One of the not so fun highlights of post surgery care for your cleft affected child will be to have them wear the dreaded arm splints. They slip on the arms over their sleeves and are adjusted with velcro closures.
At 3 months after his lip repair surgery it wasn’t so bad having the arm splints on because it kept him from being able to reach up to his face and suck on his fingers or hit himself in the face. He didn’t much fuss about it because he was so little. At the 10 mos. mark post palate surgery was a completely different story. He was crawling around at this point and pulling himself up on the furniture so arm splints were really in his way and he was not having it.
Our crafty 10 mos. old would rub his arm splint on a door jamb or furniture and get the velcro strips to come loose and he would then wing his arm around until it flew off and then he had a fabulously free hand to simply grab the velcro closures on the other splint and rip that one off as well. His palate was healing but we needed to keep him from putting toys or anything else in his own mouth that could injure the stitches or hurt him in anyway. As you well know, infants love to put absolutely everything in their mouth and with just having had the palate surgery we needed to make absolutely certain that didn’t happen!
Our surgeon suggested that we take tube socks, cut the foot portion off and put the sleeved portion over his arm splints so that the velcro was covered and he wouldn’t be able to manipulate it anymore with furniture or the corner of a wall, as was his case. Genius! This worked like a charm and after a great deal of frustration on our 10 mos. old’s part, he finally submitted and realized that those splints weren’t coming off, so he simply had to work around them. Work around them he did. He still crawled around, although very stiff armed. Nevertheless, he did it!
If you are struggling to find a way to keep those arm splints on, try the long sock thing and see if that doesn’t help you out. Maybe get some fun fuzzy ones or something outrageously colorful! We put a headband on our son to give him that overall sporty look. 🙂