Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Let the Weaning Begin

No, I'm not weaning her from breastfeeding. We've come too far to stop now. My doula said the day would come that I will love it. I guess I should admit that day came a while ago :-)

We get to wean Milady from yon harness!

The three of us went to CHOP yesterday, and were given the weaning schedule. Drs. Chan and Flynn checked her legs, both are stable in the hip sockets. Each week she has a set amount of hours out of the harness, which culminates in her only sleeping in the harness at night for the final week of weaning.

We were supposed to start yesterday, but a friend of mine from middle/high school came through Phila on his way to Toronto. When we got home it was nearing Tallu's bedtime, so we decided we'd wait another day to take her out of it. That was a smart decision - I know I passed out soon after I put her down to sleep.

Dad did the honors, since he was so upset about not being able to take her out of the harness after the last visit. Tallu's on the two hour stretch this week, which was enough time for a bath. Yes, she had a real bath in her little tub! The harness reeks, so it was also bath time for that thing too. Dad disinfected it while Tallu enjoyed her bath. It was a delight to be able to see all of her, to touch her legs and her feet. To wash her little calves and her feet. I even hesitated when putting her diaper on, because for the first time in weeks I didn't have to thread the diaper tab through the back leg strap.

Tallu looks so different outside of that contraption. It was like seeing Wonder Woman as her alter ego. I haven't seen her without it since she was three weeks old, I think, save the non-harmess stress test day. I could see now how much our baby has grown since we all came home in March. She's fattening up, which is a good thing. Tallu has a big head and a small neck! I forgot she even had a neck, it's always covered up by the harness. She's getting long, too. I couldn't tell, since her legs are always bent at a 90 degree angle.

I will have to re-learn how to hold her when she's out of the harness, since it does support her pretty well. But I think we will all enjoy this weaning period. It was wonderful to get to feel her and not the straps that have kept her rigid for the past nine weeks.

The harness has become a part of her, but it's such a relief knowing there is a definite end in sight. By the end of July she'll be a new baby. I'm grateful we found out about the hip dysplasia early and that she's responded so well to the treatment. I just found a site that explains what it is, and it has an illustration of the Wheaton-Pavlik harness, the device she's been wearing to treat the dysplasia.

For all you parents who may have to deal with this, please don't wait to treat the problem. If you're going through it now, follow the doctor's orders. Keep that harness on until your doctor gives you permission to take it off. I understand the temptation to cheat, to take off the harness just once to give the baby a bath. We were definitely tempted during the heatwave. Be strong, and remember, as my Aunt Adrienne said to me last Saturday, "This, too, shall pass."

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