Sling Possible: Who said you can’t carry a baby in a cast?

connie1This blog is another guest blog in our series on carrying babies with additional needs. It is written by Sarah and tells of her experiences of carrying her little girl both before and after a late diagnosis of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). DDH is typically identified in babies during their newborn and 6/8 week check but in some cases it is not identified until much later. For Sarah and Connie this diagnosis came on Connie’s first birthday. DDH is a developmental condition which means the hip joint is not fully formed, with the socket part of joint being too shallow. DDH is a controversial topic when it comes to slings as there are many who suggest that the use of narrow based High Street Carriers can cause it. This is not the case. You can read more about healthy hips and slings in this article by Sheffield Sling Surgery. Now let us allow Sarah to tell her story.

“Who said you can’t carry a baby in a cast?”

connie-2“Who said 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. I decided to go along to a sling library after they let me try one of their Connecta Baby Carrier. I first went along to The North East Sling Library when Connie was 4 months old. I hired a Connecta as that felt comfortable and most importantly I could get Connie in without dropping her. We loved it that much we ended up buying our own Connecta. When I gained confidence with her in the Connecta I hired a wrap from the sling library and as a lot of people on here will understand I had to buy our own! connie-4

Unfortunately 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&E on her 1st birthday. Here she was x rayed and diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the hip (DDH). It was a huge shock when we received the diagnosis, especially when I knew she would need a general anaesthetic in order for treatment to begin and cast to be fitted. 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”.

 “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.”

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 Spacia. She was placed in Traction for 7 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. She had a cast change every 6 weeks. She was in her Hip Spica for 19 weeks and an abduction cast for 6.5 weeks. The abduction cast freed her hips but was still both full legs in cast and an abduction bar.

connie-5

connie-6I was determined to continue our babywearing journey and Rachel kindly came to my home with a selection of slings. Upon arriving at my house and seeing the way I was naturally holding Connie on my own hip she immediately thought the Scootababy would work for us. We hired this and it was amazing to keep in the car for short shopping trips. We were able to carry her in it at the zoo and the beach whilst visiting Blackpool. We ended up buying our own Scootababy as we loved it so much!

Connie’s treatment has been successful. She has been out of her cast 12 weeks now and starting to bear weight. She started to crawl 2 weeks ago and the past few days pull herself up. Now we have her legs back we are able to use our Connecta again and experiment with back carries. Until Connie had her diagnosis I did not know that so many baby products had the potential to cause harm.  I would strongly recommend going along to a sling library to learn how to carry your baby in the correct position.

connie-3

I’m now a member of a Facebook group specifically for parents looking for support in carrying children with medical appliances there is a new group called. It is called SlingPossible.  This is for anyone who has a child who needs some form of medical appliances including casts, braces, boots and bars and oxygen therapy. In Sling Possible you can see how people are managing to carry their children or ask/give advice.

Where can you find out more:

NHS Choices

Sheffield Sling Surgery – Healthy Hips

Sheffield Sling Surgery – A Mother’s Story

Sling Pages – Find a local Babywearing Consultant

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