Harness Free Time

I wrote this post Saturday and its been languishing waiting for me to insert links...so hopefully right after I hit post I will also get so,ething written with our latest update!

So now that M's hip is largely corrected, he gets a few chunks of time out of his harness. While some doctors allow babies out for an hour a day from the beginning for baths, ours prefers that the harness stay on full time to prevent the hip from slipping out of joint during the process. That news was disappointing at first, but given how well the harness seems to have worked for him, it's hard to complain.

However, we still celebrated when we got the news that he could have a few stretches of up to four hours out between his last appointment and this week's scheduled harness removal! That first night he had a bath in a tub full of water while the harness itself went through the wash (the label says hand wash, but our doc assured us we could toss it in the machine and get it really clean. It was pretty disgusting after six weeks of nonstop wear!). He thoroughly enjoyed his chance to splash around a bit, and I started thinking about taking him swimming.

When the harness comes off he will likely get casts right away, so water time will again be off the table for a few months. So today the whole family went to the Y for a dip in the pool. M was entranced by the sounds, lights, and sensations. Once he adjusted he started splashing around with his hands and kicking his legs, smiling away. We stayed in a bit over half an hour and he seemed to enjoy every minute. It was nice to do something "normal!"

And not surprisingly, it wore him out. He's now sound asleep an hour earlier than normal. Which brings me to one of the tips I wanted to post about--swaddling. Traditional swaddling isn't an option for babies with hip dysplasia, because it holds the legs in so tightly. However, M still has a strong startle reflex and doesn't sleep well if he can move his arms. Fortunately a bit of research led us to the
perfect solution--the Halo Swaddle Sacks. They allow you to swaddle the baby's upper body snugly but still leave room for the wider leg position of the harness.

For naps we don't usually want to break out the full sleep sack, but he still does better with some restriction, so we use the Arms Only Swaddle technique. It seemed odd, but the first time I did it he grinned at me and then dozed off! (And then slept for a really long time, Shh...we don't talk too much about sleep club.) Hard to beat that.

And one last little harness tip--clothing. Because we were not allowed to remove the harness every day, M only wears clothes over it, nothing under it. We were grateful it was summer, because at least we haven't had to put a lot of layers over it. The straps result in a lot of extra bulk, so in general you just need to go up a size in most things. But our favourite option has been rompers like this one, because they have a bit more room in them than a onesie--we actually got good use out of the 3 month size rompers, whereas in onesies he has grown out of them without ever really wearing most.