Parents are often surprized I work with babies. I usually hear ‘aren’t they too young’ or ‘what do you do with a baby?’
Babies are always learning new skills and reaching new developmental milestones. As everybody says, they do mostly feed, poop and sleep, but they also, move, play and interact. These skills all develop from birth onwards. An OT experienced in working with babies can evaluate which foundational areas the baby is struggling with and how to improve them
Here are three scenarios:
1) When a baby struggles with feeding, we would assess their tolerance for touch with their body and in their mouth, oral motor skills in their mouth for nursing or eating foods, muscle control in their core / neck / shoulders, and their body alignment and positioning for feeding. See more here.
2) If a baby has a flat spot on their head or turns their head to one side (plagiocephaly or torticollis), we assess their core strength, body awareness on the weaker side, motor planning, eye movements, jaw alignment and oral motor skills, which muscle groups are weak or tight, tolerance for movement and motor skills using both sides of their body.
3) Another common scenario is when the child is described as a ‘lazy baby.’ Usually there’s a reason for this. They may be sensitive or fearful of movement, have difficulty figuring out how to move their body, or have weak body strength and stamina. Sometimes the baby could have a lower state of arousal and need more sensory input (touch, muscle / joint and / or movement input) to rev up their engines the so they feel the urge to move and play.
When we explore deeper, there are underlying areas we can develop. And as babies are changing and growing so fast thanks to brain plasticity, they have amazing potential to progress at a faster rate. Early intervention helps.
Babies whom I treat usually may have:
-Plagiocephaly (flatness on head)
-Torticollis (turn or bend their head to one side)
-Avoid moving to one side of their body
-Don’t use one arm or leg
-Dislike being on their tummy
-Have difficulties with breastfeeding or transitioning to foods
-Appear colicky or are described as a fussy baby
-Sensitive to sounds or being moved
-Not meeting motor milestones
-Feet tend to turn outwards
-Born prematurely so need extra help to catch up
-Have diagnoses such as Down’s syndrome, Cerebral palsy, Hemiplegia or other genetic syndromes
If you have any concerns about your babies’ development, feel free to contact me to have a chat and discuss further.
For more information:
Sensory and motor developmental milestones month by month by Pathways Awareness:
What does a baby OT assessment with me look like?
Infant red flags for sensory processing difficulties