Hip Baby

I have a hip baby.  I don’t mean an “I liked pooping before it was cool” hipster baby I mean my baby has developmental hip displacia.

JubJub was a breech baby which is a major risk factor for hip displacia so she was given a routine ultrasound and diagnosed at 6 weeks old.  She wore a brace full time from 6 weeks until 4 months and then wore it part time for a further 2 months. Currently she is brace free and we’re hopeful that she will continue developing normally and can avoid any further intervention; but until she’s about 4 years old we won’t know that for sure. JubJub’s case is relatively mild, some children go through much longer periods of bracing, surgery and spica casts. It can be a test of endurance and ingenuity for both child and parents alike.  I’m really at ease with the situation now, but it took a long time for it to stop being ‘an issue’. The process went something like this.

  1. JubJub is born, she holds her legs up ‘froggie style’ all the time. I ask doctor if it’s normal, he say’s breach babies often do that because they have been sitting up like that in the womb for a long time. Given a referral for a hip scan at 6 weeks and discharged.
  2. Forget all about hips for 6 weeks; dote on our new little girl. JubJub sleeps, feeds and poops.
  3. Turn up for scan, it’s very much like the pre-natal scans you have when your pregnant, but she has it on her hips.  Technician is cool but tells me quite unceremoniously that she has loose hips and needs to be referred to get a brace fitted asap. JubJub poops on the scanning table.
  4. I silently freak out while I wait for the films to be processed.
  5. 20 min later receive films and get told that they have already forwarded them to our Paed. JubJub sleeps.
  6. Sit in hospital cafe while I call Nase and tell him what’s going on. Also get a call from Paed office to tell me they have faxed a referral to a specialist, Colin Whitewood, and I need to call his office to make an appointment. Glad they have dealt with it quickly but a little freaked out that it’s serious enough to receive such attention. JubJub still sleeps.
  7. Call Colins office, given an appointment for the next day.
  8. Go home. Google. Overload on information about braces, surgery and casts. Cry. JubJub sleeps, feeds and poops.
  9. Visit Colin, told our case requires treatment asap but that her hips are not actually dislocated, just very loose, so it’s not as bad as it could be. Given referral for Kevin McCarthy at Orthotic Computer Technology to get a Correctio Brace fitted.
  10. Go Home, Google More. Cry More. Feel guilty about crying because it’s a non-life-threatening, totally treatable condition and there are babies out there with much bigger problems. Cry Anyway.
  11. Go to brace fitting. Kevin explains everything well. We are allowed to take her out of the brace for 1 hour each day to bath, tummy time and cuddle. Discover that while she’s in the brace JubJub can not wear pants or all-in-ones and most of her bulky cloth nappies will not fit under it. JubJub cries for a couple of minutes when the brace is fitted; this is more to do with the stranger handling her than the brace it’s self.
  12. Go home, pack away all of her all-in-ones, pants and half of the cloth nappy stash. Cry over the cute little things she never got to wear.
  13. Discover swaddling is much more difficult with a brace.  Swap to baby sleeping bags quicker than planned. Cry over that too. JubJub sleeps, feeds and poops, she hardly seems to notice the brace at all.
  14. Discover breastfeeding is difficult with a bulky brace between us. Try several positions and pillow combinations before converting to the football hold.
  15. Google some more, discover Essential Baby Forum and connect with fellow Hip Baby mums. This is the single best thing I found to help get on top of things.
  16. Spend the next week shopping for long sleeve body suits, slim fitting cloth nappies and leg warmers. Shopping helps relieve stress but flip out at an unhelpful sales assistant anyway; she possibly didn’t deserve it. JubJub smiles and starts to hold her head up.
  17. Email almost daily with fellow hip mum, find it really helpful to have someone going through the same things to discuss ‘issues’ with as they come up. Hope I’m as helpful to her and she has been to me.
  18. Get used to living with the brace and explaining it to nosy strangers in public. JubJub also appears to be fine in the harness; she hardly notices it.
  19. Perfect the art of ‘nappy weaving’.
  20. Go for fortnightly fittings and monthly ultrasounds and check-ups. JubJub grows, smiles and starts to laugh; continues to poop a lot.
  21. Continue with brace. It becomes a normal part of our lives.
  22. Discover how useful Velcro dots are for keeping brace straps in place.
  23. Meet email hip-buddy in person, also discover several hip-babies in my mothers group. Braces are like cars; you never notice a particular model until you buy one, then suddenly they are everywhere.
  24. Go for first X-ray at 4 months. Things are improving, allowed to reduce bracing to 10 hours a day instead of 23, told if things continue like this she should be brace free next month. This is great, but it feels odd to have a floppy baby again; the brace keeps them rigid and helps them sit much earlier than they can on their own. JubJub continues to east, sleep and poop but has a huge disdain for tummy time; probably because she didn’t have much of it during the time she was braced full-time.
  25. 1 Month later; JubJub is 5 months old; go for another X-ray and check-up.  Things have not improved enough. Continue bracing 10 hours a day for another month. JubJub starts solids; east with gusto; still continues to hate Tummy Time and does not roll over.
  26. 1 Month later; JubJub is 6 months old; go for another X-ray and check-up. Things are better this time. Allowed to stop bracing all together and next check-up is scheduled for 3 months time.
  27. JubJub reaches 7 months and is sitting up by herself but STILL hates tummy time and does not roll.
  28. JubJub reaches 8 months; eating finger foods like a little champ and cuts two teeth and FINALLY starts to roll and hang out on her tummy without complaint.
  29. To be continued… Her next check-up is in a couple of weeks time.

Handy Websites

Handy Tips

  • Do what ever you can to connect with other Hip Parents.
  • Allow yourself to be upset about it for a little while. No; it’s not life threatening, yes; there are other babies out there with bigger problems but this is still a big issue. It means months, if not years of treatment, you and baby have to adapt to problems that most parents don’t even have to think about and most likely it will take some time for you to terms with the situation.
  • If your baby is wearing a brace during winter leg warmers or oversized socks are are life saver.
  • If you want to use cloth nappies you can. Just choose slim-line ones.
  • If you want to breastfeed you can. You might need to try a few positions before you find one that works but it’s entirely possible. Contact a lactation consultant if your having trouble finding a position that works for you.
  • Chances are your baby won’t mind their brace. If they are grumpy make sure you address all the usual problems (hungry, tired, dirty nappy) before blaming the brace.
  • JubJub’s delayed rolling was an individual thing. Most babies roll, crawl and walk in their brace without any problems. I just have a lazy baby.


Leave a Reply