Pavlik Harness Life & Our Top Tips to Thrive!

With our little girl now completely harness free, we wanted to share our experiences and top tips we discovered along the way to help you hit the ground running. We hope you find it helpful!

When we went to get the harness fitted the nurse told us its worse for the parents than the baby. Although we are both quite positive and didn’t let it get to us, I can understand how you may be upset about it. Our outlook was that it was fixable in a relatively short amount of time and there is plenty of other, much worse things that could be wrong. I am not ashamed to say my one wobble I had about our little lady being in a harness was not being able to dress her up in certain things, such as trousers and tights!

After just getting used to changing nappies and finally nailing breastfeeding after a few extra days in the hospital, we went and had the harness fitted and realised that we had to change how we were doing things! We were worried that we would be back to square one, especially with the breastfeeding, but it was fine with a little tweaking, here’s how we did it…

Feeding

I will be honest, being my first child, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when it came to breastfeeding! When my milk kicked in and our little one struggled to latch to my now very full boobs we ended up back at the hospital trying to find positions that she would latch from. After a couple of days we had it sussed and we were about to be discharged home again and then we had the harness fitted. It was then I realised that all the hard work from the previous few days was out the window as we couldn’t get her in the positions any more with her legs splayed! After quite a few phone calls to various breastfeeding specialists, the midwives suggested trying to feed her sitting up.

The extra back support the harness provides meant that this was a lot easier than usual, and it ended up being the most comfortable for both of us, I preferred it to all the previous positions after only a few tries! I found that it made feeding out and about much easier too and our little girl has had great head and neck control from an early age and I do believe that this has something to do with it, as well as the extra support the harness provides overall.

Changing nappies

It makes the nappy changing a little more fiddly that’s for sure, threading the tabs through the straps, but you soon get used to it. The only thing I’ve found is you cant get the nappy as high as normal as the straps prevent you putting it quite high enough. This does lead to a few extra pooplosions! Towards the end of our harness journey we discovered that using the next size up nappy did prevent some of these… I wish I had know that earlier!

You cant lift both legs in one hand! We tended to just lift one leg and tilt her! Be warned though – the legs can still kick and get their feet in the dirty nappy!
Top tip! Poo bags over the feet when changing a messy nappy stops them getting dirty.

When you do have pooplosions – I’m sure you will at some point! Baby wipes are your best friend, I am confident they probably will be anyway! If you do end up having to try and had wash it then a hairdryer on cold setting should help you dry it quickly. If you have it on hot then the harness crinkles and shrinks in that area a bit so I would try an avoid it where possible!

Comfort for you and your little one

With the requirement to get your little one weighed often in those early days the most useful thing we found was knowing the weight of the harness so this could be deducted from her weight, meaning we didn’t have to take it off every time. The nurse who fits the harness should be able to give you this weight.

The harness has a few sticky out bits that easily catch on anything and everything! We used to put socks over the feet to keep them clean and stop us catching the Velcro bits. One great thing – no need for sock on’s whilst using the harness, it helps keep them on. Now we are forever putting socks back on when she has kicked them off!

Plaster tape that you will find in your first aid box will also help stick down the bits that you wont need to keep undoing and adjusting, preventing you from catching them on clothes etc and from your little one catching themselves too! The Velcro is so annoying, especially catching on woollen items such as hand made blankets and jumpers, it pulls all the fibres!

Clothing

A vest under the clothing will help prevent the harness from rubbing your little ones delicate skin, although this does become annoying when you have a pooplosion. We found that we only started doing this if she started getting sore.

Romper style clothes were the best fit with the harness without having to buy specially designed and expensive clothes – just pull the socks up higher/get longer socks to help keep those legs warm. Also, using the next size up works well for sleepsuits etc. You just need things a little wider.

We used a growbag that swaddled the top and this was great, it just swaddles the top but not the bottom so still allows the harness to work properly. The usual 0-3 month one was fine.

I’m afraid trousers that you pull up and tights are out of the question, things that popper up under the legs work well but again you might need a bigger size. I found that using the next size up clothing meant I had to move a few buttons on things like dungarees as the length was too long up top but thing wasn’t too much hassle.

So that’s what we learnt on our pavlik harness journey, I hope this will help some of you who are just starting or part way through your journey. Don’t panic, its not as bad as it first seems! Good luck! Please comment with any other tips to help our readers!

Hip dysplasia

After just a day of having our gorgeous baby girl she was diagnosed with Developmental Hip Dysplasia following her routine newborn physical examination. We wanted to share our experiences and what its like living with a newborn with hip dysplasia to help others in the same situation. Hopefully we can help ease the worry that parents feel in this horrible situation when you have been told your baby has something wrong as isn’t quite the perfect little munchkin we all imagine.

I’ll be honest – I’d never heart of hip dysplasia in humans, only in dogs from watching Supervet!”

I think witnessing the examination was one of the worst bits! Seeing the nurse move her legs around and her little hip pop out of place, hearing her crying, my heart ached! We were told she would need an ultrasound and within the hour we were taken down to the ultrasound department. She had bilateral hip dysplasia, meaning it was affecting both of her hips. 

We didn’t have a clue what it meant for the future for our little girl. Is she in pain? Can it be fixed? How much would it effect her? Would she be able to walk?

So what is Developmental Hip Dysplasia? (Also called Developmental Dysplasia of the hip and you may also see it shortened to DDH.)

(Image thanks to www.hipdysplasia.org)

Your hip joint connects your leg to your pelvis and is what is known as a ‘ball and socket’ joint. Developmental hip dysplasia is basically where the ball and socket hasn’t formed properly – the ‘socket’ in the pelvis is too shallow and so the ‘ball’ at the top of the leg isn’t held in place and can dislodge/dislocate. If only one hip is affected then it is called unilateral, when both hips are affected it is bilateral hip dysplasia.

The statistics at the time of writing this (2018) is that it affects about 1 in 1000 babies and is more common in firstborn children and girls. It is also more common in babies that were in the breech position during pregnancy. It can also be genetic, with it being 12 times more likely if there is a family history of dysplasia.

For more information on hip dysplasia check out the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

Some answers…

Earlier I listed the main questions we had when we first found out. Now I have explained a little about what Developmental Hip Dysplasia is I will tell you the answers we have discovered to these questions:

  • Is she in pain? – The simple answer – Nope. At such a young age it causes no pain whilst they are just laying there not able to do much.
  • Can it be fixed? – Yes! Don’t panic – in the majority of cases, especially those caught early, it is fixed before they are trying to walk! I will explain a little about treatments below.
  • How much would it affect her and will she be able to walk? – If treatments work then it shouldn’t affect the overall mobility of the child as they grow older. However without treatment then it could result in a limp, hip pain and painful and stiff joints. They can still kick around and move their legs in the harness, and should! The only thing they can’t do is roll over.

Treatments

There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments dependant on the severity and how the hip is formed, but don’t panic! In my experience they prefer to go down the non-surgical route if they can.

It seems the most common type of treatment is a Pavlik Harness, especially in the UK. This is a specially designed harness that gently aligns the baby’s hips into a secure position to encourage the socket to naturally deepen and develop as it should. This is the treatment I know the most about as this is what our little girl is in, so this will be the focus of the rest of the post. There are other non-surgical treatments which are more prevalent in other countries I believe.

Surgical methods are more often used if the child is diagnosed after it is 6 months old or if non-surgical treatments haven’t had the desired effect.

Again, for more information you can look at the NHS website or the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

So, what does a Pavlik Harness look like?

Well here is one of my favourite photos of our little girl and all she is wearing her harness and a nappy.

The harness is made up of straps with Velcro so it is adjustable as they grow. It keeps their legs at 90 degrees out to the side to aid the joints the form properly. Every week we go and see the lovely nurses at the orthopaedics department of our local hospital who check there are no problems with the harness and adjust it as she grows, marking on the harness where the straps go to, so when we take it off we know where to put them back to.

Everyone I talk to who has a child in a pavlik harness has different things prescribed for them by their consultant. Our little girl was allowed 30 minutes a day out of her harness, but others aren’t allowed any time out at all so make sure you follow your practitioners recommendations! I won’t lie, on a couple of occasions we have had her out for a little longer, for our photoshoot for example, but then we would not take it off the next day. It doesn’t seem to have had any impact on the harness working, but we have only done it a couple of times and made sure we didn’t make a habit of it.

I hope this has given you an oversight of hip dysplasia, my next post is about day to day living with a harness. Watch this space!

The Being More Eco Series Post #1 – 4 Ways to start reducing your plastic footprint

At uni I studied geography and environmental management, so I probably understand a little more than most about looking after our environment, and the impacts of abusing it. With this in mind, we’ve always tried our best to recycle and do our bit for the environment where we can, using fabric tote bags instead of plastic carrier bags and using reusable water bottles etc. I get pretty angry when I see people littering, especially some of the kids near where I live being so disrespectful about it!

I’ve been aware of the dangers that plastics face to our environment for quite a while, but with the media ramping up about plastics in the last few months and with having more time on my hands whilst being on maternity leave waiting for our little madam to arrive, I’ve researched ways we can reduce our plastic footprint further and have become much more passionate about protecting our environment and being more eco friendly. With this in mind, I decided to start this series of posts about ‘Being More Eco’. We have made a few lifestyle changes in the last couple of months, so to start the series I thought I’d share them with you to encourage you to do the same!

Beach cleans / litter picking

We live a 5 minute drive or 30 minute walk to the beach, and owning a energetic dog, we often frequent the beach on lovely walks. Although it is enjoyable, I am pained by how much litter, the majority of which is plastic, I see every time! A few months ago I decided to start helping to change this and make a small but important difference!

Each time I walk the dog down on the beach I take a carrier bag and some gloves with me and I collect any litter I find. There’s no excuse… I was still litter picking on the beach whilst almost 2 weeks overdue when our little one was being stubborn and didn’t want to make her entrance into the world! We also have a #2minutebeachclean board on the seafront with litter pickers you can borrow and use. Check out #2minutebeachclean on Twitter to find out more, they are fab – I love following them and they have there boards all over the place!

I have also recently discovered there is a local beach cleaning group that do monthly cleans that anyone can get involved in for a more social event. Litter pickers and bags are provided as is good company, although unfortunately good weather isn’t guaranteed! I intend to join them on their next cleaning event so watch this space, and my Twitter for updates! Check out Litter Free Somerset for updates on the Burnham on Sea litter picks. Don’t live in Somerset? I urge you all to see if you have a local group that do the same. If not, why not set one up?

Cleaning and laundry products – Ecoegg

I recently discovered this company and they do fab eco friendly products! I will be posting reviews of some of these products in the near future so keep your eyes peeled, but for now will give you an insight into why I’ve started using them!

The biggest saving both in reducing our plastic footprint and on the purse strings is the purchase of the Ecoegg itself. I grabbed myself a bargain in their half price sale on Small Business Saturday at the beginning of December – just £10 for the huge 720 wash egg! That works out at 1.5p per wash and will keep us going for years! No more buying washing detergent and softener! Even better is it’s kind to skin and better than using non bio washing detergent, perfect for our new arrival! Even at its normal price of £20 it is a bargain and will save you tonnes of money from not having to buy washing detergent.

Their other products are also super eco friendly with no harsh chemicals. So far I’ve tried out their stain remover and hard surface cleaner and have had fab results! Take a look at all their products on their website www.ecoegg.com they have videos showing you how things work and what you will get.

Toothbrushes – Bristle

Towards the end of last year we were needing new toothbrushes, so I took the opportunity to look at wooden handle brushes instead and stumbled across this up and coming company called Bristle, they produce biodegradable, bamboo handles toothbrushes. This sounded great so I decided to go for it and give them a go.

The brushes arrived quickly and we started to use them… they are soft brushes and that took a little getting used to compared to our previous brushes which were harder, but now I’m used to it I love it! They take a bit more care to look after to ensure their longevity – you want to dry them so they don’t sit in a puddle of water which would cause them to deteriorate. You also need to not be too heavy handed with your brushing or the bristles will get damaged leading to you needing to replace them more often. Overall the reason behind choosing these brushes mean you are trying to take more care in what you do, so the extra care they require are part and parcel of the whole experience!

You can even order them as a subscription so new ones get sent to you every 3 months – you don’t need to worry about remembering to change your brush – a new one will appear through your letterbox (in recyclable, non plastic packaging) when it’s time. Perfect! Check out www.wearebristle.com for more info!

Don’t forget to recycle/repurpose your old toothbrushes too! My old plastic one I’ve kept and use for cleaning those awkward bits of my bathroom! Really useful for scrubbing those nooks and crannies where stubborn dirt can build up! With the bristle toothbrushes you just pull out the bristles and can recycle the wooden handle! I intend to use them to label my plants in the spring!

Loose leaf tea

My latest discovery is the existence of polypropylene plastic in teabags, mainly in the sealing of the bags to stop them leaking in the box or your cup! This does however mean that they are not fully compostable and is leaving micro plastics in the soil, which obviously isn’t good for the environment. We have recently seen the banning of micro plastics in cosmetic products due to the damage they cause to the ocean ecosystems, hopefully the tea industry will follow suit to save our soil ecosystems! I intend to investigate this further so keep your eyes peeled for another post in this series in the near future, but for now I am using up my teabags and then switching to loose leaf tea or teabags with no plastics wherever possible!

I got a cute loose leaf tea pot and cups for Christmas – so much nicer drinking proper tea out of a cup and saucer!

I get my loose leaf tea from the Brew Tea Company, they taste delicious and you can get a variety of different teas both in loose leaf and plastic free tea bags! Similar to Bristle, you can sign up to a subscription to receive your tea every 4-8 weeks so you never run out! Check out their website of more information – www.brewteacompany.co.uk

Use the link below to get £5 off when you spend £20 on your fist purchase. Note: I like to be honest – I will gain brew points if you use this link, but why not get your money off and sign up to receive your own free 5 brew points and refer your friends too to collect further bonus brew points to use against your future purchases!

http://r.sloyalty.com/r/w5ejgQnUrDI2

So there we have it, 4 ways we have changed our lifestyle to reduce our plastic footprint. I urge you to try and follow our lead and make some simple but effective changes to your lifestyle too, every little helps and if everyone does it we can make a huge difference!

Thanks for reading!

5 essentials to survive the first few weeks of parenthood (on top of the basics)

The last few weeks have been a huge learning curve for all three of us since bringing our little princess home. There have been a few things that have been worth their weight in gold to make thing so much easier for us in settling in to our new world of being parents so I thought I’d share them (in no particular order – they have all been lifesavers at some point!):

A flask

Nope not for your tea or coffee, although this could also be an extra requirement once the lack of sleep kicks in! We keep a flask of warm water with the changing mat etc for wetting the cotton wool. Saves you having to remember to get some water every time and is a god send through the night! Just tip a bit in the lid and clean away without shocking your little one with cold water and making the experience even worse for them (they don’t like it enough as it is in those early days!). Even better it’s portable so you can chuck it in your changing bag for on the go too! No need to make sure you find somewhere with water to change your little one – you’ll be ready to go anywhere – because let’s face it, they don’t wait for a convenient time to go!

The Gro company newborn Grosnug

This newborn, hip safe swaddle come sleeping bag is fab! No need to know how to swaddle – it just zips up around the arms but allows the legs space to move around and relax comfortably.

This was even better for us with our little one being diagnosed with hip dysplasia and having to wear a pavlik harness from week 1. It stops them waking themselves through arm movements and makes them feel safe and secure. It also helped stop our little one from rolling over onto her side.

Natura breast pump – not for pumping but for catching those leaks!!

I didn’t realise that when breastfeeding your brain sends a signal to your breasts to produce milk but doesn’t specify which breast the baby is latching onto – so the signal goes to both! So when you have your little one latched onto one breast, the other is also producing milk and this can lead to massive leaking incidents! Before I discovered this pump, I would be juggling the baby – getting it to latch, as well as trying to wedge a pot to catch the leak under the other boob somehow – it didn’t usually end well!

This breast pump (or similar) is perfect for catching these leaks handsfree! You just squeeze it to create a vacuum and then place it on the breast that your not feeding from and let go, the vacuum created holds the pump in place to catch the leaks. It even comes with milk storage bags so you can save your leaks and freeze them for the future! As a side note it comes with a little stand and lid and looks a bit like a spaceship ready to launch!

Pram footmuff

We got given a Mama & Papas footmuff and have put it to good use but not in the pram… we use it around the house! It is great to place on your sofa, table etc with the baby inside and the zips done up – it stops any risk of them rolling off the surface! It’s been a god send and meant we don’t need a Moses basket downstairs as the footmuff is super easy to move around to wherever you need it! We even used it when we went out for dinner for the first time since being parents – we placed our little one in it on the bench next to me whilst we ate – no need to worry about them being in a car seat too long in the restaurant!

A feeding tracker

With baby brain and lack of sleep, just remembering what boob you last gave your little one to feed on or what time the last feed was, and therefore when they are due a feed, is much harder than it should be! So grab yourself a notepad to keep track of it (I’m sure there is probably an app out there somewhere for it too but I like good old fashioned pen and paper).

I picked up this little notepad from the range for about 50p and got creative with it to make it more interesting:

Oh and here’s a bonus tip too, something else that has been a lifesaver some nights… you tube!! Amazingly there are videos, well more sound bites really, of white noise – our little one loves the tumble dryer one – it’s 10 hours of tumble dryer noise! Just pop it on when they are settling or won’t settle and it helps calm them! We just leave it playing whilst we all fall asleep – you learn to tune it out if it means you get to sleep!

So there you have it, our lifesaving hacks and tips that have kept us sane (almost) in or first few weeks of parenthood! I hope they help you too – and I’m sure there will be more tips to come as we continue adulting/parenting.

Thanks for reading, feel free to share on Pinterest and social media!

Much love, Gina & Tom x

15 Minute 4 Veg Pasta

This quick, easy and healthy pasta dish will give you 4 of your 5 a day in one serving and it’s nice and bright too – perfect to brighten up those dull days! It reheats well or can be just as tasty cold for a lunch on the go if you don’t have access to a microwave or stove to reheat.
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Handmade goats milk, honey, lemon and oaty soap bars

Want to make natural and simple gifts for friends and family? Look no further! These goats milk, honey, lemon and oaty soap bars won’t take you more than half an hour to make and won’t break the bank either.
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Product review: Zyliss Easy Pull Food Processor

We can’t rave about this product enough! We spied it on an episode of the Hairy Bikers and thought it would be a great product to add to our camping utensils box. BUT after discovering how awesome it is it is now a main feature in our kitchen – replacing our electronic food processor for most tasks!

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Although small, it is so quick and easy to use that you can use it to chop fruit or veggies in batches to add to recipes and it will still be quicker than getting the big food processor out and setting it up. Just chop enough for it to fit in the bowl, pop the lid on and give the cord a quick pull a few times – a bit like trying to start an old fashioned lawn mower!

It chops it fine in seconds! Much quicker than even the more experienced chef!

We used it recently to chop everything required in our mass cook off, from pasta sauce and our Beany Goulash recipe to a homemade veggie soup – it saved so much time and made the cooking quicker as it was all finely chopped. Nothing seems like too much effort for this little machine – even the harder veggies such as carrots and potatoes!

We have also taken it with us camping, as per our initial intention, and Tom has found it a good replacement for the Nutri ninja for his protein and veg shakes when we have no electric.

We do need to add a caution to our recommendation though… mind your fingers!!! The blades are super sharp and although this is what makes it so good at chopping, it won’t take any prisoners when your washing it up, as Tom found out on its first use. So don’t just throw it in the washing up bowl and forget it’s there or you will get an ouchy surprise when you stick your hands in to wash up!

We have included a link near the top of this post to buy your own from Amazon, which is the cheapest place we found to buy ours. We would love to hear if you use one of these too, or similar! Comment below 🙂

Share to let your friends and family know about this amazing product – it would make a great present for someone who loves to spend time in the kitchen!

Thanks for reading.

Gina & Tom x

DIY Easy wipeable food planner – FREE PRINTABLE! 

Following on from our post about how to save money on your grocery’s (click here to read more), we have a quick and easy reusable and wipe able food planner you can keep in your kitchen. Best of all it will only cost you a couple of pounds!

Continue reading “DIY Easy wipeable food planner – FREE PRINTABLE! “

Review: The Blitz Tearoom, Weston-Super-Mare

Today I took a step back in time to the 1940’s! My Mamma took me for a surprise afternoon tea to a fantastic little quirky cafe in Weston-Super-Mare called The Blitz Tearoom.

( Photo above taken from The Blitz Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/theblitztearoom1940/ )

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Simple Envelope Cushion Cover Tutorial

Tired of your current cushion covers? Want to change the style of a room on a budget? This cushion cover tutorial will show you how to make simple covers – no tricky zips to negotiate and easy to get on and off. What’s even better, it will take you about 15 minutes!

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