When your child is born, doctors will go through a hip check to make sure your baby's hip is okay. Ashlee Prestidge, one of our newest Ambassadors, has two children. Her son is nineteen months, and her daughter is three months old and both her children were born with “clicking hips”. Ashlee learned from her doctors that her children’s hips were extremely loose and in some instances could pop out of the socket. With her youngest baby, doctors told Ashley that her daughter might need a Pavlik harness to help fix the issue. A Pavlik harness is a medical device that keeps the child in a particular position over a duration of time while the hip joint (which is cartilage at birth) hardens to bone.
Interestingly, Dr. Fettweis, the retired orthopedic surgeon that I went to interview in Germany says, through his research, there is a better and more simple way to heal a loose hip joint that does not require this harness. He says the Pavlik harness, which is used commonly in North America, can create complications such as avascular necrosis and it over stretches the legs and can cause dislocation. In Germany, Dr. Fettweis treated children by having the mother carry the child on her hip throughout the day. Carrying the child on the hip provides
the perfect angle for the thigh bone and hip socket and puts all muscles at rest. He knows this from his in-depth research which has shown him the proper angle that heals abnormalities of the hip and which happens to be the same angle that traditionally carrying cultures use. It is a concept most orthopedic surgeons are unaware of because their education is around the Pavlik Harness.
The traditional front and back carry with the legs supported, as how we wear our babies here in North America, is also a good position but when your child is suffering from hip issues, the hip carry in a woven wrap or ring sling is a better alternative to help heal the baby's hip.
While monitoring the hip situation, doctors gave Ashlee some tips on how to not aggravate the problem anymore and one their suggestions was to babywear. However, they did not tell Ashlee about how to wear her baby or even what type of carrier to use. Imagine if she went home and put her baby in an unsupportive carrier with the legs hanging down? It is kind of like when you show the hospital the car seat for your newborn, they approve it because it is the right kind of seat but what is also important is the angle of the seat and the security of the base. It is rear that someone comes with you to the car to check these things out. So, thankfully, when Ashlee and I met, it was at that moment, she understood the importance of supportive babywearing.
I am honored that Ashlee has chosen to be a Helina Baby Ambassador to help promote hip health while babywearing. Ashlee is located in East Toronto and is available to show you how the Helina Baby lending library works, and she also has stock if you would like to purchase a carrier. It is great having Ashlee on our team because she is someone who can promote healthy babywearing from first-hand experience. Thank you, Ashlee, for helping to spread the word, we have a lot of work to do! Welcome to the team Ashlee.