In this inspiring post, Sarah tells her story of using a Connecta to help her and her daughter continue their babywearing journey through late diagnosis and treatment of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip.
Who says you can’t carry a baby in a cast?
My daughter Connie was born in January 2015. She was exclusively breastfed from birth and loved being close to me. I met some ladies at my local Bosom Buddies group who were using slings, and decided to go along to a sling library after they let me try one of their Connecta baby carriers.
I first went along to a Sling Library when Connie was 4 months old, and hired a Connecta as that felt comfortable and most importantly I could get Connie in without dropping her! We loved it so much we ended up buying our own.
But then when Connie was 12 months old she was still not bearing weight or able to crawl or pull herself up. I followed my gut instinct that something was wrong and took her along to the A and E department on her birthday where she was x rayed and diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the hip (DDH). When we received the diagnosis and knew she had to be put to sleep and put in a cast it was a huge shock. I was really upset and felt guilty thinking I should have realised sooner. I was even asked by a lady I know if she had DDH because I “carried her in that thing all the time”. My confidence carrying her was knocked.
I felt like everyone must think her hip problem was my fault. I spoke to the staff at the hospital and they explained it was nothing I had done and if anything me carrying Connie had actually helped hold her hips in the correct position. Connie was a late diagnosis at 12 months meaning she had to be placed into a hip spica. She was placed in traction for seven days. This involved her lying flat on her back with both legs bandaged and attached to weights. She was put to sleep and luckily the surgeon was able to get the joint into the right place without cutting any tendons or breaking any bones. The hip spica was covering both legs and over her hips. Connie also had a broomstick bar on the cast, and had a cast change every six weeks. She was in her hip spica for nineteen weeks and an abduction cast for six and a half. The abduction cast freed her hips but she still had both full legs in cast and an abduction bar.
Despite all of this, I was determined to continue babywearing, and managed to feed our Connecta through the bar on her cast to use our Connecta around the house.
Connie has been out of her cast for twelve weeks now and is starting to bear her weight. She started to crawl two weeks ago and in the past few days has begun to pull herself up. Now we have her legs back we are able to use our Connecta more regularly and are experimenting with back carries. Her socket is still shallow and the head of femur is still not developed. We will have xrays every three months to check the development and hopefully see an improvement.
Until Connie had her diagnosis I did not know that car seats, walkers, jumperoos, bumbo baby seats and some baby carriers were bad for hips. I would strongly recommend going along to a sling library to learn how to carry your baby in the correct position.
If you would like advice about how to use a Connecta and other carriers with children in medical appliances including casts, braces, boots and bars and oxygen therapy, take a look at the Facebook group Slingpossible for support and inspiration.