Life with a baby in clubfoot casts require some adjustments.
Here are our list of tips for adjustments that will help baby (and you!):
- Taking baby home for the first time with casts is very tricky as your carseat may no longer be comfortable for baby. Our daughter screamed her little lungs out as we put her in the carseat that had previously soothed her into a sleepy, oblivious-to-the-outside-world trance. The solution to our problem was to put a pillow/some towels under her bottom and back so as to make her position in the carseat a more reclined one. Alternatively, if budget permits, invest in a carseat that is as reclined as possible.
- Given point number one, if you have a travel system in which the carseat serves as stroller, this may no longer be ideal for baby in casts. If you have the opportunity, invest in a pram, so that baby can lie down instead of sit in a scrunched up position that is no longer comfortable with the casts. Alternatively, a baby carrier still works with casts, as baby should be able to move her thighs high enough so that the “M” shape is still achieved (baby’s bottom in a carrier should be lower than her knees). Think carefully as to the type of carrier (or don’t spend very much on one) because later on you’ll need to accommodate braces.
- The casts, until they dry, are really cold. Given that drying can take hours, our baby was cold and therefore uncomfortable and really fussy. We sometimes tried to speed up the process with a hair drier.
- Baths become a two-person job as we can not get the casts wet: one of us holds baby’s casts out of the way and the other carefully washes. If you don’t have two people always available for bath time, try buying a baby bath tub that allows baby to sit in the tub with feet elevated so that the area where water flows is below the level of her casts. Bonus tip: don’t bathe baby at night. We accidentally got some water inside the cast and then baby was itchy and cried all night long.
- Roll a towel or blanket to put under baby’s knees when she’s on her back so that her feet are slightly elevated and the weight is not always on her heels/ankles.
- Put socks over the casts because the toes stick out of the casts (for periodic checking for proper circulation) and they can get cold. Also, put loose pants over the casts (ones that allow for her legs to fully move and spread at the hips) so that her upper thighs not covered by the casts stay warm. Sleep sacks at night, roomy sleep sacks, work great!
We’ve noticed that while frustrated, baby doesn’t despise the casts as much as we thought she would. On the whole, the experience so far has not been quite as traumatizing for June as we thought it would be. That gives us hope that we will get through the process more easily than our initial depressed mindset led us to believe.