Written by Hailey Studdy, Certified Sleep Consultant and Mum of a Pavlik Harness Baby
If you are reading this you have likely recently joined the ‘hippy’ community or have a strong inkling you may be soon. From one ‘hippy’ to another, welcome!
One thing I noticed pretty quickly about this community is the supportive nature of all the strong hippy mums and bubs. Babies with hip dysplasia are one of a kind, they are resilient troopers. I can assure you that your little one will be absolutely fine no matter how bad things seem right now.
As a baby sleep consultant and mother of two, I know all too well where your mind is going. How will this contraption impact my baby’s sleep? You are right to think that your baby might be a little put off by the harness but this usually only lasts 0-3 days. Babies are extremely adaptable and so long as your baby’s Pavlik Harness is fitted corrected, it will become part of their new normal.
As most adults find adjustment and change quite daunting, we often fear our babies will face the same feelings about new ways of doing things. Really, they are far less complex than us adults and as you will hear time and time again, it is worse for you than it is for your child.
Here are my 4 top tips for sleep with a Pavlik Harness
Have a set of steps you follow for naptime and bedtime. Your baby thrives off predictability and consistency. Having a similar bedtime each night will also help to set your baby’s body clock to expect sleep at a certain time. Bedtimes between 6 and 7pm compliment your baby’s circadian rhythm so from six weeks you can start bringing bedtime forward from 9/10pm to 6/7pm and this can be particularly useful for cat-nappers.
From 4 months I recommend getting your baby into a nap routine also which is especially useful for Pavlik Harness babies as you may be lucky enough to be prescribed reduced hours if things are heading in the right direction. Your doctor will likely tell you to use the brace for nights and naps. If your child cat naps here and there across the day, this might get tricky. From 4 months I recommend three naps, 2 of these long and one shorter nap.
3. Keep Emotions Separate
It is very common to feel sorry for your little one and take the slightest tear or grumble as a sign they hate their harness. A lot of the time this isn’t the case. If you put your little one down in their cot and they cry, don’t let those thoughts take over. Persevere with hands on assistance and consider that they may be tired because they have been kept awake too long or have some wind. Thorough burping and a routine will help here so you know bub is comfortable and ready for sleep.
4. The Carrier Is Your Friend
Always consult with your child’s doctor as circumstances vary, but a properly fitted baby carrier will keep your child’s hips stable and legs outward facing. If you are having a difficult day of naps, use the carrier to ensure your little one doesn’t get overtired. They will love the proximity and it is hip safe. Be sure to give your little one a top up feed before they nap.
5. Seek Help
If sleep deprivation is impacting your mental health there are always options. Many mother’s resort to holding their baby all night and this isn’t sustaninable long term, nor is it safe. There are so many sleep consultants offering services to help your baby get the sleep they need. Be sure to ask if they have experience with sleep dysplasia and ensure their philosophy aligns with your parenting style.
Remember that there are many mums in the same boat with the same hesitations and emotions about this unexpected journey.
Finding a 'hippy' friend via online platforms or word of mouth can be highly beneficial and allows you to share experiences and keep each other motivated. You are doing a great job, Mum!
Need someone to chat to about your little one’s sleep needs? You can reach out to Hailey and she will set you up for sleep success for years to come.