Unlike most parents whose babies are diagnosed with hip dysplasia around 6 weeks of age, Katie’s daughter, Isabella, was just 4 days old when she was fitted into a brace. Having had hip dysplasia herself when she was a baby, her obstetrician had advised Katie that the chances of her children also having the condition were high.
Despite being prepared, Katie admits it was still extremely confronting to see her little baby in a brace.
As a new mama, Katie had to adjust not only to life with a newborn, but also life with a brace.
“You have an idea of what having this new baby will look like and what you’ll do. Then suddenly you can’t do all these things you had imagined, like wearing the adorable outfits you bought or even something as simple as giving them a bath.”
Now a mum of three (with two daughters who were in a brace due to Hip Dysplasia), Katie shares some tips to help other new parents navigating this difficult time.
1. Find your groove with feeding
For most mums, their babies will be fitted with the brace around 6 weeks, and their feeding would hopefully be well established by this point. So only minor adjustments would need to be made. Take your time to find a comfortable position that works; the football hold or lying down with the baby on top of you can be good options. Just be mindful of not pushing their hips inwards – find what works best for you. If you’re having trouble, speak with your midwife or nurse to find ways to manage it.
2. Connect with other parents
Go on Facebook and find other parents who are going through or have been through it too. Healthy Hips Australia and the Hip Dysplasia Foundation are good places to start. They will give you great tips and advice, and help you feel a little less alone.
3. Ask for help
Whether it’s your partner, family or friends, or your doctors or nurses – always ask for help. Making sure you have a really good doctor and orthopedic surgeon who you trust is really important to help you go through everything and help you understand what’s going on.
Hip dysplasia in babies: Signs to look out for and treatment
4. It can be very confronting
It’s not easy seeing your baby in a brace and it can be very overwhelming and emotional. But know that it is ok to feel like that. Talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
5. Opt for hip dysplasia-friendly products
You’ll have to forgo the cute outfits for now but they’ll come back don’t worry! Embrace specially made clothing and sleeping bags such as the ergoPouch Hip Harness Cocoon Swaddle and Jersey Bags, as their little legs will kick traditional swaddles off way too easily.
6. Nappy changes are actually easier
This is a definite positive! The brace means they can’t kick their little legs which we all know makes changing nappies difficult. You’ll get quite the shock at just how much they move when the brace comes back off!
7. Getting in and out of the car can be tricky
This can be a little tricky as you have to be careful not to squeeze their hips together so it can feel a little awkward at first – but you’ll get used to it with time.
8. Don’t be afraid to speak up!
Loved ones have the best intentions and just want to squeeze the baby, but they have to be really careful when it comes to the brace. Don’t be afraid to speak up! Ask them not to hold them too tight or squeeze their legs at all.
9. Let go of the bath
The bath is a big one for many new parents to let go – because we’re so often told it’s the key to the night routine and good sleep! But don’t worry – my girls slept fine. You can give them sponge baths to keep them fresh and still maintain a nightly wind-down routine. The doctor or nurse usually bathes them when adjustments are made to the brace – this often happens every 2 weeks.
10. Don’t beat yourself up over what they cant do
You are 100% allowed to be sad and give yourself time to adapt because it’s confronting and a lot to take in. Don’t get caught up on the things they can’t do, and embrace what they can.
Throw everything you thought having a baby would be like out the window. Ultimately remember that this is preventing much greater problems down the track. Your baby won’t remember the brace, but they’ll know the love you gave them and how you did everything you could to care for them. The cute outfits and baths will come in time. Go easy on yourself!
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x ergoPouch