Has Anyone Noticed Thier Infant with "Airplane Arms"?

Updated on February 12, 2008
M.B. asks from Lake Villa, IL
9 answers

We took John, our 6 month old son, in for his routine check up. Everything is fine, but the nurse made a comment about his arms. I refer to it as “airplane arms”. When he is sitting still, his arms will be straight out to the side. I have noticed a couple months ago when I had him in a carrier facing out, he would just be there with his arms out like an airplane. He grabs his feet and chews on his toes, he grabs toys and brings them to his mouth, he brings both of his hands together to look at them, etc. Has anyone ever seen this with their child? The doctor told the nurse it was nothing to worry about at this stage. He does get tummy time. He is just starting to sit up in the tri-pod position. I am just curious if this is something I should be worrying about.

Thanks for reading,

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answers from Fort Wayne on

Ali is 9 months old and does the same thing still. Her big sister just laughs at her and tells her she can't fly. Its not a big deal

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answers from Chicago on

anytype of strange motor control disorders should be alert to your MD however this is how babies hold them self up like a tight rope walker. If however the child is doing this with out the need perhaps it should be looked into further. Do You vaccinate your child??? there is a plethoria of knowledge on why you would not want ot do this. You can e-mail me and I will fill you in. Alot of poisons being injected at a rate the babies can not tolerate.



answers from Chicago on

That sounds a bit like my 5 1/2 month old boy. He sticks his arms out to his side all the time. I thought it was cute when he's sitting on my lap and puts his hands on the arm rests of the chair. I think it might have to do with him wanting to touch and explore everything or just figuring out how to balance. He does it a lot when I'm carrying him too.



answers from Chicago on

Its probably nothing to worry about right now. I would just watch theese- small things is there anything else as he gets older. I didnt watch for small signs when my son was little and now looking back I missed some things. he now at 7 years of age got diagnosed with sensory integration. looking back he hated the swing, didnt like to feed himself, always squinted. my son was in kindergarten when after a bunch of tests like hearing, ADD, eye test was diagonsed with binoccular vision- pretned to hold binocculars up to your eyes and this is how he sees. So, my suggestion is write it down. mention it again at the 9 month physcial if it is still going on or if something new starts- and defiantely ask for an eval for OT or PT if not better by then. it doesnt hurt.



answers from Indianapolis on

My son did this for 2 months! He'd just lay around with his arms out. We have a very cute picture of him with a caption that says "I love you this much". He always looked like he was pretending to fly. No one ever made me think it was odd, just cute. Don't know what to tell you except how could it be bad for him?



answers from St. Louis on

My son also would do this and we thought it was pretty cute! However, we went to a lactation specialist for other reasons and she immediately picked up on these "airplane arms." She highly recommended taking him to a chiropractor that had extended training and experience with infants. I had reservations, having never gone to a chiropractor myself. However, the chiropractor was extremely gentle and our son didn't even cry. It was more like a gentle massage. We could tell a difference in his ability to relax his arms after just one visit. We only had to go three times total and it has made a world of difference. Basically, there may be a pinching somewhere in his central nervouse system. It may be in all positions (as our son's was) or it may just be in certain positions. Our son's inability to relax and trying to balance on his back was definitely due to a 3 1/2 hour stint being pushed through the birth canal! He was born occipit posterior (facing up) and had a significant conehead. We had the chiropractor visits at 4 1/2 months of age, but wish we would have done it even earlier!



answers from Lafayette on

My son went through the same phase; he would just be sitting on my lap with arms straight out. I was assured as you were that there was nothing to worry about. He grew out of it and found his balance.
Enjoy your day!



answers from Chicago on

My 6 month old has always been like this too. She has been seeing the chiropractor since she was 3 day old (as have all my children), and I will say it definitely diminishes right after a visit, and increases in frequency as we approach our next visit.
It's not so much that something is "wrong" with kids who do this, and a large number of children do have "airplane arms" to some degree, but from everything I have read and heard in my discussions with other moms, and going through Early intervention with my 3 year old for various delays - is that its just that their nerves don't recognize that their arms are attached to their body. Its just one of those systems that takes a little while to get fully functioning.
Playing games with them in your lap and really holding their arms to their sides, not in a painful way, but fun and playful - that was how i was told to handle it by a child physical therapist.

So to answer your question - no, not something to worry about really, but definitely be aware of it and just gear your baby playing time to really helping him realize that HIS arms are attached to HIS body and HE can use them to help himself (sit up, reach for toys, etc.)



answers from Chicago on

Sounds like he's trying to balance himself. Many kids balance with their arms when they are trying to sit up, walk, move, roll over and the like.

When children are learning to walk my family has noticed that children balance themselves in many ways...like the gorilla walk (arms up over the head to balance...like a monkey), the Frankenstein walk (arms straight ahead while feet are stomping), the ballerina prance (arms to the side while on the toes)..

They are all different and it seems to me he's just learning to feel for balance. He will be sitting up soon if he isn't already and will probably start to crawl soon if he isn't. Don't be surprised if he's an early walker. My daughter was moving around the furniture at about six/seven months and was trying steps at nine month. She could walk pretty well by 10 months. The other wouldn't take a step until she was 15 months and then walked as if she had been doing it for years.

They are all different. Your doctor isn't concerned so I wouldn't be either at this time. Just get pictures to keep as a fond memory of his aviation days. :)

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