Sleep Issues and Your Clubfoot Baby – a guest post from Betsy Miller

I am beyond thrilled to share the following post from published author Betsy Miller!


Thanks for having me as a guest at Russell’s Feet. Today, I’d like to share some ideas about how to cope with sleep issues that sometimes surface for babies and children who wear a clubfoot brace.

For those readers who are new to the world of clubfoot treatment, let me explain how brace wear works. After a child’s foot has been corrected, he or she wears a brace to maintain the correction. By the time a child is of walking age, the brace is worn only at nighttime or during naps. Most children wear the brace at night until they are four or five years old.

I’ve put together some tips here from my book The Parents’ Guide to Clubfoot. These suggestions are based on advice from doctors who specialize in clubfoot and from parents, who are after all the ones who deal with the sleep issues most of the time.

To help your child sleep:

  • Create a bedtime routine for your child that includes putting on the brace. For example, after your child has a bath, put on pajamas and the brace, and then read a story.
  • Carefully check the socks to make sure they are smooth without any wrinkles before you put on the shoes or boots.
  • For a baby sleeping on his or her back, use pillows or rolled up blankets beneath the knees.
  • Try a sleep sack at night instead of pajamas. For children who sleep in a crib, this helps to protect the slats of the crib from damage. HALO SleepSacks are wide enough at the bottom to fit over a clubfoot brace.
  • Check the fit of the brace. Even if the size of the shoes is right, the width of the bar is also important. For the Ponseti brace, the bar should be a little wider than the width of the child’s shoulders.
  • Carefully check the skin on your child’s feet for blisters or sore spots.
  • If your child has recently learned to walk, he or she might wake up more at night and want to practice this new skill. If that happens, it will resolve on its own.

If your child used to sleep well, and is now having a hard time:

If you are having a hard time getting your child to wear the brace, don’t give up. Contact your child’s doctor or orthotist for help. Wearing the brace is the best way to prevent a relapse. And remember to enjoy all the wonderful things about your child that have nothing to do with clubfoot!

Once again – thanks Betsy for this post! If you are interested in reading more from Betsy, her book The Parent’s Guide to Clubfoot contains a wealth of information on many aspects beyond sleep.

Stay tuned for more information on an exciting product give away with Clubfoot babies and parents in mind. 

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About russellsfeet

I'm a working mom of two children: a school aged daughter and son born who has Unilateral Clubfoot. I work in medical device sales and am passionate about patient outcomes and education. As my journey progresses, I hope to share the experience with family, friends and other parents who are traveling this path. A message to all Clubfoot parents: the days are long, but the years are fast.
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6 Responses to Sleep Issues and Your Clubfoot Baby – a guest post from Betsy Miller

  1. Mary K says:

    A child that can walk and that is wearing night time braces, is not an issue that resolves itself in our house! My child also hates sleep sacks. We have discovered that on cold nights when long sleeve/long pants jammies are not enough, our 3 year old likes to sleep in her fleece bath robe. It keeps her feet unconstrained from getting trapped under blankets. We used to try and cover her after she fell asleep, but that didn’t work cause she would always get tangled. The robe stays in place and keeps her warm (just remove the belt part for safety). She still wakes up sometimes at night and cries that she wants to be able to walk to get in her daddy’s bed. I sleep with her in her full size bed most nights to keep her from trying to walk to our room (like children normally do at this age) to sleep with us in the middle of the night. Occasionally she wins the shoe battle and they come OFF at 3 or 4 am and by then we are both teary eyed and I am praying for the strength to be able to continue this battle for 2 more years.

    • russellsfeet says:

      What an amazing idea about the bathrobe Mary! It is such a tough battle with the blankets. We don’t use flat sheets with the kids beds – even for my daughter with normal feet. When travelling recently, the weight of the bedding was different and it was awful – W kept getting tangled and frustrated. My daughter is a night time walked too and it feels like musical beds most nights. We tend not to do braces if W is really sick and upon occasion he will ask for them off at night. From the tales of other parents, I gather that once they figure out taking them off on their own that it becomes a very difficult battle to win. Until then, day by day!

  2. Caroline Park says:

    Another thought for when a child who is usually great at sleeping with the brace begins to struggle. Check the width of the bar. If your child has grown enough and the bar is too short, that may be enough to cause them to wake. We found this was usually the cause in our son’s case. We would adjust the bar, sometimes only slightly, and he would sleep well again.

  3. Alysa says:

    As winter approached this year, we needed to look for a blanket option for our 15 month old BCF boy. We tried many things, but surpringingly a prayer shawl crocheted for my first son was the perfect solution. It is simply a blanket crocheted in an Isosceles Triangle shape (my best description). He is a tummy sleeper (with legs tucked under him) and the blanket perfectly covers his shoulder to bottom (base across the shoulders) and I tuck in the long corners under him. It cuddles him, but doesn’t restrict him.

  4. Maha says:

    Guys what type of shoe they wear during day time , at night they wear their braces what do they wear in the morning , my doctor advised me to wear high boots and hard ones , do you know any good brands?

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