Everyone wants their babies to be born healthy and to grow up with no issues. Unfortunately, things come up that can be out of our control, such as feeding issues or developmental delays. The good news is that there are therapists for many issues such as the ones stated above. We have compiled a list of 15 signs that your baby may need to see a therapist and the types of therapist he needs to see.
It can be discouraging, scary, or even stressful when babies have issues that require therapy- but these therapists will give you the information you need to get your baby on the right track. There are several types of therapists ranging from therapists that can help your baby breastfeed and even sleep better. As parents we google our questions, talk with other moms and even call our mothers-in-law to get the answers to our burning questions. Why is my baby’s head floppy? How do I get my baby to start walking?
Sometimes the answers and solutions are best left in the hands of the professional, and that is why your doctor will happily work with you to get your child the accommodations and referrals that he needs. This topic can be scary, so read below to find out all of the information you need to get your baby pointed in the right direction.
15 Head Shape Seems Off
Helmet therapy, according to Healthychildren, is a type of treatment to help correct a baby’s skull shape. Helmets work by directing growth from the flat spot, according to Healthychildren, and may be needed if the baby has an abnormal head shape or positional head shape deformity. The earlier a child is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome will be. A baby will get a prescription and be specially fitted for a helmet that they will wear 23 hours a day until the doctor sees improvement in your baby’s head shape.
More often than not, this is an issue your baby’s pediatrician will catch at a routine check-up, but if you are concerned about your baby’s head shape and his pediatrician has not caught this issue, it does not hurt to bring it up. Healthychildren says that helmets must be worn during the time when the skill is actively growing, so those early months are the best time to deal with this problem. The helmet will take some getting used to for baby and parents, but it will be beneficial in the long run. Healthychildren says that that the purpose of the helmet is to hold the round areas of your little one’s skull steady while allowing the flat spot to round and grow on its own.
14 The Baby Won't Nurse
Some mothers go into motherhood expecting (or at least, hoping) that their breastfeeding journey will be a walk in the park. For some, it turns into a nightmare. Once mama rules out general breastfeeding difficulties such as babies positioning or latch- it may be time to look into craniosacral therapy. According to BreastFeedingSupport, it may be time to consider an assessment if baby does not have a sucking or rooting reflex, if baby is unable to open her mouth wide, if baby loses suction, if he had a birth injury or seems to be in physical discomfort when feeding.
According to ParentMap, this type of massage eases the tightness in your little one’s neck, mouth, and head and can greatly help with breastfeeding troubles. Parent Map states that craniosacral therapy helps to align babies body which will get his systems working properly.
Cranisacrap therapy, according to BirthInjuryGuide, involves massaging and touching the bones around the scull and when these areas are massaged it can reduce blocking and normalize the body. This is something that mom and/or dad should not attempt to do on their own and should reach out to their baby’s pediatrician for a referral. This can be a great way to start a wonderful journey with breastfeeding.
13 Sensitive To Touch, Smell, Or Sounds
According to Birthinjuryguide, sensory integration, is the way your baby’s nervous system receives and sends messages and the action that follows once these messages are sent. If your baby has this issue, sensory integration therapy may be the route to take. Some babies have sensory issues such as being hyposensitive (lessened response) or hypertensive (excessive response), according to Psychologytoday. This means that if your baby is hypersensitive, she may become very upset when a fleece blanket touches her skin. If your baby if hyposensitive, he may not cry when he becomes injured.
According to Understood, the way to deal with sensory processing issues is to get your little one exposed to the sensory stimulation in a repetitive and structured way. That is where occupational therapists come into play where they will work towards fine motor skills, cognitive skills, and sensory processing skills, according to Birthinjuryguide.
According to Understood, over time the brain will adapt to these treatments and allow your kiddo to process and react more effectively.
The activities your child’s occupational therapist will do will be tailored to their specific needs, which could be visual, taste, or noise sensitives. These are issues that can become very frustrating for parents and children if not dealt with early on. Sensory issues can affect schooling, socialization, as well as simple things such as eating and sleeping.
12 No Sounds, No Talking
Many parents cannot wait to hear their sweetie say “mama” for the first time. According to Kidshealth, your little man should be recognizing names of objects such as “bottle” or “binky” and able to say words such as “dada” or “mama.” If this is not happening yet, do not be overly alarmed until your kiddo reaches the 12-18-month mark and these issues have gotten worse or stayed the same.
According to kidshealth, your one-year-old should be using gestures such as waving goodbye and saying simple words such as “dada “and “mama.” KidsHealth states that by 18 months, you should be concerned if your baby is not imitating sounds or vocalizing. When it comes to speech issues, catching this problem early can help the success rate. Getting an appointment with a speech therapist can help improve your child’s speech and language as well as teach you how to work on these skills at home.
KidsHealth says that if the baby is not responding to sound, it is important to bring light to that issue as well. It is common for a speech issue to go away over time once dealt with by speech therapy. Some speech therapists need a referral from your child’s pediatrician first, so it is best to find out the steps you need to take to start handling this issue.
11 Can't Balance Properly
Many of us have heard of physical therapy for adults, but many people do not know that even babies can receive physical therapy. If you or the pediatrician notice that baby seems to not be moving normally, it may be time to look further into the issue. If your little one has difficulties with balance, posture, and coordination, physical therapy may be the best route to take
. According to Birthinjuryguide, a physical therapist is a professional who can help aid in the treatment and diagnosis of disabilities that affect your infant’s ability to move properly. During physical therapy, the therapist will create individualized goals for your baby to ensure she has the best game plan that works for her. According to Birthinjuryguide, physical therapy can take place in clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and even in your own home. The exercises taught to your baby will vary depending on the age of your baby, the disorder and severity of the issue.
Some common exercises, according to Birthinjuryguide are head control exercises, hot/cold compression on affected joints and muscles, balance exercises, and gentle massage and muscle kneading. This may seem scary, but rest assured the physical therapist working with your baby is equipped to deal with your baby.
10 There Are Symptoms Of Autism
According to Babycenter, most children with autism spectrum disorder do not get diagnosed until age 4 or older, but the U.S centers for Disease Control states that you can get a reliable autism diagnoses as early as age 2. Babycenter also states that many parents notice early signs before their first birthday and realize something is off by age 18 months.
When it comes to autism, the earlier a child begins treatment, the better the outcome can be. In babies younger than one year, according to babycenter, if your baby does not make eye contact, does not smile, does not react to sounds, does not like to be touched or cradled and/or has no interest in faces- it may be time for an evaluation.
Although there is no cure for autism, it can be managed if caught early enough.
An ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapist may be the best option for a kiddo dealing with these issues. According to Whattoexpect, a therapist will spend one on one time with your little guy using positive reinforcement to stimulate toddler learning. An Autism diagnosis can be a scary thing for a parent, but rest assured that if you catch this issue early enough, your ABA therapist will tailor a plan to help your little guy succeed the best he can.
9 The Baby Refuses To Eat
According to Friendshipcircle, if your baby is not gaining weight, not drinking from a straw or cup by her first birthday, gags and/or vomits daily, and/or is have trouble transitioning to solids or purees- feeding therapy may be the answer. Feeding therapy works on feeding skills, swallowing and oral motor skills, according to Friendshipcircle.
According to Yourkidstable, the therapist will teach your baby how to eat new foods or how to eat in general. This seems like an easy concept, but for some kiddo's, it is far from it. Your baby will participate in sensory integration, or exercises to strengthen the mouth for eating (such as blowing bubbles), according to Yourkidstable. There are two different approaches to this type of therapy, the first being child directed which includes focusing on the underlying causes of the issue (such as medical or sensory) and involving mom and dad more.
Friendshipcircle states that the next approach, behavioral, involves rewards to gain new foods such as getting a sticker or a special prize. Feeding your baby can be a massive headache for some parents, but it doesn’t have to be with the right help and guidance. Some babies need a little extra help, and that is okay. For this type of therapy, a referral from your little mans pediatrician is likely.
8 Failing To Meet Milestones
According to Moveforwardpt, if a baby is not walking by one year, sitting by six months, or holding her head up by four months, there may be an underlying motor development delay. You will most likely need a referral from your little man’s pediatrician before being able to get an appointment with a physical therapist who is the perfect person to help with the issue.
According to Moveforwardpt, a physical therapist will teach you and the rest of your family how to help your child practice the skills learned in physical therapy at home. Movefowardpt states that a physical therapist will guide your babies movements and/or provide cues to help her learn a new way of moving. The physical therapist, according to Movefowardpt, may experiment with several types of supports as well.
Physical therapy can involve a lot of trial and error in the process of figuring out what works best for your baby. The physical therapist will make this experience fun for your little one to keep her engaged and cooperative during the physical therapy sessions. It is very important to keep up with your child’s well visits so that his pediatrician can catch a developmental delay ASAP.
7 Yellowing Skin
If you have never heard of the word jaundice, by the time you leave the hospital once baby comes, you will have heard it once or twice. According to Medicalnewstoday, jaundice is a term to describe a yellowish tint to the skin and the whites of the eyes. Not every baby is born with jaundice, but your babies nurses will check for jaundice and let you know if she does or does not have it.
According to NHS, prolonged jaundice may require a longer or returned hospital stay which will require phototherapy.
Not every baby needs this therapy, states NHS, if their levels of a substance called bilirubin in their blood is low enough. There is a risk of a serious complication called kernicterus which can cause brain damage, according to NHS, so it is best to keep an eye on your baby’s skin coloring once she comes home. Your sweetie’s pediatrician will also check this issue at her first well visit.
Phototherapy, according to NHS, is a treatment with a light which will require baby to lay under a fluorescent lamp or wrapped in a blanket that has fiber optic cables that the light runs through. This treatment will not hurt your baby, she will most likely sleep through the whole thing.
6 Won't Sleep Through The Night
Many of us have heard of essential oils and all of the benefits they offer. According to TakingCharge, essential oils can be applied to the skin, taken orally or inhaled. Aromattherapy can be used for a variety of issues. Essential oils can be used for calming, sleeping troubles, teething, sickness, digestion issues, skin issues, or even respiratory support, according to Healthinginourhomes. Aromatherapy can be used for a variety of issues.
According to NAHA, aromatherapy the science of using naturally aromatic essences from plants to promote, harmonize and balance healing of the spirit, body and mind. Many people use essential oils daily for a variety of reasons, but it is safer to meet with a professional when using them on baby. An aromatherapist will use aromatherapy intervention based on clients and their needs. Although you can buy essential oils at a grocery store or online, it is best to talk to a professional.
These oils can help baby with several issues and make her as happy and healthy as ever. Your aromatherapist will teach you how to give these oils to your baby and how to get the very best results. An aromatherapist can also help mama out too with everything from increasing breast milk supply to stretch marks!
5 Poor Muscle Tone
According to Childrendevelopment, a child with poor muscle tone will have decreased strength, poor endurance, and/or increased flexibility and movement in her joints. It is common for those with this issue to get tired quickly, lack body awareness feedback, and have poor posture. This may be something your babys pediatrican will pick up on or something you notice before the next doctors visit. If your baby has poor muscle tone, an occupational therapist is someone who can really help them.
According to Childrendevelopment, if poor muscle tone is not dealt with, it can leave your little guy with fine motor skill issues, self esteem issues, issues in school due to being unable to manage a full day due to lack of strength and endurance, and even difficulties completing self-care tasks. According to Childrendevelopment, the occupational therapist will help your little one by doing hard muscle work games/exercises, play based activities, developing underlying skills, and engaging in gross motor activities.
Your baby’s occupational therapist will make the process fun for your little one so that she does not even know she is with a therapist. Most likely, you will need a referral from your sweetie’s doctor before seeing an occupational therapist.
4 Taking A Deep Breath Is Difficult
According to AAFA, if your baby wheezes, has difficulty eating or sucking, is very pale or blue in the face or lips, overly tired, pants, breathes quickly, works hard to breathe, or has persistent choking- it may be time to see a respiratory therapist. The symptoms above are usually correlated with asthma.
There are times where your baby’s pediatrician can handle this issue, but he may feel better sending your little one to a respiratory therapist for further evaluation and treatment.
The respiratory therapist may prescribe medicines that are consumed in an inhaled form, according to AAFA. You and the therapist will create an asthma care management plan, according to AAFA, which ill help manage and treat your little cutie’s asthma. You will learn warning signs, work out an emergency plan of action, and learn all about medications and triggers, according to AAFA. If can be hard to diagnose asthma since they are unable to talk and we all know a fussy baby can mean many things.
It is best to give the therapist and pediatrician as much information as possible (such as baby’s behavior, family history of asthma/allergies, breathing symptom patterns and potential triggers.) Your baby having a hard time breathing is a very stressful situation for a parent, but there are experts to help make your baby comfortable.
3 The Baby Has Mommy Issues
Every parent dreams of a beautiful relationship with their child and hopes for a super easy baby, but for many, that is not the case. Parent-child psychotherapy, according to Psychoanalysis, helps improve the interaction between parent and baby. Not only is this therapy beneficial for baby, but its beneficial for parents too.
According to Postgazette, this type of therapy helps parents understand their attachment to their own babies and how it affects their developing relationship with their baby. Postgazette states that this type of therapy can be beneficial for issues ranging from separation anxiety and eating difficulties to potty training and even bonding issues due to traumatic deliveries.
According to Psychoanalysis, the therapist will observe and ask questions about how mom feeds, plays, and even sleeps. The main goal is to see what influences the undesired behaviors. This is important because stress from the baby can affect the mama, which can turn around and effect the baby in the long run. According to Postgazette, the baby’s environment affects her psychology as well as neurobiology. This means that if mama is anxious or depressed, it can alter her babies brain chemistry due to the negative experiences that correlate with the parent child relationship.
2 Forever Fussy
It can be tough to have a baby who seems constantly fussy. Mom and dad try switching formulas, cutting food out of a breastfeeding moms diet, driving around the neighborhood to get baby to sleep, and even switching diaper brands. As parents, we will do whatever we can to soothe our baby. If your baby is fussy and it is hard to deal with, infant massage therapy may be the answer.
According to the Encyclopedia of children’s health, infant massage therapy can help decrease the production of stress hormones, helps babies learn to relax and even promotes longer and sounder sleep. It is best to have a trained professional give your baby the massage therapy, although many parents attempt to do it themselves. If a parent attempts to massage their infant, it could result in injury if not done properly.
Infant massage therapy is beneficial because according to the Encyclopedia of children’s health, infant massage alleviates stress that newborns experience as a result of the big changes their little bodies go through after birth. Massage enables a smoother transition from the womb to the real world. Think about it, adults benefit from massage therapy, so why wouldn’t babies? As human’s gentle touch goes a long way.
1 The Baby Has Down Syndrome
If your little one is born with Down Syndrome it is most likely at some point in time you will need to see a therapist. According to NICHD, your child may see a speech therapist to help improve their language skills and help them use those skills effectively. Children with Down syndrome often speak later than their peers, according to NICHD, so speech therapy can be beneficial. Occupational therapy, according to NICHD, can help your little one learns self-care skills such as feeding and using a crayon. Not only is occupational therapy a good idea, but also physical therapy.
According to NICHD, physical therapy is crucial in the early years to help your sweetie build the motor skills needed for crawling and rolling over.
Physical therapy will help build motor skills, increase muscle strength, and help improve posture and balance. A behavioral therapist can be another useful tool in helping your little one has the very best start in life. A behavioral therapist, according to NICHD can help your little one deal with emotions and build coping skills as they grow older. There is no cure for Down syndrome, but the symptoms can be managed better with the many different types of therapies offered.
References: parentmap.com, breastfeeding.support, nichd.nih.gov, psychoanalysis.columbia.edu, psychologytoday.com, post-gazette.com, birthinjuryguide.org, healthofchildren.com, medicalnewstoday.com, kidshealth.org, understood.org, birthinjuryguide.org, healthychildren.org, moveforwardpt.com, naha.org, healinginourhomes.com, aafa.org, friendshipcircle.org, childdevelopment.com.au, babycenter.com, whattoexpect.com, yourkidstable.com