Preparing Yourself and Your Child for Hip Dysplasia:

Top items to bring to the hospital for surgery, top items to have at home after surgery and my favorite things we used to get us through this tough time!

By Carley Guinn

When the doctor told us that our son had hip dysplasia in his left hip and was going to need an open reduction surgery to correct it, my heart dropped into my stomach. I felt helpless for my son as it wasn’t something that I could fix for him or make better. I immediately began to research anything and everything about hip dysplasia. I wanted to be prepared for what was coming next. My son at 6 months old had his surgery. He was then placed into a Spica cast for 12 weeks. Once he got his spica cast off he was then placed into the Rhino brace. He has to wear this brace for two months 24/7 besides diaper changes and bath time. This was a tough journey that we all went through and are still going through to this day.

When I learned about Miles4Hips through a Facebook group, I knew I wanted to help and participate in any way that I could. I reached out and I decided to share a little of our story and some lists of the items we thought worked best for us!

Top items to have at the hospital for surgery

  1. Your child’s favorite blanket or toy!
  2. A pacifier (even if they don’t take one). My son hated pacifiers, but since he couldn’t eat for a while before surgery, we brought one with us thinking he might want it just to help sooth him. He loved it!
  3. A pillow for under your child’s legs. We used a mini Boppy pillow to help prop up his legs once in the Spica cast. When they are in the cast their legs are heavy and it’s hard on them to be in this position. The pillow helps a lot so they can rest their legs better. Also bring a normal Boppy/breast feeding pillow to help feed your child and hold them!
  4. Clothes! Our son was only 6 months old. He was in a size 12-month onesie so we got a size bigger to fit over his cast. He didn’t wear pants due to his legs being spread apart so far in the cast. So we would always dress him in an 18-month onesie and socks!
  5. Cloth diapers!! This was a huge money saver for us! When a child has a Spica cast on they have a diaper tucked into the cast and then another one that goes around the cast. This is helpful in case of any leaks or blowouts. The inside diaper we ripped off the tabs and would stick in as far as we could under the cast. Instead of buying a size bigger diaper for the outside I bought cloth diapers. The different patterns are fun and they are so easy to wash!
  6. Car seat! Some hospitals I have heard will rent them out to you. Ours didn’t, so we bought the Diono Radian 3RXT car seat. Yes, it is pricy, but the nice thing about it is that your child can use it for a long time! It converts into a booster.
  7. When your child wakes from surgery they will most likely be groggy from the anesthesia. It took a while for my son to fully come to, but there was nothing more he wanted than his blanket and a nice warm bottle to finally fill his tummy!
  8. When you first pick up your child in a Spica cast you might cry. I did. It’s a huge change and you can’t squeeze and hold your baby tight anymore. DON’T WORRY! Someone will come in to help you learn and adapt with how to hold them, change them and how to place them in their car seats.
  9. Don’t forget about yourself! It’s harder to care for your little one when you forget to care for yourself! This is very easy to do when you have all of this stress and anxiety going on through this tough time! Remember to pack some snacks, books, magazines, slippers (if staying the night at the hospital), phone charger and comfortable clothes!!

Top items to have at home after surgery!

  1. Pillow for under their legs. We used them when he was lying on the ground and at bedtime in his crib.
  2. Crib wedge! This helped keep him comfortable and not feeling like he was laying with his feet up in the air. This also helped when he did have a leak in his diaper at night so it wouldn’t run up into the cast.
  3. Cast cooler! When I first read about these, I was not sure it would even help, but it did! My son is a hot baby as it was, so while he was in the cast he was even warmer, which meant a lot of sweat! We would place the cast cooler on each leg, stomach and back. This helped so much cooling him down and he loved it!
  4. Bath toys! We had a few foam letters and squirt toys we would place in the sink full of water for him to have a somewhat normal bath, this way he could still splash around and have fun.
  5. No-Rinse Soap. We used the Babyganics infant no-rinse cleanser to help clean him since he couldn’t take a bath!
  6. Spica Table!!! This was a lifesaver! After a while he would get tired of laying on the floor so we ended up getting him a Spica table! There is a group page on Facebook where people will donate it to others in need of one or you can buy one brand new. They are pricey! We ended up getting a used one from someone near where we live. Our son loved being able to sit up and play!
  7. A stroller. Since with the cast it’s hard to have them fit into a highchair we used the stroller to have him sit in while we fed him. He also went on a lot of stroller rides outside and in the house, just to help pass time and give our backs a break from carrying him.
  8. Most importantly, parents, have patience!!! I know this can be very hard at times, but it’s hard on our little ones who are adjusting to their new cast and lifestyle. It took our son probably about a week to settle down and adjust to the routine and realize the cast wasn’t going anywhere.
  9. Moleskin tape and duct tape. We used this around the top of his cast and ankles. Sometimes the cast can be a little rough on their skin. Once we put the moleskin on, we wrapped duct tape around the ends of the mole skin on the outside of the cast so that it wouldn’t peal up.
  10. Waterproof tape. This we used around the groin area of the cast. Once the doctor puts the cast on your child, they will put some waterproof tape on. They put this on to help with diaper leaks.  But we needed to cut some off and replace it with new. Our son had his first cast on for 6 weeks! You could imagine how dirty it ended up getting, and it also will peel off after a while.

Things to have after the Spica cast comes off!

       This is a very exciting time! You finally get to see your baby’s legs again, pick them up and hold them tight, and give them a bath! There were a few things we had ready for him when this day came!

  1. Favorite blanket or toy. We used these to help distract him at the doctor office when they were cutting off the cast. Yes, he still cried. It’s a loud noise and it vibrates while they cut it off.
  2. Clothes! Comfortable pants and shirt are a must! Once the doctor took off my son’s cast he felt his legs and started to itch them. They were dry and flakey. I got him dressed and he was more comfortable for the time being.
  3. Lotion and soap!!! We used the baby Aquaphor healing ointment for his legs. This quickly helped so much with his dry skin! We also used the baby Aquaphor gentle wash and shampoo. This didn’t dry his skin out while in the bath.
  4. Bath Time. Our son still could not sit up on his own at this time, and with his legs still stiff he didn’t fit in his baby bathtub. Therefore my husband or I had to take a bath with him. I honestly have to say bath time has helped him so much with his legs being so stiff. He loves to kick his legs and splash around!

Our favorite things!

  1. Spica table
  2. Cloth diapers
  3. Stroller
  4. Cast cooler
  5. No-rinse soap
  6. Waterproof tape
  7. Moleskin tape/duct tape

When our son got the spica cast on I thought the 3 months would be a lifetime, but it honestly went by really fast. You adjust and so does your child. Right now our son is in the Rhino Brace. He still doesn’t fit into a high chair, he can’t sit up alone yet, and he doesn’t fit into his bathtub. These are all things that will change soon. Soon he will be able to have his brace off except for nap time and bedtime. He will learn how to sit up by himself, and he will be able to take a bath without us in the tub to hold him.

I think one of the biggest things I was afraid of was how he would fall behind in learning how to crawl, sit up, and walk. The doctor told us when he got his cast off that there isn’t anything he can’t do! I was so afraid to let him stand or put weight on his legs. His doctor told me that when he is ready to do something, he will do it. And if it hurts him, he won’t do it. He then told me that he has his patients send him pictures and videos of their kids standing and walking in their braces all the time! This gave me hope that this brace won’t slow our son down. He will just learn how to do these things on his own time and his own way!  Right now he army crawls everywhere, rolls over, and he just started to learn how to pull himself up onto the furniture!