Does your baby prefer to turn her head in one direction (chin to shoulder) or does she tilt it to one side (ear to shoulder)?
Are you noticing a flat spot developing on her skull?
Do you notice asymmetries with her ears, eyes or cheeks?
If so, your baby might be developing Torticollis or an abnormal neck posture. When babies are born, they present with physiologic flexion and soft tissue contractions from positioning in utero. They all typically have a head preference to one side or the other. Therefore in our world of "Back to Sleep", this means parents are responsible for head turning to the non-preferred side, especially during sleep. We need to work on balancing to decrease the preference in order to optimize freedom of healthy movement.
Some of the most important work and processing a baby completes in the first 12 weeks of their life is to gently WORK OUT the contractures, restrictions and preferences to maximize balance and symmetry of their body function and movement. Some babies need more help with this than others.
So how do you help your baby with their neck movement?
- limit time in Baby Holding Devices. These devices position the baby in the same semi-reclined position and limits movement
- re-position mobiles or toys on play mats/crib/gym to encourage head turning to both sides
- use the reclined "flat" stroller option versus baby car seat when in the stroller for long durations - tummy time opportunity when awake!
- sidelying positioning when awake
- tummy time floor play when awake . You say your baby does NOT like tummy time? I Can Help!
- wearing and holding your baby; alternate which arm you carry baby
- re-position yourself during diaper changes to encourage baby to turn either direction
- alternate feeding positions: breast feeding positions such as football or cradle; bottle fed alternate which arm you hold baby
Babies will also exhibit tightness in their trunk, pelvis and shoulders even though the neck is the most visible component of their head preference. Babies who show more of a head tilt versus a head turning preference have more difficulty working itself out on their own. Therefore, specialized physical therapy is recommended to help with movement and facilitating muscle elongation and strengthening. If you are unsure or would like more direction, please reach out!
Are you concerned with your Baby's head preference?
Contact me for your FREE Consultation