View Full Version : Brace vests

28th June 2005, 10:30 PM
I know we've discussed this before, but does anyone have any suggestions as to where I might find a vest to go under Erin's brace before next week? I've been told that it might not be necessary, but to bring one along anyway. Seeing as I have no idea what to expect, can anyone help? Will an ordinary vest do the job?

Thanks all

28th June 2005, 10:40 PM
You don't have any rush at all Andrea, because a comfy, high quality vest will do absolutely fine for now - the liners are an improvement over anything else you use, but they're by no means essential.

I still recommend Knit-Rite Torso Interface imported by Gilbert and Mellish. They're really dear but so worth the money. I'm sure you can get them in Erin's size :-)

29th June 2005, 05:11 AM
I have just normal 100% cotton vests for Niamh, someone posted recently that M&S do seamless ones which might be a good idea. One word of warning though make sure that they are a snug fit as if they are too big they can wrinkle up under the cast and make her uncomfortable. By the way Erin is getting so grown up looking, she is a real little girl now isn't she :D

29th June 2005, 01:44 PM
i was the one who posted about seamless ones - they're definitely the best because if you're wearing a brace constantly it's ok, but once you take it off, you have massive dents from seams which aren't nice. i always found that as long as you tug them down at the bottom whilst you're putting the brace on they don't ride up (it stretches them a bit but doesn't really matter)
hope it all goes ok

29th June 2005, 03:10 PM
I was told to get a seamless vest for the casting of my brace after my operation, so my mum with very short notice had to find some seamless vests and she just went down to the peacocks that was down the road from the hospital and they worked fine.

But I have to admit I cheated after a while because I just wore a normal t-shirt underneath my brace for the 3 months I had it!

Andrea cheap ones will also do the job, although I didn't use them really at all so it's probably best to go for more comfortable and soft ones that won't make Erin itch or feel uncomfortable at all underneath.

29th June 2005, 11:49 PM
ah this is bringing back memories. I used to use the same stuff they kind of use for casts in the US at that time... the cheesecloth like fabric. They weren't very pretty and were pretty thin. Now that I think back, a thicker t-shirt might have worked better to reduce red marks from the brace rubbing.

The thing I had looked kind of like this


30th June 2005, 12:18 AM
I just used to wear bog-standard litle-girls' vests that I think were quite common 25 years ago. They had seams and I got lines on my body from them, but since I had a Milwaukee only part of me was totally enclosed and the lines never bothered me.

Whatever you get for Erin, it's going to be a lot nicer on her skin than the stockingette stuff that lines the casts Andrea, which I remember ends up feeling quite rough after a few weeks of wear! I'm sure she'll love the brace, it will be such a treat for her to be able to take it off :D

30th June 2005, 02:10 PM
Thanks for all your replies. M&S don't do seamless vests for Erin's age - perhaps they do for adults, I dont know. I think it'll just be plain vests for the moment, and i'll see how she goes with them.

I'm sure she's going to love being able to take it off and have baths and stuff. I can see a lot of bribery being used to get her back into it though :D

1st July 2005, 12:42 AM
yeah, the ones i had were adult ones but i think way back then i was able to fit into a size six :D i wouldn't get an arm into that size now

i think i had to be distracted into mine, like "bex, quick look over there!" "what, what am i looking at?" slide the brace on, do up the straps "grr you got me again" :D but i'm sure it's muich better than a cast

it's probably hard to bargain with a child so young by explaining the consequences of not wearing one, seeing as they see things in black and white, not grey

1st July 2005, 12:48 AM
I just accepted the fact that I had to wear the brace and never kicked up a fuss when I had to have the brace put on again after my brace-free hour, it was just how things were. Hope Erin sees it the same way :-)

1st July 2005, 12:59 AM
you had a far better attitude than i did :D i just hung on until surgery, knowing that's the easy option for me as i get to sleep through it

1st July 2005, 01:37 AM
I grew up wearing casts and braces Marmyte, so never knew any different. It was really hard having to get used to wearing one again after my surgery at 18 though.....in fact, I wasn't very good about wearing it at all then! I was supposed to wear it for 6 months post-op but just couldn't hack wearing it full-time and used to leave it under my bed in my uni hall of residence instead :oops:

1st July 2005, 03:26 AM
That's something that's been worrying me lately....you know, when Deirdre finally gets her brace and then doesn't want to wear it :woe: Hopefully she'll have as good an attitude about it as you did Toni.


Sorry I don't have much to say about the vests since I have no personal experience to relate, but I am enjoying reading this thread cuz I'll be going through it soon enough. :-D


1st July 2005, 12:49 PM
seamless is the way forwards! i'm telling you, so much better!

toni - every morning i took mine off and dumped it on the floor in the middle of my bedroom :D it's in the attic now

i think you're right in that some people never knew any different. scoliosis invaded my life when i turned 14 and i couldn't handle it. just give me the easy option and then i can get on with my life - i'm so lazy

3rd July 2005, 10:22 PM
Hiya, I wear a brace, and i have just normal plain strappy tops underneath mine that i have got from m & s, new look and Mainly Primark. And i find that quite confortable. But sometimes at night now that it is hotter i tend to wear t-shirts underneath as the brace has been rubbing my arm. But good luck with finding tops!

5th July 2005, 04:59 PM
Well, she's into her new brace....and she hates it! This is so much harder than the cast was, and not what I was expecting at all. I know it's because it feels different and it's A LOT tighter than the cast was, but I just feel so sorry for her. She keeps asking if her back is straight yet and whether she can take it off. She says it hurts and just doesn't seem comfortable in it. We've got a check up in a month, but at this rate we won't get there - I'll be down at Stanmore begging them to put the cast back on.

I'll post pictures of what it looks like when I get the chance, but she's not exactly the best model at the moment. :(

5th July 2005, 05:05 PM

I'm so sorry to hear Erin is having a hard time with the brace. I'm afraid this is what I'm dreading too with Deirdre. Why can't they make effective easy to wear braces ???!! I'm so disappointed with the whole process :woe:


5th July 2005, 05:07 PM
Oh no, I'm gutted to hear this Andrea :( I was hoping that she'd be happier with the brace because she can look forward to taking it off. All I can suggest is that you slacken it off for the first few days to give her a chance to get used to it, and gradually tighten it day by day.

Also, try to stay positive and keeping pointing out that she can have it taken off for an hour every day (I presume?) and stress how much fun that will be! Once she gets used to it I am sure she'll prefer it to a cast. Maybe you could take her swimming or something, as a treat that she wouldn't normally be able to have if still in a cast.

If she really doesn't get on with the brace I am sure they'd put her back in plaster - I had my first Boston-style brace after my surgery when I was ten and for some reason I hated it so much that I had a massive screaming fit in the Coxen Ward treatment room and they ended up giving me a plaster instead (as noted in my diary, heh!). That was despite having grown up with Milwaukees :(

5th July 2005, 05:09 PM
so this is where you have to be hard, callous, matter of fact and insistent on the outside (anything different and you'll do her a disservice) whilst being upset, feeling sad, cruel and a horrible parent on the inside!

It is amazing how children can adapt to the most horrible circumstances (eventually), which in the end do not feel that horrible at all.

In a way it is our own perceptions/ feelings/emotions which we (as parents) attach to the situation which make it so awful

Keep going and be strong


5th July 2005, 05:12 PM
To be honest, I'm dreading taking it off as I know she'll fight me when it comes to putting it back on. I've promised her swimming on Thursday as I have to work tomorrow and she's got a daytrip to the farm with playgroup, so hopefully it'll keep her mind off it.

It's slacker now than it should be, and I hate it being loose as I can see her rib hump and I just worry it's not doing what it should be. That side of it really sticks out. Oh well, i'll give it some time and see if it improves.

5th July 2005, 05:16 PM
I don't think that slackening it off just for a couple of days will do any harm, whilst she gets used to it. She must be quite freaked because it's all so new to her! I hope she settles soon Andrea - I'm so sorry this is so hard for you :hug:

5th July 2005, 06:32 PM
Hi Andrea,
Sorry to hear that Erin is struggling with the brace. I am curious to know if you have to leave it on for the full 23 hours initially. The advice we were given was to wean Niamh onto the brace slowly, starting with an hour, check for red spots, if there are not any try for another hour etc. Luckily Niamh was very cooperative and we built up to the 23 hours in a couple of days.
Does she feel that it is too tight just over the area that it should be tight, or is it uncomfortable in other spots. I hope things go better for you over the next couple of days,

5th July 2005, 08:45 PM
i know it must be horrendous with such a little girl but sadly a lot of that sounds normal to me (as in the brace hurting at first) i can't imagine what it's like to watch somebody go through it all as i've always been the patient myself but it does get better. i'm really sorry i can't offer any more than this and i hope i don't sound patronising :squeeze:

5th July 2005, 10:18 PM
Thanks everyone. If it were me going through it, yes I'd probably moan and carry on like it was the worst thing on earth, but it is so much worse watching the most precious thing in your world going through this. I'm sure all the other mums will agree. I think tonight's going to be rough - she's already woken up crying - so i'll probably sleep in with her.

Nicola - we weren't told to build up to it, no. I was told I could take it off while she had lunch, and then an hour tonight, but I'm afraid to say I didn't. The choice to go into a brace is a really difficult one and I want to make sure we give it our best shot, and that doesn't involve taking it off when things get tough. I'll check her in the morning for rubbing spots and will suffer the consequences when I try and get her back in it.

And incidentally, for all those wondering, the solution to getting seams digging into you, is to turn the vest inside out. :D

5th July 2005, 10:23 PM
that's ingenious - why the hell didn't i think of that? i clearly have an inadequate mother :D

6th July 2005, 02:15 AM
I used to get my teachers to take off my brace by saying it was hurting when I was in grade school! I was such a horrible child. :-D But braces were no fun..yuck.

6th July 2005, 07:34 AM
I hope the night was not too hard for Erin (and you). Believe me, I fully understand your reluctance to remove it when the going gets tough. Perhaps we were advised to do it slowly because Niamh had been out of her cast for 3 weeks by the time the brace was ready for fitting? In saying that, she was wearing it for the full 23 hours within a day or two.
I know that Erin is that little bit older than Niamh and therefore probably a bit less easy to coax back into the brace but you may be surprised. We made sure that we never said anything negative about it in front of Niamh, and made a really deal about how lovely her "Butterflys" were. We also encouraged her to show it off to everyone, with the result that even mentioning her brace nowadays will lead her to lift her dress and show it to the world :oops: Fine for a two year old, hope she grows out of that before she is a teenager!!
We take the brace off every evening before she goes to bed, usually for an hour, unless we have been swimming during the day in which case it is off for a shorter period of time in the evening.
I am sure you don't need to be reminded but if Erin is going swimming outdoors, don't forget the sunscreen, sunburn would not be pleasant under the brace :( I am so paranoid I put Niamh in a little UV suit that covers her to her knees, we get a few funny looks around the pool but I don't care.
Best of luck over the next few days, and don't forget to enjoy the cuddles and the tummy kisses,

6th July 2005, 02:45 PM
i wish i'd had one of those UV suits when i was little but i think they were in their infancy, they look fantastic and if i ever have kids they'll live in one of those - hey, saves me washing a ton of clothes :D

i hope the night didn't go too badly andrea and that you can do what i do which is keep your mind on how good the end result will be one day. haha let's see if i can still say that in a little over a week!

6th July 2005, 08:17 PM
Originally posted by andrea@Jul 5 2005, 08:18 PM
I think tonight's going to be rough - she's already woken up crying - so i'll probably sleep in with her.

I might already have mentioned this previously, what really seemed to help my daughter was making the matrass nice and soft by putting a duoble folded continental quilt on top of matrass. Very comfortable!


7th July 2005, 09:27 AM
Thanks for your thoughts everyone. We've had a tough couple of nights and I feel as tired as I did when she was a newborn, but she seems to be complaining less during the day, which may mean she is adjusting. And I'm pleasantly surprised that she is willing to put it back on when she dislikes it so much.

I've promised her swimming this afternoon, so we'll see how that goes.
Nicola - swimming outdoors sounds lovely, however, we're a bit short of outdoor swimming pools here, or the weather to make them fun. It's currently pouring down and about 11 degrees :( We don't go in the sun anyway so i'm not sure we'd use them if we had them.

Thanks again all - i'm sure i'll keep you updated!

Nicola - when are you back home?

7th July 2005, 02:41 PM
Great news Andrea !!! :clap: It's sounds like she's adjusting really well. Would you be able to post a pic of the new brace ? Did you try the massage ?


"We made sure that we never said anything negative about it in front of Niamh, and made a really deal about how lovely her "Butterflys" were. We also encouraged her to show it off to everyone, with the result that even mentioning her brace nowadays will lead her to lift her dress and show it to the world"

That is too cute !!! :rofl:


7th July 2005, 05:24 PM
Sealy, I'll try and take a pic of the brace tonight, both on her and off so you can see what it looks like. It's a bit different to Niamh's in the gallery, but on the same theme. I tried the massage, but she's so skinny and bony, it's difficult to feel anything else but ribs! She also finds it really ticklish so doesn't stay still. I'll persevere.

7th July 2005, 05:31 PM
Glad to hear that things have improved Andrea, hopefully the nights will strt to improve soon too!
We are home on the 30th july so just over 3 weeks letft

Sorry Niamh actually posted that message for me before I got a chance to finish!!
Yes we are home on the 30th July and Niamh's appointment is on the 8th Aug so I expect we will be going back into POP soon after that..

Sorry to hear the weather is miserable over there, coming from rainy Dublin I always assume everyone else has better weather 8). Tlhe weather in Portland has been fairly nice over the last couple of weeks, so I am making the most of it while I can!!
Hope Erin enjoys the swim today.
I also try to do Sealy's masage while we can and yes all I can feel is ribs as well but i keep doing it. I tend to use a lotion or cream on her skin while I am going it to prevent the tickles and Niamh loves it now, rolls over and demands the cream on her back!!
Keep up the good work,

16th July 2005, 12:19 AM
Andrea, Just wondering how Erin is getting on with the brace now, have the nights settled down for you?
Oh and did she enjoy her swim??

16th July 2005, 10:15 AM
Keep going mum , you're doing great .It always hurts to see your kids in pain or discomfort but I just thought i'd say you're doing great .Mums are the best . :squeeze:

19th July 2005, 10:25 PM
Just to go back to the Gilbert and Mellish "torso-interface", (or brace vest)

I liked the look of them on their website and ordered a few (they are happy to take orders from individuals (non-medical) over the phone.

They are fairly pricey at 16.35 each, but are very stretchy, without any seams, and sit lovely and thight round Laura's body, which means no pressure lines from folded vests anymore. Also, apparantly, the material has a "wicking" effect which means that it takes moisture (sweat) away from the body.


(ps, did I mention the 20% commision I'll be getting???

20th July 2005, 11:11 PM
Gerbo: Delighted to hear they work. They were great for me, but they're threadbare they're so worn now.

Andrea: it seems to be going OK - keep us updated please!

21st July 2005, 10:17 AM
Andrea, Just wondering how Erin is getting on with the brace now, have the nights settled down for you?
Oh and did she enjoy her swim??

Thanks for asking Nicola (and Jonny). Things are MUCH better now. She's back to sleeping all night and not complaining about it. In fact, a couple of days she hasn't wanted to have a break and won't let me keep it off when I change her vest - strange child. I'm now managing to do the top strap up tighter than it was before, and even tighter than the mark i'm supposed to use - anyone know if I can be doing any harm?

She loves swimming and, even though she hasn't been for about 18 months, she has an amazing confidence in the water. Not too much swimming going on though - she prefers to launch herself from the side into the water.

I'm still uncertain as to whether it's holding her or not. Some days her rib hump looks really prominent, and others it looks ok (never straight, but ok). Only 2 weeks today until we are xrayed and we find out. I took some photos of the brace, but am struggling to upload them. The site took a long time and then said no photo uploaded, even though they are only 400x300 pixels. I'll try again later.

EDIT: I've added them now - I was being a plank - they should be up soon.

21st July 2005, 05:26 PM
The pictures are up Andrea - it's a smaller version of my Stanmore brace!

It sounds like Erin's used to the feel of it now and is more comfortable (in theory it's more comfortable than a cast) and the only limit to how tight you can have it is Erin's comfort and tolerance, and the condition of her skin. Redness is a normal sign that the brace is applying necessary pressure, but obviously very raw or broken skin means it's too tight.

It's also probably a good idea to make sure that one end of the brace isn't hugely tighter than the other end, making the brace into a 'cone' shape.

I'm sure the brace will be just as effective as the cast at holding Erin's curve - best of luck for your appointment!

21st July 2005, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by Jonny@Jul 21 2005, 03:26 PM
comfort and tolerance, and the condition of her skin. Redness is a normal sign that the brace is applying necessary pressure, but obviously very raw or broken skin means it's too tight.

Good old fashioned zinc and castor oil, as used for babies bottoms, is very good for irritated and or broken skin


21st July 2005, 07:56 PM

Nice looking brace ! Looks very comfy and I love the bunnies :niceone: :-D It doesn't extend too high up in the chest area, which is good. The centre part almost looks like styrofoam.


21st July 2005, 08:58 PM
It is foam Sealy - it's to allow her tummy to expand for eating and breathing, although it sits a little too high for her and kind of cuts her tummy in two, which isn't perfect but doesn't bother her.

Choosing the bunnies was a bit like shopping for sofas - all the patterns came in a flip sheet book :D Not as much fun as buying a sofa though.

21st July 2005, 11:29 PM
Hi Andrea,
great to hear that the nights have settled down for you. Funnily enough Niamh is never very pushed about taking her brace off either, in fact yesterday evening she refused to take it off. I was wondering if she has actually gotten used to the support and misses it when it is not there, sort of the same way that older women used not be able to live without their cosets years ago? I do take it off for the hour anyway, because I worry about her not using her tummy muscles enough and feel that at least an hour of running around with it off will give them a little bit of a work out.
Glad Erin enjoys the swim :D
The brace looks very cute and more comfortable than Niamh's, the straps for ours go to the front, so she has the gap in front for expansion of her tummy, which I am glad to say is finally beginning to fill out a bit. I imagine Erin will tell you if you tighten the brace too much, Niamh certainly does, but good advice from Jonny regarding tightening the top and bottom fairly evenly
Taks care

22nd July 2005, 01:58 AM
I'm so glad to hear that she's getting used to the brace! it looks comfortable--well, as comfy as a brace can be. I would have loved to have room for my stomach to expand--i always felt sick after eatin when I was in my brace. Anyway, I'm glad that she enjoyed her swim!