The information and opinions on this blog come from parents, and the blog is not associated with Primary Children´s Medical Center or any other institution.


This site is specifically for parents of kids with clefts being treated at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, but I hope that there will be information that is helpful to all parents of kids with clefts. If you are just starting to learn about clefts, I would suggest starting with the "General Information" topic and going from there. To find information on a specific doctor or topic, click on one of the links on the right. You can also search the blog using the box below the topic list. If you have information or experiences to share, please leave comments or contact me to do a guest post at Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How do I keep the arm restraints on after surgery?

Depending on your doctor and the type of surgery, you may be required to keep your baby in arm restraints for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks or more after surgery in order to keep her hands out of her mouth. PCMC issues Snuggle Wraps, also known as "no-nos," which velcro on to keep babies from bending their elbows, like this:

Keeping the restraints on can be a daunting task, since babies are squirmy and resourceful. The following are a few tips that parents have found helpful:

  • Make sure the restraints are the right size; they should go from the armpit to the wrist. If they are too small, the baby can bust out, and if they are too big, they won't keep the arms straight.
  • Put the restraints on underneath a long-sleeved shirt that is snug in the arms to help keep them in place
  • Put the restraints on over a long-sleeved shirt. Use a diaper pin to pin the restraint to the shirt at the top. Then fold the cuff of the shirt over the bottom of the restraint at the wrist, and place a second pin through the shirt and restraint there. (Some have said that a single pin in one place or the other does the trick)
  • Put the restraint on over a long-sleeved shirt, then layer another long-sleeved shirt over that!
  • The velcro tends to come off, so you may want to sew around the edges of the velcro.
  • Wrap around the velcro with dragonskin tape, which you can buy at a pharmacy.
  • Try another restraint. Some parents have liked the "Baby Hands Down" restraint, which tethers the baby's hands to their waist and allows a broader range of motion. They seem to be out of production currently, but you may be able to track down a used one, borrow one from another parent, or make one yourself. Here is a more detailed description of the Baby Hands Down.
  • If your baby doesn't tend to touch their mouth, you may be okay without restraints as long as you keep a close eye on them. You could potentially just put them on at night and naptime, etc.
  • If your baby squirms out of the restraints during the night, you may consider swaddling them over the restraints or using a loose swaddler like the Woombie to keep them from getting at their mouth in their sleep.
If you're not already in the topic on arm restraints, you can read about different kinds of restraints here.

You should take off the arm restraints for a significant block of time every day so you can massage and exercise your baby's arms. Some parents have expressed dismay that their children have lost arm strength and were set back in motor coordination and development as a result of being restrained for so long. Just make sure to keep a close eye on them and keep them within arm's reach!

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