Rosie's Pavlik harness


When Rosie was younger she had to wear a Pavlik harness. This is usually put on babies if they have developmental dysplasia. This is when the 'ball and socket' joint of the hip doesn't form properly and so they have dislocated hips. It is congenital and usually affects girls more so than boys. Rosie's cousin had this happen with both of his hips. 

The health visitor first noticed that Rosie's dimples on her lower back were slightly misaligned. We were referred to Musgrave Park hospital and the baby hip clinic. As she was so little her hips were scanned in the ultrasound rather than x-rayed. This showed that her right hip was unaffected but that her left hip was borderline. We agreed on the Pavlik harness rather than leaving her hip to potentially get worse, better safe than sorry. She had to wear it for twelve weeks, going back for readjustments every four weeks. 

What is the Pavlik harness? 

A Pavlik harness is made of fabric and is essentially a splint. Even though in Rosie's case it was only needed for one hip, it secures both hips in a stable position to allow them to develop normally. For the first six weeks, the harness was not allowed to come off, but after that time we were allowed to take it off her feet during nappy changes and then once a week we could change it to a new one and give her a bath. 

Clothes, cleaning and sleep.

It was easier for us to dress Rosie in dresses while wearing the harness rather than leggings or trousers. For sleep we had her wear a long sleeved vest and a sleeping bag. If the harness was dirty during the time that we could not remove it then it was easily cleaned with detergent and an old toothbrush. For her to sleep she had to lie on her back as her legs were in the secure 'm' position. She was unsettled for the first few nights but she thankfully got used to it.

I breastfed Rosie and I was worried that the harness would interfere with that. However, I found that the basic cradle hold still worked well for us. Overall the harness was not as bad as I thought it would be. Rosie really enjoyed the moments when we could take the straps off, however I did personally worry that it would affect her physical development as she was unable to roll over while wearing the harness. She did take longer to crawl and walk than her brother Jamie but she has done it within the average developmental range.  

So far she has be discharged by the consultant with two follow up appointments, one is coming up soon and the other will be closer to her second birthday. 


  1. Awww I hope she's doing okay. Babies are a lot more resilient than we think, hey? Is she in any pain due to her hips? She's such a cutie :)

    1. Hi Lindsay, thanks for commenting, she's doing great now, 19 months old and she's walking and running just fine.


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