As a mother with a “Type A” personality, six weeks in the Pavlik Harness meant I had to find a way to (A) keep it clean and (B) keep Mason comfortable. I spent hours researching blogs and hipdysplasia.org to develop a system that worked for our family. Below you will find five items/tips that made our “harness days” easier.
If you have additional ideas or would like to share this information with other hip families, please include your tips in the comment section and share this post!
One of the most challenging things about the harness was that Mason could no longer be swaddled. At three weeks, he became colicky due to his reflux and it was nearly impossible to calm him at night. Our pediatrician recommended we continue to swaddle his arms and raise his mattress at an incline. The challenge: how could we swaddle just his arms? I swear he was a baby houdini; he could break out of any swaddle. At our initial ortho consult, his doctor recommended sleep sacks to keep him warm during the winter months as they are designed to have a wide opening for the legs. Coincidentally, they are also hip friendly and the infant design includes an arm swaddle. Halo sleep sacks served two purposes for us: (A) The original design was worn over his harness each day which kept it clean, and (B) We could still swaddle his arms and keep him warm with out pants (Genius).2. Onesie Extenders
Lets face it, velcro straps are uncomfortable. There’s no cushion, they’re scratchy and they’re loud. Mix that all up and you have one unhappy newborn. We tried cutting the tubes off of our little guys socks and encasing the shoulder straps to prevent scratching. The socks wouldn’t stay in place and they continuously unraveled. I stumbled across a tip from another hip mom and purchased onesie extenders. They were the perfect size, provided the barrier he needed and they could be removed and washed if soiled. The best $15 we ever spent.
Yes, the harness is ugly and wearing it under clothes would have hidden this fact. However, I learned to snake his onesie through the straps and it seemed to be more comfortable for him (we were instructed to always leave one side secure when changing). Wearing a onesie under the harness helped to protect his skin from scratches and irritation.
Mason wore the harness full-time which meant sponge baths replaced bath time. I always wiped his face down with a warm wash cloth, but found Johnson & Johnson Face & Hand Wipes to be a life saver. The wipes saved us time, have the same scent as the tear free shampoo & wash, and this option prevented the harness from getting wet. To wash his hair, I would simply wet the wipe with warm water to allow a more thorough cleaning.
5. Shout & a Toothbrush
At some point, I realized that I couldn’t prevent all soils and stains, especially having a little boy. I spot cleaned the harness with Shout and a toothbrush and wiped the solution away with a damp cloth.
6. (Added 5/31/16): Since writing this post and having our second son, I’ve come across a product that should be a perfect swaddle solution for the Pavlik harness. The Swaddle Strap, approved by the Hip Dysplasia Institute, will allow you to swaddle your little one’s arms only. As another reviewer stated, “I could kiss the makers of this product”!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.