Sorry for the big gap in blogs!! I’m currently growing a tiny human which is more tiring than I realised at times. This blog is adapted from one I wrote for the lovely Grecian over at ‘Growing Our Tribe’. She is a Mum of ex-prem twinnies and a 3 year old… https://growingourtribe.family.blog. Go and check her out!
As a new ‘Mumma to be’ (I’m 21 weeks pregnant with my first), and having treated babies, infants and kids for a long time, I know it can be overwhelming as a first time Mum to know what is ‘normal’ with your baby or child. When should you seek further help? Who do you even ask?
Your Maternal and Child Health Nurse is often a good place to start. But, if you have any of the below concerns, this is when I would be looking into things further:
- Your baby seems to be using one side of her body more than the other, or has developed an early ‘hand preference’ (a child won’t develop a clear hand preference until 4-6 years, although may start between 2-4 years). It shouldn’t appear that your 18 month old is ‘right handed’ yet, they should be using them equally.
- Your baby likes to turn his head to one side consistently more than the other, and their head is beginning to change shape (more indepth blog post on this to come).
- Compared to other babies of the same age, your baby may be moving their body differently, or learning skills at a much slower rate. Sometimes, babies skip certain milestones or just take a little longer to achieve certain skills – and that at times is ok. But it’s much easier to catch up and learn when missing skills are practiced early than trying to ‘unlearn’ a certain movement pattern , and it’s often good to look into why this is happening.
- Your baby seems overly stiff or floppy, compared to other babies.
- Your child seems to walk or move differently to other children their age. They may walk consistently on their tiptoes, have one leg that turns in or out more than another, seem to be limping or more ‘clumsy’ than other children.
- Your child or teenager may have had an injury or illness impacting the way they move or function – children aren’t just ‘mini adults’ and having trained paediatric physiotherapist can help greatly with their rehab!
Just remember – you are the expert in your baby and child! If you are concerned, it’s always worth looking into. Don’t be scared that the health professionals will think you’re just ‘over reacting’ or ‘being silly’, often all it takes is an assessment, some reassurance and maybe some different play ideas at home to help a baby on their way. It doesn’t always mean that something is ‘wrong’ with your child (I hate that word).
For more information on what a paediatric physiotherapist does – this article outlines it really well: https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/physiotherapy/8/practice/nm/from-newborns-to-toddlers-physios-are-a-safe-option-for-babies/3952/
Ask your GP, Maternal Health Nurse, Paediatrician, (or even look on the Physio Australia website) for a referral to your local paediatric physiotherapist.
Wishing you all the best with your bubbas.