WHAT DO I BRING TO THE HOSPITAL THE DAY OF SURGERY?
For your baby:
- Favorite blankie or lovey.
- Pacifier if baby uses one.
- Other favorite toys to help distract and entertain baby while you wait.
- All your normal diaper bag items.
- A bottle ready for after baby comes out of surgery.
- Clothes to go over the cast and socks for bringing baby home.
- If breastfeeding, bring your breast pump since you will most likely have to pump at some point due to baby's fasting regulations.
- A full tank of gas. The last thing you'll want to do on the way home is have to stop at a gas station.
- Something to keep you entertained and distracted during the surgery.
- Headphones may be a good idea to drown out the conversations you may overhear in the waiting room.
- Your phone or a camera to take photos.
- Snacks and money to buy food while you wait.
- Change of clothes in case of an overnight stay, or your child getting sick from the anesthesia.
HOW DO I CARE FOR THE SPICA CAST?
The most important rule for caring for your spica cast is to keep it dry and clean. Avoiding water is critical to preserving baby's skin inside the cast. If baby spills something on the outside of the cast, try to clean it up quickly and keep the cast clean as best as possible. Just like any article of clothing your baby wears, it will be difficult to keep clean. The difference is that the cast will not be changed for at least four to six weeks. Keeping it clean will be essential to maintain a comfortable and decent cast.
You should also daily do a visual check and "finger sweep" down around the top of the cast and in any windows cut in the side to make sure nothing has fallen inside the cast. If anything had fallen into the cast, skin breakdown and irritation could occur from rubbing on the object. Additionally, the Gortex lining could be punctured, negating its waterproof effect.
If your baby's cast was not appropriately petaled at the hospital, you can do it at home to adequately preserve your baby's skin, as well as the cast. See our how-to video on cast petaling for more information.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BUY AHEAD OF TIME?
Don't feel like you have to go crazy and buy everything prior to your baby going in the cast. Much of what you will end up using throughout your journey will be determined after baby is casted and you are able to try different items out and see what works for you. With that said, there were several items that were lifesavers for us to already have set up in the house as soon as we got home with our spica baby:
- A spica chair, or at least one working option to allow your baby to sit up.
- A crib wedge pillow, or whatever your set up will be for baby's crib. Discuss this setup with your doctor prior to or on surgery day to ensure he approves of using a wedge pillow, and whether he has other thoughts on appropriate sleeping arrangements for baby.
- Clothes your spica baby can wear.
- Items for cast petaling: Moleskin, and waterproof tape or duct tape.
All of the other items on our Must Have Gear list can be purchased or figured out after baby is casted.
WHERE CAN I GET A SPICA CHAIR?
We found our spica chair through the Spica Tables/Spica Chairs/Spica Gear - DDH - Buy/Sell/Donate - USA Facebook Group.
Another option is to purchase a custom spica chair from Ivy Rose Spica Chairs.
WHAT CLOTHES CAN MY BABY WEAR IN A SPICA CAST?
Generally, onesies one size bigger than what your baby normally wears will fit over the outside of the cast. For example, our daughter wore 12 to 18 month sizes prior to going in the cast. We found 24 month onesies fit nicely over the cast.
T-shirts or dresses that are also a size or two bigger work.
Socks to cover baby's feet. Also, in winter, we used large socks to cover baby's feet and go over the cast up to the knees. Some parents like leg warmers to cover the cast and keep it clean, as well as a softer surface to hold when you pick up your baby.
Many parents have found cloth diaper covers work better than a disposable outer diaper, and look cuter as well. You will most likely need to experiment to see what brand of cloth diaper fits over your baby's spica cast, but two options that may work for you are the Bumkins Swim Diapers or Sweet Pea Cloth Diapers.
HOW DO I CHANGE MY SPICA BABY'S DIAPER AND GIVE HER A BATH?
Keeping baby clean is definitely more complicated with a spica, but easily manageable once you learn how. See our how to videos on diapering and bathing for detailed explanations on performing these tasks.
Also, one tool designed specifically for changing a spica baby's diaper are Hip Stix! We did not personally use these during our spica journey, as we had no issues fitting our hands in our daughter's cast opening, but we have heard a lot of positive feedback from other spica parents!
WHAT HAPPENS IF POOP GETS IN THE CAST?
If (likely when...) your baby has a blowout, and poop gets inside the spica cast, notify your doctor. This is a health concern he or she should be aware of, and depending on the severity, you may need medical professional assistance to clean up and fix. This will also depend on if your baby has an incision and how soon after surgery the blowout occurs.
If your doctor gives you the go ahead to just clean it up yourself, we have some tips to help. The most effective tools we found were a rubber spatula and 6 inch long cotton swabs with wooden handles. We wrapped baby wipes around these items and used them to help get further into the cast than our fingers could reach. We continued using our fingers or these items to wipe out the inside of the cast as best we could from all angles, from all openings, until the wipes came out clean.
Once cleaned, rubbing alcohol can help to decrease the odor on the lining of the cast. Wipe alcohol prep pads directly on the liner inside the cast openings, trying to avoid direct contact with your baby's skin.
WILL I BE ABLE TO NURSE MY BABY ONCE SHE IS IN A SPICA CAST?
Yes, do not give up hope! You and your baby will be able to find one or more nursing positions that are comfortable for both of you. Just as it takes a little time to feel comfortable holding your spica baby, you should allow yourself some time for adjustment with nursing. Whether side-lying on a bed with your baby next to you, or holding her across your lap with your baby's head turned towards you, you and your baby will work through this together. Like one spica mom stated:
Pictured above are some of the recommended positions for breastfeeding your spica baby from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. Also, some moms swear by using their baby carriers to help them comfortably feed their spica babies.
WHERE CAN I GET ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS MORE SPECIFIC TO MY SPICA BABY AND SITUATION?
Your first and most important source of information regarding the health and wellbeing of your spica baby should always be your doctor. Any concerns about your baby's behavior, sleeping, eating, bowel movements, skin condition inside the cast, hitting developmental milestones, etc., should be brought to your doctor. If you find yourself snapping a photo of a rash on your baby's skin and posting it to Facebook asking, "Is this normal?" stop and call your doctor! These types of questions should only be posed to medical professionals intimately familiar with your baby's health history.
For any other questions regarding specifics of your situation and experience, see the Community section of the Spica Life home page for resources that can connect you with other spica parents who have already lived what you are going through.
HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT DEVELOPMENTAL DYSPLASIA OF THE HIP (DDH)?
For answers to common questions about DDH, see the FAQ Child Hip Dysplasia published by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
Do you still have more questions? Reach out to us through our contact page, and we will do whatever we can to answer your questions or connect you with people who can.