I didn’t think I’d be writing another post on our pavlik harness, hip dysplasia journey. But, thanks to Millie Mackintosh revealing her daughters diagnosis, I’ve had an influx of visitors. So I thought I’d created a quick post with lots of links to more information if needed.
Here are my top tips for caring for a baby being treated in a pavlik harness for hip dysplasia (DDH)
1. Be kind to yourself when your baby is going through treatment for hip dysplasia
I cannot say this enough. Let yourself accept how you feel and have a good cry if you need to. I felt like I was grieving for Ace’s wardrobe when he was placed in his pavlik harness. I can vividly remember sitting on the nursery floor in floods of tears over a slim fitting Zara sleepsuit. Yes it seems so materialistic other parents go through much, much worse. But you have to accept how you feel. Any hurdle during parenthood that isn’t how you expected it to be is tough. Don’t ignore or feel guilty for having those feelings.
You can read my open letter to all DDH parents here.
2. Find suitable Hip Dysplasia (DDH) clothing
Well thank goodness for Marks and Spencer! They launched their Hip Dysplaia (DDH) range around the time Ace was diagnosed. The leggings fit so well around a pavlik harness without restricting movement. The vests are cut to give you lots of room in the nappy area too.
There is some independent brands on Etsy too, so make sure you take a peek here!
You can find lots more info on dressing a baby in a pavlik harness here
3. Adapt nappy changes and feeding positions to suit the pavlik harness
As a novice, I had quite the shock when I learnt two techniques in a matter of weeks! But, this one was such a game changer. We are no experts, but this is what’s helped us-
How to change a babies nappy in a pavlik harness
- Having a peek to see what you are dealing with first. No one needs THAT sort of surprise when you aren’t prepared.
- Tuck the legs of your baby grow and bottom edge of vest under the harness/around the straps. This ensures they don’t get soiled
- Pop some socks or soft booties on over the harness boots. Socks can be washed, the harness boots not so much.
- Pop a clean nappy under the bottom before you remove the soiled one. We’ve got used to this since the world of double nappies, but it does help to limit the mess damage. Especially if you have a boy who likes to wee in the open air
- Remember to lift the bottom and DO NOT move the legs. Pulling the legs together and up works against the harness and moves the hip from the optimal position.
- Finally take your time when doing up the sides. You need to thread it underneath the harness which is super fiddly.
I wasn’t lucky enough to breastfeed. (Low/zero milk supply and tongue ties- more about that here). But I do know mums who have opted for the cradle or rugby ball hold positions.
For bottle feeding, I would sit Ace on my lap in a feeding cushion facing me with my knees up. Not the best, but worked for me.
4. How to make baby a little comfier in their pavlik harness
It’s really normal for baby to feel a bit achy and frustrated with their new positioning. Just be there to comfort them and adapt things as best you can, especially in the first few days.
We found a feeding cushion was a great support when lying down. A rolled up towel/muslin/ cellular blanket in a U shape to support the knees and legs whilst in the crib.
Carry cots and car seats for hip dysplasia
Ace was nearing 3 months old when he was placed in his pavlik harness. We made the transition out of the carrycot and into the reclined pushchair to ensure his legs weren’t pushed together. This was also the reason we hired a Happy Hips car seat from Maxi Cosi. I’m not sure what age they are suitable from, but I definitely believe it helped on our successful hip journey. There is a lot more information on this car seat here.
5. Ways to play in a pavlik harness
You probably won’t be making the most of soft play and baby groups during this time. (or at all at the time of writing this, cheers Covid!)
But there is lots of ways to play during pavlik harness wear.
Ace really improved on his hand and eye coordination during his time in the harness. He would love holding the ‘shaky egg’, throwing a large ball and reaching for the toys on his activities arch. It’s also a great time for reading books, singing songs and those all important cuddles!
6. Speak to other hip dysplasia parents
So I know this is my top five, but this point needs promoting more than the others. Find some support. Whether it be from a Facebook group (here) a friend or an Instagram hashtag community.
Or me. I’m more than happy to chat at ANY TIME. I’m blessed to have been in touch with so many parents over the past year. We’ve all felt better from chatting it through. Sometimes it’s good to talk to someone who knows how you feel. And I’m here for that ♥️ You can find me on Instagram as @flicks_and_red_lips
All my love