infant using one arm over the other - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-12-2008, 03:04 AM - Thread Starter
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My DS3 is almost 5 months old and I have noticed he tends to use his right arm much more than his left. He can use his left arm but it seems he does prefer his right and he seems to kind of reach and grab with his right, but with his left he kind of puts it out there and bats most of the time when he does use it. He does open his left hand, he just doesn't seem to use it yet as much as his right hand. He also chews mainly on his right hand, but will occasionally get his left up there to chew.

He was a 34-week preemie with brief CPAP needed for breathing difficulty and about a week to 10 days of jaundice, a week of digestive difficulty/TPN due to his digestive system not functioning properly but then was a "feeder and grower" spending three weeks total in the NICU.

Would this be of concern at this point? He does seem developmentally on target otherwise - smiles, bears some weight on his feet, etc. He does have some reflux but overall is a happy little guy.

I have seen that early "handedness" can be an early indication of CP. I do tend to overanalyze a bit since my older two are autistic and I tend to be a bit over-paranoid with any "symptoms" of anything - I figured I'd ask here before I ask our ped at his next appointment. I'd love to be told I'm paranoid and to just relax ...


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#2 of 10 Old 02-12-2008, 03:12 AM
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I have no experience w/preemies, but my dd has shown right-handedness for at least the last couple of months (she is 5 and 1/2 months). She can grab with her left, but always starts with the right. I have noticed, though that she is using her left more and more in the last couple of weeks.

I don't know if that is reassuring or not. It was hard to tell from your post just how marked is the difference between left and right for your babe. With my dd, it is obvious to me because I'm Mama, but noone else would probably notice. I'm not worried. She just seems to be right handed!

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#3 of 10 Old 02-12-2008, 10:12 AM
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I would be slightly concerned but he is still just learning to reach and grab for toys to begin with. I'd watch it, mention it at his next check-up and keep it in the back of your mind as something to pursue if the problem doesn't get better by say 9mos.
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#4 of 10 Old 02-12-2008, 12:28 PM
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I have the same thing going on with my 2 month old except he grabs things with his left hand. I figure he's just left-handed That might change, though, because he's so little.
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#5 of 10 Old 02-12-2008, 12:36 PM
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Our daughter was born early and also favored one arm. She's 13 months now, and it's straightened itself out. There were a few weeks I was worried about it, but then she suddenly started using it normally.

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#6 of 10 Old 02-12-2008, 10:38 PM
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My foster daughter has this problem. She's 6mo now and the fact that she's unable to sit in tripod position (leaning forward on her arms) without falling to the left (her weak arm) is a significant concern. She sounds like she MIGHT be using it more than your dc at this point, but she also has a month on yours. Hers has been determined to be neurological in nature, but with Early Intervention therapy it is predicted that she'll be fine by 2yo. She was evaluated at 4mo and sounded alot like what you're describing.

You might want to call your birth-to-three or Early Intervention. The evaluation is free and they have to have more than just a "little" delay to qualify for services. If there is a problem, best to get a jump on it.

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#7 of 10 Old 02-12-2008, 11:38 PM
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DD2 showed early handedness and for her it turned out to be the result of an in-utero stroke. The scope of her sidedness became much more apparent in her trunk and lower extremities when she moved to sitting and creeping. At almost 2, she is in PT/OT as it has manifested in subtle gross motor delays.

So just saying that yes, it can be something. I would keep an eye on it as other milestones come up.

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#8 of 10 Old 02-13-2008, 12:00 AM
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My ds was EXTREMELY right had dominant he wouldn't do anything with his left at all for a long time. We worked with OT to correct it and just focused on having him play mid-line. After some work he eventually starting playing mid line, it took quite a while though.

We spent many hours bribing him with things specifically meant for his left hand. The ot would also hold his right hand and then hold out a toy/block so he was forced to grab the block with his left hand. It was really hard for him in the begining, we just did short intervals of holding his hand and would let go when he got upset.

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#9 of 10 Old 02-13-2008, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all the feedback. I have been trying to entice him into using his left hand more with mixed success. DH thinks I'm off my rocker, but then he also thought that when I first brought up the possibility of DS1 and DS2 as being autistic ... sometimes I really hate when my mamma instincts are correct and that's what bugs me a little more about this. I will watch what he does over the next month or so and call EI for an eval if he doesn't improve. DH is at least willing to work on trying to get him to use his left arm/hand more so we can both be doing that in the meantime.

Thanks again!!!

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#10 of 10 Old 02-13-2008, 07:08 PM
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I would always follow my gut feeling and the advice of a really good pediatrician. My daughter also preferred one side, her left, and I noticed nothing - actually had read there were preferred sides in infants. My then new pedi immediately saw that she had Erb's Palsy in her right arm. This is a common birth injury and was not recognized by 3 other pedis. But don't make yourself crazy with CP but every little illness can bring you back to CP.
Just to be on the safe side, I would schedule an appointment with a pediatric neurologist. He/she can tell if there really is a side preference and if yes, find the the cause and suggest therapy. And keep stimulating your baby from the other side. (In our not severe case this stimulation helped to heal the nerve spontanously)
Good luck!
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