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Parenting a Child with Torticollis: Practical Advice and Emotional Support

Torticollis is a condition that causes a baby to favor one side of the body. It is typically caused by their positioning in the womb. In some instances, it may be due to trauma or infection.

It’s normal for parents not to want there to be anything wrong with their babies. However, torticollis is treatable. The exercises in this article will help your baby achieve a healthy posture.

Torticollis Symptoms

Torticollis symptoms may not appear until a baby is 6-8 weeks old. At this point, you may notice:

  • Your baby’s head tilting or rotating to one side
  • Limited range of motion in the neck
  • Flattening on one side of the head or face
  • Babies prefer one side when breastfeeding
  • Hip dysplasia and other musculoskeletal issues
  • A soft, small lump in the baby’s neck
  • Plagiocephaly or a flattening behind the ear on the side the baby is favoring

Torticollis 2

Exercises to Treat Torticollis

  1.   Follow My Finger Exercise: Lie your baby on their back or belly. Hold out your finger and move it around encouraging your baby to follow it with their eyes. Move your finger far enough to force your baby to turn its head to follow it. This exercise will encourage side-to-side movement that promotes flexibility.
  2.   Change up your baby’s environment. A baby may continue to favor one side because their favorite toy is on a specific side, or they may see mommy and daddy enter from that side. If you switch up your baby’s environment, you will encourage them to move their head in different directions and overcome torticollis.
  3.   Limit Time in Containers: Containers refer to anything that holds your baby, including bouncers, strollers, car seats, and walkers. They encourage torticollis by limiting free movement. Parents can help their children by limiting their time in containers to 30 minutes per day at 15-minute intervals. Avoid moving your baby from one container to another. Give them some time to move around freely.
  4.   Encourage Tummy Time: Tummy time is great for babies because it helps them develop their neck and shoulder muscles. Your baby may do best with elevated tummy time on a pillow or a caregiver’s lap or chest. The reduction in gravity will make it easier for the baby to lift its head. As a baby gets older, you can move them to floor tummy time.

Can Physical Therapy Help?

At-home exercises can treat torticollis and encourage your baby to develop a healthy posture. But physical therapy is also recommended. 

A professional can recommend the best exercises for your baby’s condition. They can ensure you are doing them correctly.

Kidology provides physical therapy for children. We recommend exercises to ensure your child moves their body correctly. We can help them heal from injuries and increase their strength, balance, and coordination.

Kidology also provides speech therapy, special instruction, occupational therapy, behavior services, and parent-child groups. Our Playspace offers therapeutic play for your child. Contact us to learn how we can help your child reach their developmental milestones.

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