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1/26 Eva Street, Coorparoo 4151
Brisbane
(07) 3324 2490
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76-122 Napper Rd, Parkwood 4214
Gold Coast
(07) 5594 7014

Daisy shows us how to get crawling

Sometimes children find it really difficult to crawl. It might be because they lack body on body rotation movement patterns or upper body strength or tone. They may not be able to cross the midline easily or may have delayed protective ( positive supporting) reactions that you use to save your face when you are about to fall. Some children have balance or vestibular issues that make them fearful to put their head down. In Daisy's case, she had flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly) with reduced neck movement (torticollis) and this affected her motor skill development in her first twelve months.

Have a look at these lovely videos of us encouraging Daisy to link sitting to tummy and vice versa; high kneel to develop better control around her low back and tummy; practicing her arm parachute reactions; achieving all fours and beginning to crawl, once her neck range is all okay.

So your baby doesn’t like tummy time….

The SIDS campaign has been incredibly successful with its “back to sleep” message. I totally support this initiative. What hasn’t been so effective has been promoting the other side of the message which is “tummy time or vertical to play”.

The past fifteen years we have seen an explosion in the management of flat head syndrome or plagiocephaly, with baby helmets rivalling bottled water as a growth industry! Absolutely, sleep our littlies on their backs but introduce awake tummy time as soon as you can. Your baby doesn’t have to go on the floor: they can be on your chest, across your lap or on the change table. You can roll them onto their tummy to dry their back after a bath. Tummy time is crucial for development of strong back and neck muscles and heads that don’t have a flat spot because your baby prefers to turn their head one way.

Our resident baby model Gracie (first offspring of physiotherapists Christy and Mitch) demonstrates some positions of choice with a skin to skin ( kangaroo) cuddle with Dad and using a bed nest to help with head control and elbow position (see how elbows are under Grace’s shoulders).

Sometimes babies can have a shortened neck muscle which is located at the front and side of their neck. It’s called the sternocleidomastoid muscle and the condition is commonly called torticollis. It can be associated with flat head syndrome because a baby has difficulties turning their head due to the muscle on one side of the neck being tight and the muscle on the opposite side being weaker.  The goal is to get your baby to sleep with their head turned to their least favourite side – not so easy when they are sleeping 18 hours per day (or not sleeping at all). In my next post I’ll give you some sneaky tricks to help with this and some practical hints.

But to finish up tonight, here’s a tip: babies start consistently eye following horizontally at about six weeks of age. This is a good way to start them turning their heads. They can focus on someone (usually Mum or Dad – the loves of their life and ultimate protectors!) from a hand spans’ distance. Put your thumb on your nose and spread your hand and your little finger: this is where bub will need to be to focus on you. Then get them to start to eye follow from side to side, gradually increasing the range until they are experts!