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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I sure don't believe this, but I just want some insight into this. My dd, 5.5 mos., has developmental delays and a weak head, neck, & trunk. Nothing terribly serious but she is soon starting physical therapy 1-2 times per week. The therapist (and many others, including a lactation consultant) has evaluated my dd and has come to the conclusion that I wear her and nurse her too often; resulting in poor neck muscles.

WHAT!! Is there any truth to this?? The reasons the doctor think it's environmental is because she's had a brain MRI and that came back normal, and so it isn't neurological.

I should mention that my dd was 6.5 weeks early and weighed 3 lbs. 10 oz. at birth, and stayed in the NICU for one month. When she came home from the hospital she didn't even weigh 5 lbs. I swaddled her and stuck her in my Ergo front carry pack and went about my daily business. When she grew too big to do that, I fell in love with my ring slings because I could keep her at my breast for a long time. Now she's 9+ pounds and not nursing so frequently, every 90 minutes or so, and I'm loving my Moby Wrap.

Any thoughts on why she's so delayed? The preemie thing, sure, but these are therapists who work with preemies, and she's still not within the normal range.
 

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my daughter has low muscle tone also. I'm very confused at their assessment. Hypotonia does not always have an identifiable cause, I think they might be blaming you for it because they aren't used to seeing babywearing.

Has she had any physical therapy? there are exercises you can do to help her gain strength. It's great that her brain MRI came back normal!!! that is a really good sign that nothing else will be "wrong" with her. But not everything can be seen on an MRI, either. It could still be neurological-- or it might not be, really, the treatment is the same no matter the cause- physical therapy.

Try to give her time on her belly (if she doesn't hate it too much) and you can also put her on a towel or blanket on a soft surface and sort of lift it up to help her roll around. I am pretty horrified at what they're saying to you, unless you are nursing/wearing literally 24/7 I can't see that being the cause.
 

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Well first of all I completely disagree that her hypotonia is from babywearing and/or nursing. In fact it is likely the opposite! What do you think would cause her to have less muscle tone? Laying in a flat position in a baby car seat carrier with a bottle popped in her mouth, or her feeling and moving with you in a sling, turning her head from side to side to nurse and getting continuous proprioceptive input from being carried in a sling? The slinging is much better for her neurological develeopment as well as her cranial molding. (shaping of her head and cranial bones)

Have you considered taking her to a chiropractor? Preemies often have hypotonia (as you know) and they often have quite a bit of "trauma" during birth and the first few weeks of handling since they do not have the muscle control for so much longer. That would be my suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We have taken her to a chiropractor, and she suggested my dd to see a cranialsacral therapist, whom we have seen many times. I probably would not be so confident if we weren't seeing this person.

Thanks for your replies, it helps to hear from other babywearers!
 

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I have a baby girl who was born a month early - she still nurses every hour and a half, longer only if we're out and about, and she's in a Moby, mei tei, or ring sling for hours daily. Her muscle tone is fine and she is developmentally on track with full term babies. It sounds bizarre to me to suggest that frequent nursing and wearing has to do with developmental issues.

Babies are biologically designed to nurse often and to be worn. For tens of thousands of years, the human race were hunter-gatherers and babies were worn in slings and nursed on demand. Hunting-gathering communities that still exist continue to do so. For example, the Kung San in Africa nurse their babies on average every 13 minutes and the babies are worn in slings all day. Kung San babies actually develop walking abilities on average much FASTER than Western babies. This is what I remember from a great book called Our Babies, Ourselves, by Meredith Small, which is about parenting techniques in a variety of cultures.

How could doing what babies are born to do be hurting your child? It sounds like you are doing GREAT with your baby, and she is just developing at her own pace. Please don't let a physical therapist give you weaning advice! All the best to you and your little one!
 

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Sure, it's a possibility. Ya know the adage that says something about "everything in moderation"? Well, I feel certain that goes for babywearin as with everything else. If the kiddo doesn't get enough time to explore their own abilities and limitations, then they'll be delayed compared to peers who DO get to. Ya know?

I wore my daughter whenever we were out and about until she was over 6 months old, but when we were home she had plenty of time on her own. We played together during tummy time and she had alone tummy time sometimes. She also played on her back alone and with me... I left toys around her when on her back from the time she was VERY young and she was rolling over by the time she was 2 months old.

The whole parenting thing is all about balance, it seems to me. None of this means that I think you have done anything to harm your child. If any of her delays are a result of sling time, she'll rebound quickly with more time on her own. If it's something else, you'll probably know it QUITE soon.


I hope everything turns out very well for you guys!!! good luck!!!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tori Gollihugh
Sure, it's a possibility. Ya know the adage that says something about "everything in moderation"? Well, I feel certain that goes for babywearin as with everything else. If the kiddo doesn't get enough time to explore their own abilities and limitations, then they'll be delayed compared to peers who DO get to. Ya know?
Exactly! If they said that to you did they first ask how many hours you carry her? If they did and you said, "all day," well maybe they're right. But as a babywearer, I am very dubious about their assessment. You're not carrying her on a cradleboard all swaddled up, she's in a sling, moving with you and getting lots of exercise of her muscles. I suspect they weren't used to babywearing when they said that.

I hope all goes well.
 

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I am a big believer in moderation, however, I think it is rather hard to go overboard wearing such a young baby. If the baby were a bit older and made it known that s/he wants down, well that is totally different. Wearing a 5.5 month old alot seems totally normal and fine to me.
As for being worn slowing down development, I think they are making theories, perhaps without even having experience to base them on. Ask them how many babies they have worked with that have been worn and what they are basing thier assesment on.

I would also refer them the 1990 study on "The effects of touch on preterm and fullterm neonates and young children." by Adamson-Macedo EN, J Reprod Infant Psychol 8:267-273.
And from the book 'Babywearing' by Maria Blois MD

Quote:
Babies who are held experience human touch and movement. This stimulation has been shown to have a positive effect on the baby's development.
She sites the above study.
She goes on to add:

Quote:
Carrying baby enhances motor skills by stimulating the the vestibular system(used for balance). Baby constantly readjusts as mother moves around, using his developing muscles to hold his head up, kick his feet and use his arms to cling to mother.
 

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OK, I just reread the OP. This babe is only nine pounds! Of course her little neck is not so strong yet. I think she needs to be nursed as often as possible and of course she should still be worn a lot. I would think putting her upright in the Moby - the hug hold - is totally going to help her neck strength.
 

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first of all..if your kid is 5.5 months, but was 6.5 weeks early, the adjusted age is only 4 months old. A four month old isn't expected to have a whole lot of muscle tone, for heavens sake!

As long as you are giving her 15 minutes per day of tummy time (not necesarily all at once..3, 5 minute sessions is fine) and 15 minutes of being held upright in a "sitting" position, but letting her use her own muscles as much as possible, i can not see any of the problems being "enviroinmental". She was fairly premature, tiny for her age....was there birth trauma?
I would HIGHLY suggest a chiro adjustment...right around that age, my dd, who had little birth trauma, and GREAT muscle tone (sitting up on her own, without support at 4.5 months.) developed a bad subluxation right around 5 months, and started curving to one side..a trip to the chro fixed it, and it hasn't returned.
 

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As far as carrying her too much = low muscle tone.. I don't believe it for a second... There are cultures around the world where a baby never touches the ground for the first 5 months!!! And they hit their milestones just fine. Many times developmental delays have no identifiable cause.. people like to get answers and will sometimes just reach for one that seems plausable to them.. I am the mother of a child with signifigant neuro issues.. I think that wearing him helped.. not hindered him..
Just my unscientific 2 1/2 cents
I think you are doing a great job and that your DD is very lucky to have a mom so in tune with her and so willing to go the extra mile to help her out..
 

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That doesn't even make sense. I can't believe an LC would even SUGGEST that your premature baby is nursing too much. IMO, nursing would help with muscle tone.

What do they suggest as an alternative to wearing her? Letting her lay on the floor? Holding her?

Doing the math, she's really only 4mos old. It's not THAT uncommon for a 4mo old to have poor neck control.

I think you should go with your gut on this one. If you think the delay is caused by something other than babywearing then keep on doing what you are doing. I'd probably go ahead with the PT, but I'd keep babywearing.
 

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I'm not an expert on babywearing or development, but everything I have read seems to point to babywearing, constant contact and nursing on demand as being very good for a baby. And I think I read a recent article that premies do especially well with constant contact, etc. I think a second opinion is in order. Good luck.
 

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you know, I'm no expertise here either, but my son is worn for all except about 30-40 minutes a day (unless we're in the car, that's extra time, but he's strapped down.) and he is 4.5 months and at 6 month physical development (almost sitting by himself, does push ups, can sit in crawl position and hold), and my nephew who is 5 months (2 weeks older) and is never worn, is on the floor playing all day at grandmas and he doesn't support ANY weight on his own--ANY, and the kid's head falls constantly to the side. It sounds to me that they're grasping at straws here. continue with physical therapy and chiropractic and cranial. You're doing the right stuff!

sarah
 

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That is crazy. Where the heck do you live? What heath care professional could say with a straight face "too much nursing and baby wearing".

Seriously, that's the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. So how, praytell, is your five month supposed to get around? Walk?? What is the difference between babywearing and carrying your baby? If nothing else the babywearing is better for your child during quiet alert phases, AND its better for your body.

Sheesh! Im sorry they said that!

the cranosacral stuff, physical therapy and massage are all great things! Keep up the good work and don't let dumb advice get you down!
 

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That's
: I also completely disagree that her hypotonia is from babywearing and/or nursing. My DD was carried 95% of the time from birth on. She is just very clingy and doesn't like being put down even in her sleep. Yet she started sitting up unassisted by 6 months, full-on hands/knees crawling by 7 as well as cruising furniture and now at 9 months is standing, squatting unassisted. No developmental delays here from being held and nursed all the time.
 

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I can't imagine how they could come up with that for such a small baby that was so pre-term. It seems medical folks always feel the need to come up with some concrete reason, and perhaps it was just easier for them to blame it all on you!
Yikes!
Good for you for spending so much time loving your preemie baby.

I like what another poster said about everything in moderation but seriously I doubt that is the problem here at all.
what a bizarre thing for them to say. Did they suggest any special excercises or anything or just claim that stopping babywearing would immediately remedy the issue?
That must have been frustrating to deal with such a statement.

Erica
 
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