Some babies are more likely to have sensory issues: premature babies, babies who suffered a stroke, and babies whose movement abilities have been affected by any illness. Babies who spend a long time hospitalized may also be more prone to suffering sensory issues.
Before everybody freaks out and thinks their babies are all seriously ill, let me tell you a secret. Almost everybody I know has some sensory sensitivity. How many of you chew your pens? How many of you prefer certain fabrics because they make you feel better? How many of you tap your fingers or feet?
Being sensitive to sensory input is not the same as having serious sensory processing difficulties. When someone has serious sensory processing issues, it affects their lives profoundly. How we perceive the world through our senses, vastly affects our development and how we perceive the world around us. When our senses are misfiring or our brain is scrambling what these senses are telling them, the world can be a frightening and uncomfortable place.
In babies, it affects their ability to reach milestones and the way they perceive the world. As they grow up, it affects their success in school and even their social life.
So if your baby seems sensitive to sensory stimulus, but is developing on schedule, they don't need occupational therapy. However, they may benefit from vestibular input, such as "wearing them", if they are sensitive and have difficulty being soothed in other ways.
My philosophy on treatment is: "do whatever works". If what you're doing works, proceed. If what you're doing is not working, stop and re-evaluate. If you're not sure and it doesn't seem harmful, continue a little longer, then re-evaluate.
If your baby is sensitive to sensory stimulation (i.e. gets fussy and isn't easily soothed, has a difficult time with noises, seems sensitive to light touch, gets overstimulated easily, etc.) and seems to be delayed in many areas, it's a time to let your pediatrician know. He may refer you to an occupational therapist for an evaluation. It's best to catch it early because the brain is much more malleable when your baby is a newborn.
So what does all this have to do with wearing a baby? Find out in part 3...coming soon...hopefully.
Auntie wears Baba in a Balboa Sling
Read part 3 here! And part 4 here.