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Pavlik harness for hip displacia - need advice and support

(24 Posts)
DrCosyTiger Tue 23-Jun-09 13:51:40

Yesterday my beautiful DD was put in a pavlik harness for hip dysphasia. I wasn't expecting this and have found the first 24 hours so hard as she has cried and cried in frustration at not being able to kick and straighten her legs. I can't find much by way of advice in any mumsnet discussion forum. Does anyone have experience of this? Did your DD eventually get used to it? What sort of clothes did you use? Did you buy a special chair? DD won't fit in her bouncy chair now. How did you cope with washing? I know people have far far worse things to contend with but right now I'm finding this very hard as my normally happy smiley girl is so upset. Can't believe I'm not allowed to bath her either. Will miss this so much as she loves her bathtime.

DrCosyTiger Tue 23-Jun-09 13:55:05

Ps. She is 13 weeks old x

madameovary Tue 23-Jun-09 13:58:22

How old is she? My DD had one at three weeks old but seemed to accept it just fine. However she didnt know anything different.
Washing her was easy - just top and tail, however I get the impression your DD is a bit older?
nappy changing was a breeze too, just popped the new nappy under the old one like a changing mat, IYSWIM.

As for clothes, she had babygros that were slightly too big. I have a pic on my profile of what she like when I tried to put clothes on her.

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Tue 23-Jun-09 13:59:17

DrCosyTiger, had to answer this. Sorry to hear you are going through this - I had a very similar experience with my DD (who was 4 months old at the time) last year and I remember it well.

DD was very upset for the first 24 hours too - I remember standing out in the garden with her in the middle of the night while she cried and cried. The good news is that she did get used to it in about 2-3 days, and was absolutely fine for the rest of the time she had it on (14 weeks). I honestly don't even think she knew it was on after the first week.

In terms of clothes I mostly used larger sizes which fitted over the harness. I didn't get a special chair, as she was never a fan of the bouncy chair and was not yet on solid food.

Washing: the occupation therapist told me that I could undo the velcro straps one at a time once a day and wash her. I just used warm water and cotton wool. She did get a bit sore at times, but nothing too grim. I found Kamillosan excellent for using behind her knees and in the nappy area.

I was very upset at first, but it is amazing how you get used to it, and by the end it seemed totally normal. DD's hips are much better now - she still needs to be scanned every year until she is five, but fingers crossed she will not need further treatment. Apparently the Pavlik Harness works in 9 out of 10 cases.

Hope this helps - do ask if you have any questions.

madameovary Tue 23-Jun-09 14:00:43

Ah, X post! A wee bit older then. Sorry you are going through this, she will find it hard but lots of cuddles from you will help.
Hopefully someone with more experience of their DC not liking the harness will come along soon.
Please try not to worry, it is completely worth it in the long run! smile

madameovary Tue 23-Jun-09 14:01:33

Another Xpost! hope that reassured you. X

tutu100 Tue 23-Jun-09 14:02:33

My friend's ds was in a harness for hip displacia (don't know if it was a pavlik one though). He had to wear it all the time until he was 6 months and then gradually they were able to increase the length of time he didn't have to wear it.

I know she found it very upsetting not being able to bath him. She just had to wash him with a flannal around the harness. She rarely washed his hair, but he never smelt and always looked beautiful.

Clothing wise again she said it was a struggle. He tended to wear sleepsuits and dungaree sets as that was what she could find to fit over the harness.

She didn't have to buy a new pushchair though and he didn't have a bouncy chair. He was either held by someone or she would lay him on a padded mat or bean bag.

She actually found it more upsetting once he could have the harness off as it took him a long time to start moving his legs as I guess he didn't really know he could do it.

She did find it hard, but said she quickly got used to it and changed things so she didn't feel she was missing out e.g. extra cuddles instead of a bath, and extra playing showing him toys and encouraging him to grab them.

Her ds was a really happy, smily boy who loved cuddles whilst he was in the harness. It really didn't seem to bother him.

Pinkjenny Tue 23-Jun-09 14:02:58

DrCosyTiger - have you done a search on here? A few of us have been through this. smile

I can only offer you (un-MN) hugs, and promise you that it will all be worth it.

robino Tue 23-Jun-09 14:06:53

my dd1 was put in a pavliks at 8 weeks and was in it until 11 months. It is a horrible shock at first, isn't it? She got used to it very quickly, as did we. We were allowed to take her out for an hour every 3 days for a bath. Didn't buy anything special in particular but did have a play ring (like a giant donut) that she sat in and that worked well. She wore dresses most of the time as i found it easier. And if it works the relief that you will feel that she doesn't have to have operations/ plaster casts / traction will be immense. Hope it all goes well for you. Sorry if message seems abrupt - am using phone cos internet providers being idiots! Will try to get back and answer any further questions.

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Tue 23-Jun-09 14:09:24

Just to add - once DD got out of the harness, she was inevitably a bit behind other children her age in terms of sitting, crawling, walking etc. But she immediately started to catch up, and I'm sure there will be no difference in six months or so.

lou031205 Tue 23-Jun-09 14:10:01

Watching with interest...

DD3 is 10 weeks and has had an 'iffy' ultrasound. We are just waiting for follow up.

DrCosyTiger Tue 23-Jun-09 16:40:47

Thank you all so much. DD a bit happier now, has slept quite a lot today, unsurprising after a very unsettled night. She still doesn't like it, and cries in frustration when awake, which is hard to cope with, but it's early days I guess and I'm hoping that she'll get used to it in a few days. She's almost 14 weeks old (seemingly a bit older than others who have posted) so has had time to get used to kicking her legs around and rolling about, which is why I think she's finding it difficult. I have also found out that I am allowed to give her a bath at the hospital once a week though - yeay!

Lou031205 - will keep my fingers crossed for you. Let us know how you got on. We had the harness fitted after our third scan. It was a shock because until then the hip had been moving in the right direction so I just assumed it would continue to do so. Instead, between second and third scan, the hip bone (or whatever the technical term is) moved out of the socket.

Pinkjenny Tue 23-Jun-09 16:43:38

DrCosyTiger - we had the opposite problem! My dd was put into the pavlik when she was 2 weeks old, and slept like a dream until she was taken out of it at 15 weeks old. She's 2.1 now and has never slept through the night since! We often joked that we were going to put it back on!

It's just one of those unexpected bumps in the road, but as someone said earlier, much better than ops and anaesthetic.

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Tue 23-Jun-09 16:54:30

DrCosyTiger - glad she is settling a bit. My DD was just the same, but I have a photo taken 3 days after the harness was put on, where she is grinning at me. So they do get used to it!

Lovely about the bath too.

chatee Tue 23-Jun-09 22:07:38

it does get easier- hang in there!, if you have the nice weather take her out for walks in the pram- to the park and sit her on your knee on the swing(my dd loved this)and on the roundabout(of course daddy had to push it around- but even more fun!)
washing hair- lie your dd(on her back) over the sink( i found this was a two person task to start withgrin, play in water with your dd lay on a changing mat on the draining board and let her hands dangle in the bowl with toys
we found that our dd loved fun song factory videos and we sat and played musical instruments at all times during the day(shakers, piano, rainmakers)and a drum(thanks to her god mother)
do not fall into the 'ahhhh- she can't sleep'
and ruin any routine you had, after a few days she really should be over the initial shock of the harness and providing happy et aal settle to sleep as normal

good luck- been there done that and got a happy dd!!grin

lou031205 Wed 24-Jun-09 18:50:27

How's it all going now?

Bizarrely, the consultant who referred us got the scan reports and they are normal smile hmm shock

Not sure which emoticon applies!

Apparently, the radiographer flagged the scan up to the radiologist, who says that he is quite happy with it.

DrCosyTiger Thu 25-Jun-09 09:28:55

Hey that's great news - really pleased for you. Things a bit up and down here. DD more settled during the day, even got a little smile at one point yesterday. We went to the park and lay down under the trees and had a lovely time. But night time still very difficult. I've been (shock horror) feeding her to sleep up to now but that's stopped working as having her knees permanently up seems to be affecting her digestion - she is really uncomfortable after feeds. Managed to get her to sleep eventually but she woke several times in the night obviously uncomfortable. Urrgh. Not had to deal with this level of sleep deprivation since newborn days so feeling a bit frazzled today. But still early days I guess. Just have to hang on in there.

Pinkjenny Thu 25-Jun-09 09:38:07

We definitely had trouble with this as well, winding dd was a bit of a nightmare. Can you get one of those doughnut rings that someone suggested to perhaps prop her up a little. In our experience, the straps were loosened slightly as time went on, they started off quite tight though, so I know what you mean. Or perhaps carry her in a sling of some description (hot, I know) during the day to keep her upright and help with digestion? <clutches at straws>

I feel your pain, I really do. But watching dd dancing around the living room this morning, it's just all worth it. And 13 weeks, which was how long she wore it for, is nothing in the scheme of things, although it feels like a lifetime. I think during the first week or so, I was still sobbing putting dd into it after her bath every day (she could have hers off for half an hour a day), but after a while, you just get used to it. When it came off she felt all wobbly to me, as she'd been so robust whilst wearing it!

Pinkjenny Thu 25-Jun-09 09:40:57

We had this chair here and dd fitted into it fine wearing her harness.

DrCosyTiger Mon 29-Jun-09 12:18:57

Hi all, just a little update for anyone who is still there. DE has been in harness for a week now and things definitely seem to be settling down. She is almost back to normal in daytime, except for winding her being more difficult. But she is her usual happy self other than that. She is sleeping better at night time too. Again not quite back to normal because of the wind problem but loads better than those very difficult first few days. And tomorrow we get to have our first bath at the hospital. Thank you so much to everyone who posted - it was much appreciated. If anyone is coming to this thread through a search because their LO has been put in a pavlik harness, be reassured that although the first few days will be hard, things do settle down after that. The initial shock does pass and both you and your LO will get used to it.

lou031205 Mon 29-Jun-09 18:44:11

Glad to hear things are settling for you DrCosyTiger. smile

Donna1981 Tue 30-Jun-09 20:47:54


My daughter (5 months tomorrow) was put in Pavlik harness today. I can totally sympathise as she has been very unsettled and frustrated this afternoon. Don't think the hot weather helps. I've given her a bit of a wash tonight but it was harden work than I realised. I know I'll get used to it and it should only be for about 6 weeks..but just wanted you to know you aren't the only one struggling at the moment!

DrCosyTiger Wed 01-Jul-09 09:45:28

Oh Donna1981, hang on in there - we can cope together. It does get easier after a couple of days when the initial shock wears off, I promise. But you're right, the hot weather is not helping. I have been lying my LO down on a towel in the park under a shady tree with just a vest on. And trying to keep the house as cool as I can. Washing is difficult, isn't it? Are you allowed baths? We went up to the hospital yesterday for our first one since the harness went on and it was lovely to see my girl splashing around happily. Bit tough when the harness had to be put back on though. Anyway let us know how you get on and if there's anything you want to ask, just post. In the meantime we send love and hugs.

Swaliswan Wed 01-Jul-09 12:27:49

Marking for later. DD2 has been in her pavlik harness for 5 weeks now. I'll come back later to chat when I have more time.

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