When Grecian asked me to do a guest post on ‘physio for babies’ I was thinking to myself ‘wow – where do I start??’
One of the biggest questions I get asked as a physiotherapist who treats babies, infants, children and adolescents is ‘what do you actually DO?’ or ‘why does a baby need physiotherapy’? In fact I’m pretty sure my partner STILL doesn’t really get what I do.
As a new ‘Mumma to be’ (I’m currently 19 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).
- Your baby likes to turn his head to one side consistently more than the other, and their head is beginning to change shape.
- 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 when missing skills are practiced early, 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.
Just remember – you are the expert in your baby! 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.
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 (or even look on the Physio Australia website) for a referral to your local paediatric physiotherapist.
Wishing you all the best with your bubbas.
Check Kara out on Instagram – @storiesfromababyphysio