The decision to write this post was actually a rather difficult one for me, mainly because I feel like I failed Berlin as a parent in some shape or form. As most of you that follow the blog know, Berlin has been a bit slower than most at developing her gross motor skills. It wasn’t until eleven months that she learned to be mobile, and even then she learned how to scoot rather than the traditional crawl. Leading up to the eleven months she mostly just sat (and sat and sat…). She learned how to roll over at four months of age, but didn’t really practice it all that much, and she didn’t particularly enjoy tummy time all that much either. So pretty much she just sat.
Around eleven months suddenly her sit turned into a scoot. I assumed at the time this scoot was the precursor to her crawling, but then here we are three months later and she has yet to master the crawl. She attempts it at times, mostly while in a safe, padded environment (such as the bed) but its only for a few short steps, then she returns to her scoot.
Initially I wasn’t concerned by her lack of crawling, after all each baby finds their own unique way of moving and develops at their own pace (or so I’m told). Unquestionably it wasn’t until her one year checkup, when my pediatrician (who is extremely laid back about developmental milestones) suggested we see a physical therapist. It was then that I became a bit uneasy (to say the least).
As a mother, I want only the best for my child (who doesn’t?). I want her to be healthy and to develop to her full potential. So naturally, when given this news, I couldn’t help but feel that I had done something wrong, somehow failed Berlin.
I went through a mental checklist in my head, considering all the things I had done “right” for my daughter; I exclusively breastfed her for the first year of her life (I still am in fact), I fed her all organic, homemade foods, I practiced tummy time and did lots of floor time with her…But then I looked back in fear and considered all the time she spent in her car seat or stroller, then there were the hours in the motorized swing…I couldn’t help but feel somewhat responsible for her slower motor development.
So upon the advice of my pediatrician, I immediately called the physical therapist and set up Berlin’s first appointment.
The first appointment was of course the scariest, not knowing what to expect, and fear they were going to tell me something was physically wrong with Berlin. But took only moments into the session to realize it was going to be okay. I was instantly put at ease by the therapist. She was warm and gentle with Berlin, and in no way appeared alarmed by Berlin’s lack of efforts to crawl or pull herself up. She worked with her to understand her strengths and sent me home with a list of exercises and activities to work on with Berlin.
The second visit was much the same, but this visit I was actually given reassurance that she felt nothing was physically wrong with Berlin. She was merely lacking in strength and needed to develop her hips through daily exercises, but as far as she could tell there was nothing of concern. This was extremely reassuring and gave both Ryan and I the confidence we needed as well as the tools to progress Berlin to the next steps; pulling her self up and cruising.
In just a few short weeks Berlin has already begun pulling herself up, climbing stairs and standing for longer periods of time.
For those of you experiencing the same issues, these are the exercises provided by our therapist. The first were warm up exercises from our first visit.
Providing Pressure: applying deep pressure to feet, calves and heels. Applying pressure to hips while seated
Encourage reaching: while Berlin is seated on a chair or my lap encourage her to reach forward for toys
Encourage Standing: either encouraging Berlin to pull up and stand herself or placing her in standing position to allow her to get used to the sensation on her feet
Exercises from our last visit:
Weight shifting: either on knees or standing position, encouraging Berlin to shift her weight from side to side by reaching for objects slightly out of her reach
Rocking: on a ball, pillow or on my lap allowing Berlin to rock side to side strengthening her hips
Push toy: providing a push toy or having her push around a couch cushion while on her knees
I honestly was a bit hesitant to see a physical therapist in the beginning, but I do believe she helped accelerate Berlin’s development. Yes, I feel like Berlin would have reached these milestones on her own with due time, but it most likely would have taken much longer. So I’m very happy that we were able to receive this treatment and ultimately give me the relief I needed to stop stressing over her development.
I will provide a recap as her visits go on. Wish us luck, hopefully Berlin will be up and running around in no time!