Have you noticed when you pick your baby up they feel limp in your arms? Does your baby seem limp and weak? If so, the problem may be hypotonia. This is simply a medical term for low muscle tone. You may also have heard it referred to as floppy infant syndrome. If your baby has hypotonia, there are steps you can take to help.
Hypotonia can be caused by a number of conditions, including birth injuries, illnesses, infections, and genetic disorders. Click the link to read more about the causes of infant weakness.
Keep reading to learn more about the doctors and therapists who can help your child get the treatment they need and infant massage techniques you may be able to do at home.
Visit Your Pediatrician
In some cases, hypotonia is diagnosed shortly after birth. However, it is possible a condition that causes muscle weakness can be missed at birth. If the cause of your baby’s muscle weakness hasn’t been diagnosed, make an appointment with the pediatrician so your baby can be evaluated.
Your baby’s pediatrician will examine your infant, and they may order further testing to confirm or rule out any potential diagnoses. Some of the tests the doctor may order include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
- Computerized tomography (CT scan)
These tests are used to measure your child’s brain activity. This can give your doctor valuable insight into your baby’s condition.
Visit a Physical Therapist
There are therapists who are specially trained to help your baby become stronger. They work with infants to help them reach developmental milestones like sitting upright and crawling. They will also advise you on how you can help your baby develop.
It’s important to work with your therapist any way you can because while most muscle weakness will improve over time, in some cases, the weakness can last a lifetime. These are two kinds of therapists you and your baby may work with.
Physical therapists can help activate your baby’s muscles and increase their joint support. They can also address any issues that are caused by your baby’s weak muscles, such as difficulty with feeding.
Occupational therapy can help your baby improve their fine motor skills. For an infant, this could include grasping toys, being able to put their hands together, and having the ability to hold their own bottle.
Early intervention by therapists can improve your child’s chances of going on to develop normally. In cases where the muscle weakness can’t be overcome entirely, therapy can still improve their ability to function and decrease the severity of some symptoms.
Try Infant Massage
Ask your doctor if infant massage is a good choice for your baby. If your pediatrician gives the green-light, you may want to take your child to a massage therapist who can teach you techniques that will help your baby’s muscles. There are also many great infant massage resources online.
The benefits of infant massage are numerous. Massage can help your baby relax and improve your baby’s sleep. It can also help them cry less. Perhaps the biggest benefit of infant massage is it’ll give you a chance to interact with your baby, have fun, and show them how much you love them.
Become Your Baby’s Advocate
You are your baby’s best advocate because no one loves your child more than you do or knows them better. You know what your baby can achieve and have dreams for what they may achieve in the future. If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for from doctors or therapists, keep pushing until you do. You may also need to learn how to fight your insurance company if they won’t cover treatments your baby needs.
When it comes down to it, only you can make sure your baby gets the early interventions they need. At the end of the day, you’ll know you did everything you could for your baby so they can lead a happy, fulfilling life.