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Floppy Syndrome

Your child may have floppy baby syndrome if, at 6 months, she is unable to sit in an upright position even with support. There are many reasons why a baby may be unusually floppy with dire consequences to deal with, but in most instances there is no serious underlying cause. The infant is just slow to mature.

Key Issues

• The list of causes for floppiness is huge and can be caused by any one of the numerous rare diseases; it can only be determined through a series of tests. Probable causes can be narrowed down to genes, muscular diseases and incorrect development to that part of the brain which is responsible for maintaining muscle tone.

• A baby with such a condition may be slower to develop than a normal baby and may require support for longer periods as the head control is slower to mature.

• In pronounced cases, baby will be behind in terms of development and this is largely due to weak muscles and not mental impairment. He will acquire key milestones at a later age or stage than his counterparts.

• Medically no reason seems to point out the cause for the floppiness although there may be a family pattern of later than normal development in areas such as sitting, crawling and walking. Premature infants are more predisposed to floppiness than term babies but their muscle tone improves with maturity.

• Floppiness doesn't worsen with time although the condition is usually present from the time baby is born. With time baby starts to improve and gradually grows out of the limpness, and only slight muscle weakness is left.

Things to look out for

• Notable signs include weak suckling, drooling, poor swallowing, flicking eye movements and low muscle tone. Usually they are dismissed as many newborns have one or more of these problems but the significance of all not being normal becomes clearer when these symptoms are viewed collectively.

• When resting your baby may lie with arms and legs splayed out flat and generally make fewer movements in comparison to a normal baby.

• At six months baby is still not able to sit upright even with the aid of pillows and cushions; his head tends to loll and he may roll to one side. He is not able to take his weight on his feet.

• When you hold baby upright under the arms, he has this tendency to slip through your grasp.

Things you can do

• Because mildly floppy babies have not had much opportunity to move about and strengthen their muscles, you can provide the infant plenty of opportunities to move around and kick about with his arms and legs. Give him tummy time by leaving him on the floor on his tummy or back to help tone up his muscles.

• In more severe cases you can learn how to perform exercises by attending physiotherapy sessions and incorporate them into your daily regime and do them with your baby. Through this your baby's muscle coordination will improve.

• Lastly be patient and remember if tests show no underlying cause your baby will go on to develop normal muscle tone in time.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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