17 answers

Weak Muscles in 7 Month Old

i was just wondering if any of you have been through this. my youngest son is now 7 months old and is still not sitting up. he is still very 'wobbly' like an infant. he very recently began to hold his head up on his own but it still bobbs around alot. he also still has a little flatness on the back of his head from when he was very young. recently when i was giving him a bath i noticed that he has strong body odor underneath his arms. you cant smell it unless you really stick your nose under there, but its quite a strong odor. anyway, at his most recent checkup, i happend to mention all this to his doctor and she wants him to see a pediatric neurologist because of his weak muscles and the odor. has any one else experienced this? why a neurologist? Levi was perfectly healthy at birth, and i had a normal pregnancy. he was 9lb 5oz born at 37 weeks! they told me he would have been 12lbs if gone full term! any thoughts or advise would be appreciated..

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Hi E.,
Try not to worry too much. This could be a VERY easy problem for a chiropractor to fix. The neck could certainly be torticollis and if so, chiropractic can fix it in no time at all. It is very safe and effective for any age! As far as his odor, it could also be helped by chiropractic. Most of the time it is from a clogged glad under his armpit. Give it a try. You have nothing to loose (except a lot a medical bills that could be uncalled for). This could be really simple or something more. Why not start with the least invasive first? Best of luck to you guys:)

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It's always good to meet with your doctor if you are concerned about a developmental problem. With regard to the underarm odor. Someone wrote that babies do not get odors even if unbathed. That is not true. Even if they are bathed all the time, if you do not get in their little fat rolls, those areas can get stinky! I don't know about your son, but my little girl has tiny little rolls under her arms. When a baby is squirming around, or locks up her arms, sometimes that will happen even to the best mother! I hope everything comes back showing your baby is healthy, and that she's just taking her time on the sitting up thing.

As a mother of twins, who also had a perfect pregnancy - I had no idea my son would have birthing complications. Regardless, just understand that early prevention is absolutely amazing!!! We have seen multiple specialist and have fallen in love with our neurologist, Dr. Frank Berenson at Scottish Rite. He comes highly recommended and everything he has suggested has been excellent advice. My son was late to sitting up (and a few other things) and we actually started working with a physical therapist, who came to our home. Fast forward one month and my son is sitting up, reaching for toys and just a little behind his twin sister. Early intervention is key and hang in there. The first couple of times we visited the neuro office, I was not prepared. Of course I thought my child's problems were huge, but sitting in the waiting room I realized there are more challenging situations out there. Good luck.

The weakness and inabilty to hold his head are symptoms of a neurologic problem, possibly. Get to the peds neurologist ASAP, as early diagnosis may make a difference. Have not heard re: the strong odor, but will check around. Do NOT disregard the referral for your baby!!!!!!!!!! Could be a whole slew of things; hydrocephalus (treatable), cerebral palsy...Needs to be checked out-info is power. I, too, have boys, 20 mo apart....WHEW! It was indeed a challenge when they were young; could go on forever how they NEVER took naps at the same time, to allow this working mom (late shift) a nap, etc etc. The fact that they are even closer in age may HELP, as the older will not recall a time WITHOUT his brother, poss lessening the sibling rivalry. Mine have it bad...=( Best to you...Keep us informed, please!

My niece was very woobly at seven months. She could not hold her head straight and my sister worried about it and mentioned it to her Pediatrician, who said there is nothing to worry about. Indeed, my niece learnt to hold her head strong a little bit late but still she did fine. She is now almost 2 and she is very healthy baby. Babies are "wobbly" until at least their first birthday, I remember worrying about my child too.
The armpit odor, never heard of it. However, if don't bathe your child everyday, they will develop very strong odors quick. If you stick your nose very close to any baby's body, their odors will be strong. If you think about it, babies don't necessarily have those sweet smells unless you carefully follow their bathing routines.

The neurologist is mostly because of the weak muscles. Sometimes, it's a symptom of a bigger issue. My son had this problem when he was little, but we didn't really do anything about it until he was 13 months old. We figured what's a little bit of the wobbles going to hurt? Now, he's 6 years old and still in therapy to try to get him caught up to his peers! I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's better to find out now than later.

It could be what is called toticollis. You can read about it online. Most cases just take some therapy to strengthen the affected side. Say you son's head always went to the left. That would be the weak side. In some cases it does require surgery. I think that is rare and depends on when you catch it. The smell to my knowledge does not go along with this so unsure on that one except it is hot and he is bigger like my sweet little one. Hope this helps.

First talk to your pediatrican and then I would do the following 1) Put your son in the floor so can try moving and his muscles get stronger and secondly find a swim teacher that teaches baby how to swim and that will be great for your baby

You need a neurologist because the problem of possibly spinal cord or brain involvement needs to be ruled out first. If the brain or spinal column is not the problem then that specialist will give you another referral based on his/her particular findings. The underarm odor at that age well , that's another story. Your pediatrician should have some possible satisfactory answers about that. Hope this helps.

My son was a late bloomer with gross motor skills. He didn't sit unsupported until he was about 9 months old. He started walking at 13-14 months but still hadn't learned to stand up on his own. He finally learned to crawl at 15 months, and somewhere around that time he learned to stand on his own. (He never cruised or really pulled himself to standing on furniture like most babies do.) He was 8lb 5oz at 36 weeks gestation. He seems to have caught up on all gross motor skills, and we didn't experience the body odor problem. Your son could just be a bit of late bloomer bc of his large size and early birth, like our son. Try not to worry too much, and just try to see the neurologist as soon as you can to ease your fears.


You are a great mother to have noticed this issue in your child's development. You are going to be his first and strongest advocate in what ever lies ahead for your little one. Aa you go to and hear from doctors about you little boy, keep in mind that you spend more time with your child and you have a great handle on his developmental stages. Share this important information with the specialist in a very concise, non-emotional and written down form when you go to an appointment. When did he first roll over, when did he hold his head up firmly, when did he pass things from one hand to another, when did he pull up on furniture, all these milestones are important to a doctors diagnosis. In other words, you will have only a few minutes , maybe 20, to "Tell your story' about your son to the specialist so have a journal with his develpment in writing to share with his doctor.

I noticed my son had stopped speaking by his 18th month checkup except for two words. He had a vocabulary of over 80 words before that and I told the doctor. He made light of it and said well he is advanced in his motor skills( he was taking apart the docotors pen and putting it back together again in front of us) so he is just lagging in his speech development was his answer for the loss of his vocabulary. I took out his baby book and showed him all the words he had been saying since he was 12 months old and how he had lost the ability to speak but he had not lost the ability to understand. He then, seeing my list and charts, made an appointment that afternoon for a hearing test and my son was almost deaf in both ears. He had 20% hearing in one ear and 5% in the other. We went to a specialist and had tubes put in and his hearing did improved. (He was allergic to all drugs and so he had quite a bit of scar tissue built up that was interferring with his hearing abilities). I tell you this to say--- You know your child and his development best! Take a strong role in your child's development and work with the doctors but if you know they are missing something that you feel strongly about, PUSH FOR YOUR CHILD"S HEALTH! Listen to your gut and hear what it is telling you a;nd share that with your con's doctors.

What ever your child's issue is you will learn to work it into your family and your life. By bringing it to your doctors attention so quickly your child will be getting a diagnosis sooner and help sooner and he will have the issue addressed sooner and have a better outcome. Have faith and strength to help your child through what lies ahead.

Ms C.

Hi - I am so sorry to hear what you're going through. We have just gone through and are still going through the same thing (except for the odor issue). I have a nine month old little girl who, at her 6 month checkup was not sitting well with support or rolling back to tummy. Her head was lagging when lifted by her hands from lying flat. She was "floppy". Our ped recommended a ped neuro also. I got another ped's opinion and he recommended a developmental pediatrician instead b/c in his words ped neuros don't primarily focus on "developmental delay". B/c I got several encouragements in that direction that's what we're doing. It's hard to get an appt though. We are going to see Amy Pakula with the Marcus Institute on the 16th of May. The biggest thing I would recommend is that you get connected with the Babies Can't Wait program ###-###-####). It is a federally mandated program through the Easter Seals. They will come evaluate your child and design an IN-HOME (or in day-care if that's where your child is) physical/occupational/speech therapy program specifically for your child's needs (the cost to you is whatever your insurance company covers and a small co-pay or absolutely free if your insurance company doesn't cover anything). We have been doing therapy for two months now and our sweet Alexandra is now sitting beautifully and rolling both ways all over the place and is pushing up in an attempt to crawl. Her delays are no longer there and the therapist (who we love!) says we're just about ready to discontinue therapy b/c she's on track now and has no other milestones she needs to reach.

The reason I didn't go with the ped neuro was that I didn't want to put her through zillions of blood tests or MRIs with sedation, etc. if she was just a late bloomer and needed a little more time! I praise God that we went that route!! I don't know about your little one but the best encouragement I received was that it takes late babies and early babies to develop an average. My first born rolled both ways at 4.5 months and crawled at 7. He was early and she was late and my middle child was right in between them. So there you have it. It's an average.

I hope you'll be encouraged by this. If you have any more questions about our journey, feel free to contact me at ###-###-####. My name is K. and I would be happy to help you. I'll be praying for you and Levi.

P.S. If you decide to go the neuro route, the best in Atlanta from what I've heard is Child Neurology of Atlanta ###-###-####) with Dr. Edward Goldstein being the absolute best and Dr. Howard Schub being great too. I have had several friends whose children have had neurological disorders as well as a couple of friends who work for Children's Healthcare who rave about them.

P.P.S. My older two - boys - are 15 months apart. It gets easier!! You won't always feel like you've been hit by a train. Mine are now four and three and LOVE each other and play beautifully together.

It could be a metabolic disorder. The neurologist will test his urine for amino acids and mucopolysaccharides. They test for some of these disorders at birth (the heel stick test) but not all of them. If there is a problem with his body metabolizing something and it's building up in his little system it could cause poor muscle tone and all sorts of other problems. I'd get it checked out ASAP.

Hi E.,

Underarm odor for babies is very unusual even if you don't bathe them often. I have no personal experience but I have heard of this before as a problem with metabolism. It can be very serious or absolutely nothing. A metobolic specialist or a naturopath that deals with these issues is the route I would go.

As far as the weak muscles, again it could be something or nothing. He was a big baby. Has he grown fast? Sometimes big babies take a little longer to develop head and neck muscles. (Their heads, like everybody's, are extremely heavy and control is more difficult for kids that grow fast.)

I do agree with the other ladies. Trust your gut! Moms know their children. Don't worry until you have something to worry about. And push your doctor until you get an answer that makes sense.

God bless,


I don't want to scare you but you are doign good to follow your doctors advice to have your child checked out. Children that are born seemingly healthy can have a developmental delay including nuerological, musculor and other delays. I have worked with many children that have special needs and your child can just be one of those children who is developing muscle strength and coordination later than others (remember range implies some are early developers and some are later bloomers) but he could also be a child that has some developmental issues that need to be addressed. Just remember to follow your gut. If you are not getting answers and you believe there is something else then keep looking and pursuing it, our children need us to do that for them. Also stay positive and remember your child is amazing and your special little boy whom loves you unconditionally.

My first child had low muscle tone and was late holding her head up, sitting up, walking,etc. She was very wobbly. Let me stress, she is FINE now. She is eleven, very active, and has no physical problems. He may just need a little extra time to develop his muscles and begin reaching certain milestones. I'd follow the doctors orders to see a neurologist just to be on the safe side. Perhaps you have nothing to worry about. Please let us know the outcome.

My son is almost 7 months and also has some muscle weakness with his head/neck. He was diagnosed as having torticollis at 3 days old. My son's torticollis is a mild case and he can and always could move is head, but because the muscles are so weak on one side of his neck, he tends to lean his head to one side causing flat head. My ped. sent us to a physical therapist very early on and I learned to reposition his head to avoid flatness. Torticollis can also cause problems with reaching milestones like sitting up and crawling because they do not have their center of gravity when their head is leaning to one side. The physical therapist showed us stretches to do and ways to get him to strengthen his neck and his is getting better slowly but surely. My understanding is that my ped. caught my son's really early but most are not caught until 4-8 months. So I just wanted to put that out there as an idea to look into.

Also, the body odor thing can happen to any baby. My son is a very chunky kid. He is in the 90th percentile for height and weight and has rolls upon rolls and they STINK if I do not wash them regularly.

Hi E.,
Try not to worry too much. This could be a VERY easy problem for a chiropractor to fix. The neck could certainly be torticollis and if so, chiropractic can fix it in no time at all. It is very safe and effective for any age! As far as his odor, it could also be helped by chiropractic. Most of the time it is from a clogged glad under his armpit. Give it a try. You have nothing to loose (except a lot a medical bills that could be uncalled for). This could be really simple or something more. Why not start with the least invasive first? Best of luck to you guys:)

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