My first taste of having a non typical baby was being invited to attend a baby massage course at our local hospital. Dixie was just 3 months old and was poles apart to any other 3 month old I’d met. I was so nervous to go. I didn’t want to explain why Dixie wouldn’t look directly at me, or in fact why she didn’t interact with me at all. But I knew this would benefit her, and with the carrot-dangling information that a different professional would be there at each of the four sessions, off we went.
It was fine. More than fine actually. As it turned out the other parents had all experienced difficult times. Tricky labours resulting in poorly babies, chromosomal disorders and other conditions. Nobody commented on Dixie and her obvious (to me) differences. Everybody was there to get the best out of the massage and the expertise of the professionals present. Not even a double take of Dixie’s crazy hair! Seriously!!
The course was run each week by a developmental play therapist (never heard of one of them before either). She was really great, made us feel at ease and had a wealth of knowledge. She has since become an incredibly important part of our journey.
I felt I was slowly starting to find ‘my’ people. One fabulous mummy in particular I felt I could chat to easily & honestly. It was quite liberating considering at this point I was keeping Dixie’s diagnosis quiet like a dirty secret.
Week three had a Speech & Language therapist present. Their role with babies is to monitor feeding. Dixie had always been a difficult feeder. From being unable to breast feed due to her small mouth and high palate, to only taking tiny amounts of milk from a special latex teat. Feeding sessions were very long and drawn out. It was only once I finally introduced milk thickeners a week or so previous for suspected reflux that things had improved. But there was still something not right. And this therapist agreed and arranged to see us the following week. Finally I felt like help was on its way!
As for the massage part – of course Dixie screamed through every session! She would lure me in with a false sense of security with her calm nature. The onsie would come off. Still calm. The oil would be rubbed over my hands. Yup still calm. Then I would smear the oil on her and waaaahhhhh waaaahhhh!! Cue oily cuddle 😆.
Nevertheless, we left that little four week course with a few positives. An appointment with the Speech therapist, a date for our first community paediatrician (the team that would be taking over Dixie’s care), a lovely new friend and a new found confidence that things were moving along!
My little moo cow – 3 months old.