Some babies have low tone and they have much more difficulty gaining head and neck control than others.
Babies with low tone aren’t as easily able to move their position when they’re uncomfortable and can also mean they find it difficult to sit well, or move their head to a better position whilst feeding.
How to identify low tone in babies
Most first time parents will tell me their baby has great neck control but in fact not all of them do. It is only from comparing their newborn with other peoples babies that they can gain an understanding of how strong or weak their baby really is.
The video above is a great resource for parents to compare how strong a baby with normal tone is compared with one with low tone. When I assess babies who come to me I look at a number of things, but pull to sit is a major part of that assessment.
I also work with them to see how well they can sit and how well they do tummy time and standing. This range of exercises gives a great snapshot of the muscle tone for the front back and sides of your baby.
What should you do if your baby has low tone?
If you think your baby has low tone it is worth starting to help them do exercises to improve their tone. This can happen from very early in life provided there are no medical conditions affecting your baby. There are a range of exercises including a less assisted sitting position, tummy time and preparation for crawling, and pull to sit which are really helpful for waking up your baby’s muscles.
Pull to sit exercises help them to increase strength through the front of their bodies – through the throat and abdomen. The other exercises work other parts of the body. Tummy time strengthens the muscles along the spine, standing helps their gluteal, hamstring and quadriceps muscles, and sitting helps them coordinate the front, back and sides of their bodies.
The advantage of starting these exercises early for babies with low tone is that they are very excited to work repetitively and you can get them using their muscles before they try to sit and crawl, and importanly before they start to need to sit at school (at which age they are not very interested in doing “boring” strength exercises).
If you’d like to know more about me check out my practitioner profile page – Rebecca Baxter
For more information on what else osteopaths can treat click HERE