Changes To Make For Babies With Torticollis
Easy things to start with to get your baby moving
Empowering Home Treatment Options
- Support turning to the other side
- Modify where you are during the day
- Adapt holding positions
- Limit static positions
- Movement should be consensual
Support turning to the other side
The number one way to get a baby to turn to the other side is with something of interest. In most research a toy is used to gather interest and keep it while supporting turning to the opposite side. When we make the turning their idea a baby is much more likely to stay in position as well. For some babies utilizing their visual gaze and turning slowly in a circle can cause them to look the opposite direction of the turn. Utilizing their reflexes and making it their idea improves their ability to move in a way that relaxes their tension and allows better movement.
Modify where you are during the day
Changing your location over a 24 hour period can help. A big change can occur by turning your baby 180 degrees during a diaper change. This can support their turning toward their interest (usually a parent). Another big change is moving the bassinet to the other side of the bed. Many babies will turn toward their parent especially if they are breastfeeding. Think about if you are the most important thing to your baby making them work to look toward you can go a long way.
Adapt holding positions
Creative holding positions can go a long way. This can be chest to chest, back to chest, in various carriers, or shifting them to the other shoulder. This disrupts the environment that contributes to Torticollis. The benefit is cumulative and you are looking to find a position that supports turning the opposite direction. Most importantly it should be a position of minimal discomfort and not cause your child distress. Distress will cause them to activate the tight muscles and continue the tightness.
Limit static positions
Static positions contribute to tightness. When a baby with tightness does not have a reason to move they tend to stay tight in one spot. Supporting different positions both supported and unsupported help a baby relax. Babies who are able to relax will move their head, arms, and legs more. This not only supports reduction of their neck tightness and torticollis but also supports their overall development.
Movement should be consensual
Research on torticollis historically suggested it was self limiting. This means that it will go away in time. However more recent studies that utilize supported movements instead of forced movements show a more rapid resolution of the tightness.
Interventions should not go through tears