20 answers

10 Mo Old Sensitive to Touch with Her Hands

I have noticed that my daughter "flinches" or pulls away every time I touch her hands. I am a bit concerned. She will use her hands to touch my face, or reach out to me, but if anyone initiates the touch towards her hands then she gets irritated. She won't even let me grab her hands. Has anyone ever seen this type of behavior? I am working along with a physical therapist to help her roll over, crawl, etc. and some of the exercises require us holding her hands. It makes it even more difficult. Is it a preemie thing? Sensitivity? Sensory problem?

Thanks!

B.

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So What Happened?™

Hey everybody! Thanks so much for the "detailed" and excellent advice. I think it's a combo of vision, prematurity, and just the way my daughter is. She has new baby glasses but they won't stay on while trying to do PT. (so FRUSTRATING on top of everything else :-) I think I need an OT for sure. I'm trying not to stress about it. In the past few days I have been encouraging Brayden to put her hands in her baby food, but she won't even do that. It's gonna take a lot of time.. I can tell. Thanks again.

Featured Answers

Hi B.. It sounds like it could be more of a sensory integration issue. I would have her evaluated by a good occupational therapist. Both of my sons had similar issues and working with an occupational therapist really helped. You may also want her evaluated by Child Find where they can do an overall analysis.
J. F.

My 16 month old daughter does the same kind of thing. She also has a couple other wierd behaviors like not liking to be upside down and hating kisses. She just started occupational therapy for sensory issues. Although not a problem for my daughter, weak muscle tone is common in children with sensory issues. There are wonderful and informative web sites about sensory processing disorder. Hope this helps. Good luck!

More Answers

Well I dont really have much advice to you on the touching hands issue, actually is was the part about you that caught my attention. It appears to me you have an amazing love for your daughter and go through some tough times to get to spend the time with her that you want.
Well I was in the same position and was working swing shifts in a factory up until I was about six months pregnant. It was very important to me to be able to raise my baby as well. I don't know if you have ever heard of the Pampered Chef or not but most people know them by their great products. Anywhoo I started my own business with them as a Consultant and now have built it up enough to quit my full time job and be able to spend so much more time with my son at home. I dont know what your situation is exactly but I would be happy to share any information with you about it our answer any questions you have. I dont know if this will get you my email or not but if you are interested it is ____@____.com all goes well with your daughter and God bless!

1 mom found this helpful

You might want to mention this to your doctor and keep an eye out for her development.

B.,

It could be a sensory processing issue. Since you are working with a PT, you could ask for a referral to an OT who deals with sensory issues. My son is sensory defensive and has sensory processing disorder (he also has autism) and he was sensory defensive of his hands and face. It took a little effort but he'll happily hold hands now. He's gotten much better about the facial defensiveness but sometimes he'll still freak out when we brush his teeth or he gets his hair cut. But he's 99% better than he was 2 years ago (he's 4 now). If she does have some sensory issues going, there is a huge amount that you can do to help her. There is a book called "The Out of Sync Child" and you can get it at amazon.com or just about anywhere. It is a good resource but I don't know how concerned you'd really need to be with a 10 month old. Your PT may be able to help you decide if she needs an evaluation.

T.

This sounds like something called "tactile defensiveness" and it can be part of some signs and symptoms of sensory issues. This is a very common sign or symptom of sensory issues. I am a PT and a mom of a 31 weeker and we have been dealing with this. Are you receiving PT via Early Intervention? If you are, I would contact your DDD representative or case manager and he or she can arrange for an Occupational Therapy evaluation. There are surveys and "tests" that they can do to evaluate this. Don't be discouraged if you will be dealing with this. It can be managed successfully. Does she like bear hugs? Prior to touching her hands, try applying deep pressure to her via bear hugs. Sometimes deep pressure helps individuals with this in organizing themselves and allows them to interpret this sensation appropriately. In tactile defensiveness, or any other sensory issues, the child receives the sensory input and misinterprets it. Sometimes children respond to light touch as painful or aggressive, instead of how it should be. I would also talk to your PT and ask about possible joint compressions through the upper extremities (arms) prior to work requiring her hands. That pressure may help "organize" her as the deep pressure (bear hugs) may.

Hi B.,
It sounds like your wonderful Brayden has some sensory preferences. I think they can be common in premature babies. There are some activities that you can do with her to encourage touch. Offer her lots of variety such as clean plastic butter tubs (fill with some beans for noise), different fabric textures, warm soapy water in a bowl, fingerpaint with baby food (yep, it works). The best video I have seen to offer ideas is Goof Juice-MY SKY.
Find it on-line. It sells in several different web stores. If you make the activity look really fun and different, she will eventually be drawn to it. If you like my ideas, write me back.
S. P.
Mother of 5
Early Ed. Teacher/writer

B.,
It is not uncommon for preemies to be sensitive to touch. Ask your physical therapist about deep pressure and what kinds of things you can do to work her out of this stage.

M. from Colorado Springs

I agree with Marla M. I would definetly get her an appointment to get her eyes checked.

Could be a number of things. Did you breast feed? Notice anything then? You might try letting Brayden "see" that you are about to touch her before you do so. . .try this slowly at first and then graduate toward normal touching. It may not be a sign of sensory issues such as occur with autism spectrum disorders or asperger's syndrome.
It could be a stage of "independence" that she is going through. . . the "I want to do it myself first!" stage. . ??
Have you consulted with the physical therapist on this behavior? You know her best. Consider it within her behavior range as a whole.

Hi B.! This is the first time I have even been on this site - not to mention the first time I have ever responded to a chat room thingy :) But your email rang so true to me. I have a son who is now 4 years old. He was born 3 months premature (28 weeks). He currently has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). He also did not like his hands/feet to be touched. They warned me of this when we were working with our Developmental Therapist from Pres/St. Luke's, so I fervently worked with his hands/feet. I would massage them (deep touch not light touch) or just tightly hold them in between my hands. It completely broke my heart! So, there may be some sensory things going on with your little one, but I know it is definitely a preemie thing!

If you even want to talk more, please let me know.

C.

It can be many things....with my youngest it happened to be a vision problem... you are more than welcome to e-mail me with questions but I had to start at her elbows and slowly make my way down to her hands, may take awhile but worth a try! Children with vision/sensory problems are like adults which I learned after having my girls...you might test this or really think about it...when someone grabs your hands..what is your first instinct???? Pull away but when some one gently touches the back of your elbow to push it forward there is usually less resistance....then just work your way up!!! Good luck and let us know what happens!

Sensory problems are very common with premature babies. I would suggest trying Occupational Therapy. My best friend just went thorugh this with her three year old so consider it a blessing that you are seeing it so soon. It's amazing what a little time in OT can do to help.

Julie

B. B, it could be a sensory condition. You are working with a physical therapist...is this because Brayden was a premie? I know they have specific therapists that cover sensory issues with children. If you want, you can definitely find sensory information online..that is probably where I would start. It sounds like it could also be that she just doesn't like to be directed, or restrained by you grabbing and moving her hands. My son did not like us grabbing and moving his hands, but he did not flinch like it hurt. He did grow out of that too though. If you feel like its a real issue, I would definitely talk to your pediatrician. He/She might have a lot more information for you.

My 16 month old daughter does the same kind of thing. She also has a couple other wierd behaviors like not liking to be upside down and hating kisses. She just started occupational therapy for sensory issues. Although not a problem for my daughter, weak muscle tone is common in children with sensory issues. There are wonderful and informative web sites about sensory processing disorder. Hope this helps. Good luck!

From what I know, it happens with a lot of preemie's...My son was 3 months preemie and had it a little bit. We worked with him by playing with toys with different textures. I know of a few great toys that help with sensory intergration sold by Discovery Educational Toys. If you are interested in some of the products, call me at ###-###-####. I became a consulatant when my son was having a lot of other issues such as speech and fine motor skills. The toys are great.

My son was not premature, and is perfectly healty, happy,etc... He doesn't love his hands being touched, but grew out of it. It really just depends on who is touching them, when, and why. When I am breastfeeding him, he lets me rub and touch them, but when he is playing, he wants his independence.

B., I am no expert. However, her nerves may be developing unevenly, due to her prematurity. Keep up the good work. Perhaps you could try gently stroking her from the shoulders down to see at what point she flinches or pulls away. keep doing that until she no longer flinches, stroking closer to the trigger point each time. Babies are remarkable. If your physican is not worried, trust that she will be able to respond to your tender, loving touch. It will calm her nerves and yours, believe me.
You have a full plate. Try to see the positive things and realize nothing is perfect.
Be blessed,
C.

I'm happy to read you are already working with a therapist. Involve your doctor, if you haven't already. Sensory sensitivity is common amoung children with other developmental issues. Keep working with her every day. Some books that may help are: "Meghan's World: The Story of One Girl's Triumph over Sensory Processing Disorder," "Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Integration Issues" by Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske, "The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder," by Carol Stock Kranowitz and Lucy Jane Miller.
In my opinion, it is better to be educated about the possibilities. Relax. I realize this is difficult, but she'll pick-up on your emotions and feel more at ease when you do. You can do it.

Hold her wrists, gently, wile having her sit on your lap facing you, and teach her patty cake. What she is experiencing with her hands is typical. Let her hld your hand while giving her the bottle.

B.,

My 13 month old daughter did exactly the same thing and even around strangers now still does it. I was concerned and had her tested for everything under the sun and when it was said and done my doctor said exactly the same thing. Some babies just do not like to be touch especially by strangers. It makes me feel even worse now that I dragged my daughter to all the specialists for nothing. I mean it is good to have it checked out but do not go overboard. Since my daughter has been practing to walk the last couple months this is when she started to let me hold her hands and I have noticed that she is opening up more to me holding her hands. However with strangers she will won't hold there hand and her doctor says it is completely normal. The only advise that the doctor gave me was to massage her arms down to her hands with lotion she should be relaxed enough by the time you make it to her hands that she will open up and let you touch them.

Hi B.. It sounds like it could be more of a sensory integration issue. I would have her evaluated by a good occupational therapist. Both of my sons had similar issues and working with an occupational therapist really helped. You may also want her evaluated by Child Find where they can do an overall analysis.
J. F.

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