plenty of room over her harness which is fantastic for us and means a reduced risk of hip dysplasia for other babies too! While the box says it will fit 0-12 weeks, my now 10 week old still has plenty of room to grow so I see this lasting us a lot longer. Overall, the Koala Hugs gets my tick of approval, it is super easy to use (even her Dad and grandfather can do it), it is soft and stretchy, but best of all it is harness friendly!

For those who are handy with a traditional swaddle it is possible to use a flat muslin over a Pavlik harness (the down side for us is that it isn’t Dad friendly despite hosting several swaddling lessons!)

  1. Start with a penguin swaddle by gently folding the muslin over each arm and under your baby’s body.
  2. Holding the remaining muslin loosely twist it as you bring it up towards your baby’s chest, you may need to fold it in half depending on the size.
  3. This should leave with you a stretch of muslin which is the same width as the chest which you can then tuck underneath them creating a secure swaddle.

For more support and information on hip dysplasia join the Harness Heroes support group.


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