Walking around with your baby in toe-to-groin plaster casts is just one of the things that makes the experience of being the parent of a baby born with clubfoot different.
The first time casts are put on it’s quite a mess. You arrive at the clinic unprepared, you and your clothes are smeared in wet chalky streaks. Your baby’s legs are encased in warm, damp plaster, and you will probably wrap him or her up in a blanket because clothes don’t fit over the bulky plaster.
In no time at all, though, casts are part of your baby’s life and you learn to adapt clothing so you can work with it like a pro.
During the weeks of casts, curious eyes will be focused on your precious little bundle. In hot weather the casts are more exposed. When it’s colder your baby is wrapped up in warm clothes a lot of the time, but you will still have to expose the casts for baby clinic check ups, weighing and immunisations.
So how do you deal with the questions and comments that a baby in full leg casts is likely to attract?
Five top tips for fielding questions about casts
1. See it as a perfect opportunity to educate the public on clubfoot and the Ponseti method. Create awareness!
2. When out in public with your baby, if you act like everything is absolutely normal, many people will pick up on your breezy confidence and assume that all is well and leave you alone.
3. Smile and offer a quick explanation. It will satisfy most curious questions. For example: “My baby has clubfoot, this is just for a few weeks to straighten the foot – it doesn’t hurt at all.”
4. If someone is staring, try not to feel anxious or angry. If they are near enough to hear, just give them a quick explanation, hug your baby, and move on.
5. For the people who ask questions like: “How did your baby break its legs?” – yes, they are out there – a quick riposte like: “Skiing accident” will start the conversation. After that, revert to tip 1 and educate them!
What have people asked about your baby being in casts? How do you deal with the questions?