At just 14 months old, Oakley Lynch is fast becoming Instagram’s most stylish baby – despite having just one arm.
The adorable toddler has symbrachydactyly, a condition where his right arm failed to grow below a quarter of his forearm.
First-time parents Victoria and Greg Lynch, both 30, from Reading, were shocked when they were delivered the news and feared for their son’s future.
But Oakley is a happy and confident boy who poses in fashion-forward outfits for his 15,000 followers.
His Instagram account – @myoakleydoakley – is so popular that he receives a package every day filled with toys, shoes and hats.
Boutiques around the world send him clothes – and even modify their tops to fit his shorter arm.
‘The way Oakley has adapted to life with one hand is just incredible, you wouldn’t know any different,’ says proud dad Greg. ‘I’m confident that with what I’ve seen so far he’s a very determined little boy and I don’t think there’s anything that will hold him back.’
Victoria and Greg thought their pregnancy was ordinary until their 16-week scan.
A specialist delivered the upsetting news – that he hadn’t grown a right hand and only had a fifth of his forearm.
‘My immediate reaction was definitely shock, there were some tears,’ reveals Victoria. ‘I went home, I opened a bag of crisps and I thought, “How on earth is he going to do the simple things in life like opening a bag of crisps or tying his shoelace or putting buttons through button holes?”
‘But very quickly we realised there is a solution to everything.’
When Victoria held him for the first time she didn’t even notice his arm.
‘It was love at first sight,’ she says.
Despite Oakley’s success on social media, Greg was initially reluctant to post his pictures.
‘Before he was born I was quite against social media,’ he admits. ‘But as soon as he was born I was so immensely proud. I wanted people to see him straight away and to see he’s no different from anyone else.
‘I think its brilliant that it’s spreading the word of limb deficiency or just generally children being different leading normal lives.’
Oakley’s Instagram account started when he was just a few months old and began with adorable pictures. But as the account grew, his cheeky smile caught the attention of boutiques in Australia, America and the UK.
‘I just started off by putting a photo every day of Oakley and what he was wearing,’ explains Victoria. ‘I usually spend about five minutes dressing him and I take a quick snap before we go out.
‘Maybe Oakley is the most stylish boy in the UK – I haven’t actually seen a boy baby in the UK with more followers than Oakley.’
And despite social media’s reputation for trolling, mum Victoria says Oakley has never received any negative comments on his Instagram.
But the account hasn’t just gained Oakley followers – it’s also connected him to hundreds of other children around the world who are just like him.
‘I think a lot of people who also have children the same as Oakley really appreciate that we’re not always dwelling on the fact that he has one hand, it’s just a normal account of a little boy who happens to have one hand,’ says Victoria.
As far as his parents are concerned, Oakley is a very normal child and manages perfectly well without a hand.
‘He finds ways of doing everything. He’ll hold a book with his feet so he’s got one hand free to turn the pages and that’s something we haven’t taught him. He worked it out himself.’
‘Oakley has an incredible personality,’ says Greg. ‘He’s really chilled out and happy and smiley.
‘He’s so outgoing that people notice what a lovely little boy he is first before they notice he hasn’t got a hand.’
And these days Oakley has a younger brother, Huxley – who doesn’t have symbrachydactyly – to pose with in the adorable pictures.
Victoria and Greg hope one day Oakley will receive a prosthetic arm that will make him the envy of his classmates.
And having just one hand has opened doors to opportunities they could never dream of.
‘I think Oakley will live a very normal life, if not an extraordinary life,’ says Victoria. ‘I hope he’s never bitter about the fact that he’s different. I can’t see that his limb difference is going to hold him back at all.’