Newborn Photography with Hip Dysplasia


Is Newborn Photography with Hip Dysplasia Possible?

I met Sarah about 18 months ago. Her and Shane were expecting their first bubba and they were very excited. We held a beautiful maternity session in the Perth hills to celebrate the start of their journey together as a family. Then when Miss M was born, Sarah called me in a panic because she had to be put in a brace as she had hip dysplasia. She was worried we would not be able to capture images of her precious newborn. I assured her newborn photos with hip dysplasia were still possible. It requires a bit more patience and gentleness, and also a little creativity.

We we allowed to take her brace off for 30 minutes during the session – we used this time to capture some natural family shots. But I also wanted to show her journey in a special way so I created a shot with a parachute which celebrated her brace.

This is Sarah’s story:

“Mackenzie was braced when she was 3 days old. The day we were discharged from hospital we headed to Subi to have her fitted with her Pavlik harness. Mackenzie had 3 or 4 ultrasounds to check her hip development and a I think it was 2 days before she turned 12 weeks old. We got the the call from the pediatrician saying she has healthy hips.

Being new parents was an overwhelming and exciting at the same time. To be told when she was a day old she had hip dysplasia….it didn’t really sink in. Or maybe it was actually denial. It wasn’t until we had Mackenzie fitted in her harness and to be told she was wearing it 24/7 for the first 2 wks did it hit us. I cried all the way home, and sat on the couch holding her crying. As I carried her I felt that I hadn’t done my job properly and I felt I failed her (I now know that I didn’t). I also didn’t tell people, we kept it to ourselves, because I felt I failed her and worried about looks and being judged ( I never was) I felt like we were robbed of Mackenzie being a new born. And what we learnt in hospital and in our antenatal class changed. I had to re-learn how to feed / new positions to work with the harness. We couldn’t have skin to skin, baths etc. Tummy time was ridiculously hard and she hated it. Her baths were a wipe down and she wore the same clothes for a wk at a time, we had to take a spare pair of clothes in and we changed her when she had her harness adjusted. After 2 weeks of the harness she then mixed to wearing it to 23/7 per wk. Her 1 hr harness free time was amazing. To see her little legs to give her proper cuddles and then we had her bath time as physio for her. The cuddles after bath her little naked body against yours.

It was a pretty hard road. I joined a FB support page That was really helpful for support and knowing you are not the only one going through it and everyone feels the same.

Oh and dressing her…. we always had a onesie underneath the harness, but when the cooler weather started we needed to find loose pants for her to wear.

The day we got the call that she was healthy hip approved was the best call we could receive. We were so relieved that we didn’t need to put her back in the dam harness! We obviously had to be carefully not to full her legs straight or push her knees together which can pop out the hips. Within days she became her own little person and she lit up so much more.

Mackenzie is due for her 6 month x-ray to check her hip development this Friday, and then she will have a few more checks over the next few yrs.

Us parents with babies in a harness. We call it the hip journey and once they are out. They get the healthy hip approved big tick which is a massive celebration.

Shane was absolutely amazing! I definitely wouldn’t have gotten through it all without him (as well as the mastitis and abscess and hospital / drainage issues i had going on during all of this). He has definitely been our rock and the calm and clear headed person in our journey!”


Unique Newborn Photos for a Baby with Hip Dysplasia

hip dysplasia newborn photo

newborn with hip dysplasiadaddy and newborn with hip dysplasia

Newborn Photography with Hip Dysplasia

Newborn with Hip Dysplasia

Newborn Photography with Hip Dysplasia

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What is hip dysplasia in babies?

Hip dysplasia in babies, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), occurs when a baby’s hip socket (acetabulum) is too shallow to cover the head of the thighbone (femoral head) to fit properly. DDH ranges in severity. Some babies have a minor looseness in one or both of their hip joints. For other babies, the ball easily comes completely out of the socket.

How is hip dysplasia treated?

Your child’s treatment will depend on the severity of their condition. The goal of treatment is to restore normal hip function by correcting the position or structure of the joint.

Non-surgical treatment options


If your child is 3 months or younger and their hip is reasonably stable, their doctor may observe the acetabulum and femoral head as they develop. There’s a good possibility the joint will form normally on its own as your child grows.

Pavlik harness

If your child’s hip is unstable or sufficiently shallow, their doctor may recommend a Pavlik harness. The Pavlik harness is used on babies up to four months old to hold their hip in place while allowing their legs some movement. The baby usually wears the harness all day and night until their hip is stable and an ultrasound shows their hip is developing normally. Typically, this takes about eight to 12 weeks. Your child’s doctor will tell you how many hours a day your child should wear the harness. Typically, children wear the harness 24 hours a day.

While your child is wearing the harness, their doctor will frequently examine the hip and use imaging tests to monitor its development. After successful treatment, your child will need to continue to see the doctor regularly for the next few years to monitor the development and growth of their hip joint.

Typically, infants’ hips are successfully treated with the Pavlik harness. But some babies’ hips continue to be partially or completely dislocated. If this is the case, your child’s doctor may recommend another type of brace called an abduction brace. The abduction brace is made of lightweight material that supports your child’s hips and pelvis. If your child’s hip becomes stable with an abduction brace, they will wear the brace for about eight to 12 weeks. If the abduction brace does not stabilize the hip, your child may need surgery.


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