June 06, 2024 - 4 min read
June 06, 2024
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4 Reasons to Reach Out to a Pediatric Physical Therapist

4 Reasons to Reach Out to a Pediatric Physical Therapist

Are you a new parent and unsure about how to assess and support your baby’s development and physical wellness? 

Do you feel overwhelmed about those monthly milestones and doubting if your baby is reaching them appropriately? 

If this sounds like you, I am here to provide you with some guidelines to determine if and when it makes sense to get some extra help for you and your baby. My name is Megan Powers and I am a licensed doctor of physical therapy and Founder of Provenance Wellness and Physical Therapy. 

Empowered and intentional parents are raising a generation of children for whom we are striving for a lifetime of wellness beginning at birth. Pediatric physical therapists (PT’s) are a wonderful, often underutilized resource to provide you with education and support to optimize wellness, not just treat problems. I’m going to tell you about 4 reasons to reach out to a pediatric physical therapist if your goal is to set your little one (and yourself) up for success!

1. Your baby is having tummy time trouble

We all hear about the benefits of tummy time for baby’s development. But what do you do when your baby is struggling or seems to “hate” tummy time? This is a great thing for a physical therapist to help you tackle. I strongly believe that very few babies actually *hate* tummy time. 

4 Reasons to Reach Out to a Pediatric Physical Therapist

We know that tummy time is a stable and organizing position for an infant’s nervous system. It has many benefits, including strengthening the respiratory system, working the muscles, improving head control, stimulating the balance system, promoting mobility, stimulating GI motility, optimizing feeding skills… The list goes on and on. A PT can help you find the underlying reasons why they are struggling to enjoy tummy time, so your baby can have as many chances throughout their day to reap these benefits!

2. Your baby is ‘colicky’

Colic is one thing that needs to be stricken from the parenting bingo card. Here is the worst part about colic: there’s no singular reason for it. Therefore, many of us in healthcare are seeking to reframe colic not as a diagnosis, but as a symptom. 

Crying is a signal that your baby is not in homeostasis. Something is off balance, and it can take some detective work to reveal the root of their discomfort. There are times where tension, restriction, or asymmetry in a baby’s body (usually due to positioning in the womb) can contribute to this discomfort in a significant way. Severe or prolonged asymmetry and restriction can cause issues with the internal systems, especially GI, respiratory, and nervous systems. These can all lead to dysregulation in a baby which can present as colic.

3. Your baby looks to one side most of the time

Tension/asymmetry is also the culprit here. The presence of a head rotation preference, or Torticollis (head rotation to one side, head tilt to the other) is a key sign your child needs therapy, and the sooner the better. These conditions can lead to head shape changes (flat spots) and movement delays. 

4 Reasons to Reach Out to a Pediatric Physical Therapist

Studies show that an adequate, tailored, and early treatment helps 90% to 95% of children recover before the first year of life, and 97% of patients recover if treatment starts before the first six months.” The shorter the course of treatment, the fewer/less severe the impacts. Do not wait to start therapy if you see signs of this!

4. Your baby is having trouble feeding or using a pacifier

Ever heard someone watch a young baby play and remark, “Everything in the mouth!” meaning the child is beginning to put everything they pick up (or even just their hands) into their mouth? That is because oral exploration is a key milestone in child development. A child learns about their environment through their mouth, and they also use their mouths for feeding, sucking/soothing, and communication. 

If your baby is struggling to feed well at the breast or on a bottle, or you’ve bought every pacifier in the Target baby aisle, refer yourself to a physical therapist trained in oral function (or a PT who works on a team of others to address the full body), to address the underlying difficulty that could be contributing to your baby’s oral function issues.

Physical therapy does not require a prescription! You can contact us directly.

Physical therapists are direct access providers. Direct access means that a client does not need a referral or prescription from their primary care doctor in order to seek physical therapist services for evaluation and treatment. Every state allows for evaluation and some form of treatment without physician referral, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. This means that you can follow your gut, and refer yourself for a PT eval to gain insight into your child’s development! This can help you feel more confident and empowered in supporting your child.

Physical therapists are here to help you, whether it is for treatment or wellness and prevention! 

Educating the public about wellness, health, and movement is one of our favorite ways to provide service and care. To learn more about the 4 reasons to reach out to a pediatric physical therapist, you can reach out to me directly! I offer free consultation calls to discover how we can work together to uncover your child’s highest potential. Let’s begin together!

provwellpt.com
FB and IG: @provenancewellnesspt

For more articles supporting you and your babies wellness, read, “The Mama Coach: Personalized Support Through Each Stage of Parenthood”.

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Megan Powers

Dr. Megan Powers is a licensed doctor of physical therapy with 15 years’ experience working in many settings with many populations. But after having her own kids and experiencing the myriad difficulties associated with trying to exclusively breastfeed, she became very interested in examining the role of the physical therapist in helping people in their parenting roles. She became a student of breastfeeding, and has come to understand the connections between the restrictions which cause tongue ties and their impact on the rest of the body, as well as the role of PT in helping caregivers in the fourth trimester, including orthopedic and pelvic floor management. In order to help others in the same way her village stepped in for her, she studied to become a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist and opened her own mobile physical therapy practice: Provenance Wellness and Physical Therapy.

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