My sister has written another great post for me. Today she is sharing how she has helped my cutie pie niece improve her Torticollis.
As a Mom I am always looking for ways to encourage, challenge and teach my little Sweet Pea how to be a successful little learner. I am constantly seeking advice and guidance from books, medical professionals, the internet and parents like you! Today, I would like to share with you some exercises that will enable your little one to learn those first key skills: sitting and crawling. What makes me an expert? Nothing more than doing the following exercises daily with my little darling. These exercises were all given to me by her physical therapist for her physical needs. Read backstory. I do not have any medical background. With that said these may be helpful for some of you to try with your child. We practice these exercises several times each day while playing and exploring. However, we do have those busy or lazy days that I’ll skip an entire day. So don’t feel like you need to be perfect each day to get results. There are times these exercises go well and times these are met with tears. I always stop when I know she’s had enough and we return to it later. Listen to your little one’s needs.
*Back Story: My little Sweet Pea was born with Torticollis. Without boring you with the medical definition it is (for her) a head tilt caused by her positioning in utero. She experienced a tightening of muscles along her neck, shoulder and into the muscles under her armpit. This caused her head to tilt to the right. Torticollis varies with symptoms such as a head tilt, eye displacement or a flattened head… and each requires a different form of treatment. For Sweet Pea it was as simple as a tilt. Her tilt was very slight but her pediatrician felt it was best to nip it early (diagnosed at 4 months) that way she wouldn’t deepen the tilt or cause any permanent damage to her muscles. Therefor off we went to physical therapy. We learned again that her tilt was slight and that she would only need exercise therapy. After three months of working hard, tears, struggles and plenty of triumphs she has overcome her issues. Along the way our therapist has taught us several exercises to help Sweet Pea learn the basics every babe should know. I found these exercises to be incredibly helpful and thought I would share them with you.
Target age: 5 Months until skill is mastered
Skill: Sitting Up- Sit with your legs crossed in front of you and place your child right in front of your legs. While you support your child’s back and hips encourage your child to play with a toy placed in front of him/her. With practice you will see your child has a better sense of balance. When balance is achieved support your child less and/or scoot yourself back to allow your child to explore more and more balance on his/her own.
Skill: Sitting Up- During every diaper change or any time it’s time for Sweet Pea to come up from the floor she must help herself up. Using my left hand I’ll hold her left hand/arm to slowly pull up. She ends up using her stomach & the right arm muscles to pull herself up. Support hip with your free hand if needed. Switch arms every other time to equally work each side.
Thigh Placement Shin Placement- Advanced
Skill- Crawling position: Place your little one between your thighs tummy down and bend child’s legs to go under your right thigh. Place toy outside your left leg where your child’s head and arms are so your child will reach and play within the crawling position. This is modified tummy time without them realizing. (This took Sweet Pea lots of practice she HATED tummy time)
Advanced Position: Move your little one down to your shins for a less modified tummy time follow the directions exactly from above.
Skill: Crawling position- Sit with your legs crossed and tuck your child’s feet under your ankles. Place toy within reach and hold little one by the hips to get child on all 4s. I use my hand to make her hand touch a toy within reach. She then realizes she can put weight on one side and will touch the toy on her own. I make sure she uses each arm to support her to ensure more equal strengthening. Support baby by holding onto both hips until steady. Eventually, after much practice hold with only one supporting hand. *I took this picture so that is why there is only one supporting hand. You can see she is shifting her weight and not fully on her left knee so support on both hips is needed.
I hope that you and your little one enjoy exploring these new exercises together. Any questions or comments please post below.
Disclosure: I do not have any medical background. This is just a moms advice on how I helped my child.