At the beginning of the Clubfoot correction process is the casting phase. Both my sons wore casts for 10 – 12 weeks.
The first few weeks usually require a weekly cast change as the baby is growing so fast, and the later few weeks before the Achilles tenotomy they are changed every 7 – 10 days.
You will be spending a decent amount of time at the doctors office those first few weeks for cast changes. I’m going to be honest, my babies both had a few really hard cast changes.
I decided to offer a few tips to help it go as smoothly as it possibly can ( I mean honestly, you are trying to get a tiny human to hold still while the doctor wraps a cast around their tiny foot, I mean, who wouldn’t love that).
First things first
Figure out if your baby likes to eat before or after the cast change (this will take a couple appointments, but, the sooner you learn this, the better).
Before you go
If your baby has serial casts, you’ll likely be asked to take them off a couple hours before the appointment. Use this time to soak the legs/feet in warm water and apply a good amount of lotion or coconut oil.
Take sugar water (mix 1 teaspoon white sugar with 2 teaspoons boiled or distilled water) and a “Binky” (I used this with my breastfed baby only during cast changes and didn’t have any issues with nursing).
If you have older kids you will be taking with you, prepare for ALL.THE.POSSIBLE.DISASTERS (make sure you have snacks, extra clothes, wipes, entertainment – tablets are really great during this time).
Once you get there
Get the older kids settled in first. Sit them down with a snack and some form of entertainment (I’m trying to hold off on the electronics, but, the tablets are GREAT for times like these).
Ask them if they need to go potty, have a drink, whatever, because once the casting begins… they need to be as happy, quiet and still as possible!
Feed your baby if they prefer to eat first (one of my son’s was fed through a g-tube and the other was breast fed, my doctor was very respectful of his feeding needs/time).
Get the sugar water and binky ready
Lay out a new diaper, and change of clothes (just in case, trust me on this one).
During the casting
My sons both had serial casting, where the cast material was placed in water and then wrapped around the feet/leg.
I stood next to my babies and kept them supplied with a binky dipped in sugar water. Some times, I had to help hold them down if the sugar water wasn’t doing the trick.
If your baby has GERD, try to hold them while the cast is being put on. Helps them feel better and is less chance of a mess.
Some cast changes went pretty well, but, some… did not. My boys cried (I mean wailed) and there were a couple times with both sons I had to pick him up, and comfort him before we could continue, and that is totally fine, it is stressful for them.
Depending on your baby, the cast change may wear them out and they may be pretty tired the rest of the day. My older son was, but he had other medical conditions that likely played into that.
These appointments can go really smoothly, or they can be really hard. I tried to schedule the cast changes for the morning, but didn’t always get that time. The afternoon cast changes tended to be harder, but, for some, it would probably be better.
Above all, you just have to go with the flow while trying to keep your baby happy (and your other kiddos too) and do what needs to be done to get the new cast on.
Do you have any other tips to pass along? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!