My beautiful hypermobile baby

hypermobile baby

My baby is a year old and still not crawling. She isn’t pulling herself up on furniture to cruise around. She isn’t supporting her own weight and standing upright. She can’t do any of these things because she is hypermobile.

On her first birthday, Jasmin wasn’t taking unsteady steps across the lounge while we all clapped and cheered her on. She wasn’t asking us to hold her hands so we could help her walk. She didn’t clamber up onto the table where we’d put her presents.

I’m told constantly that she is serene. It’s because she is often sitting in one place while she plays. People expect one-year-olds to be into everything, to be adventurous with their crawling and to be making a dash for corners of the house they’ve been told to stay away from. Jasmin doesn’t crawl towards drawers to open them. She doesn’t clamber up the stairs on all fours. She doesn’t pull herself up onto tables to grab things we haven’t put far enough out of reach.

That she can’t do these things frustrates her. She doesn’t always stay calm.

People tell me too their anecdotes about children who ‘never crawled’ or ‘just stood up and started walking one day’ or were ‘too lazy to walk for ages’. I’m reassured, kindly, and frequently reminded not to worry. Well, I don’t worry. Not anymore. Not since Jasmin’s doctor examined her and told me about hypermobility.

Jasmin, I now know, might not walk until she is two. She might not crawl. She will do things at a pace dictated by her hypermobility.

I knew nothing about hypermobility two weeks ago. Now though, the word consumes me. It lies behind much of what I do with Jasmin. It is the first subject I surf the web about when I turn my laptop on. It hovers around the front of my mind when I try to work. Hypermobile. Those four syllables echo around my brain when I watch my beautiful baby trying to move around. Slowly, by rotating her hips at angles which defy logic, by combining rolling with sitting and pulling and shuffling, she moves gradually in the vague direction she has chosen. Compared to crawling, it is a far less efficient way to get around.

I now understand though why Jasmin can’t support herself on all fours – she truly doesn’t have the strength, and her hips have a range of movement which is incredible. I now understand why Jasmin tends to sit with her legs stretched out wide in the splits. When she is tired, she drops her head forwards and rests it on the ground. It is a pose I constantly fail to achieve in my regular yoga practice. For her, it is a position of rest.

hypermobile baby

A few months ago, lots of people described Jasmin as a yoga baby and super flexible when they saw this photo. Now I know she is hypermobile I understand more about how her joints work.

I hadn’t been worrying about Jasmin when I took her to the doctor a week before her first birthday. We were there for something else but I mentioned that she wasn’t crawling. I know all children do things differently, in their own time, and when they are ready. However, I still thought it was worth Jasmin’s doctor taking a look at her incase there was an underlying reason for her not being on the move.

I’m now so glad I did. Jasmin has a larger range of movement in her joints than is usual, the doctor told me. Children who are hypermobile are often described as being very flexible or double jointed. As they get older, their joints often stiffen. For some people who are hypermobile, they live life with few symptoms, for others with hypermobile syndrome, there is pain and fatigue to be managed. (Hypermobility is usually hereditary, and although my joints have stiffened now, I was one of those ‘double-jointed’ children.)

Jasmin lacks strength in her legs and so we must now help her to get stronger. As she gets older, it will be important to help her continue to gain muscle strength through activities such as walking, swimming and ballet. She will have to wear special shoes to ensure correct alignment when she learns to walk. It is likely that she will fatigue easily. Yet despite this, it is vital she remains active to get stronger.

It is too early to assess the extent of Jasmin’s hypermobility, but I am glad to understand a little more about her body and why it moves the way it does. I’m trying to learn as much as I can about ways I can help my beautiful little girl, and I am trying to keep in my mind all of the positives her doctor told me (for example, as an adult, Jasmin is unlikely to experience any disadvantages due to her hypermobility. Professional sports people are, in fact, often hypermobile in an area which benefits their game.)

I spent last week feeling unbearably sad for my little girl. She will continue to watch other babies learn to walk. She will see them run after the toys they want. She will remain on the floor, shuffling round a small area, while they sprint around her to play.

And then, on the day Jasmin turned one, I realised it was time to look at the world a little differently. Jasmin is healthy and well. Hypermobility may bring its challenges, yes, but the hurdles can be managed and overcome. While the babies around Jasmin learn to walk, we will help her get stronger. She is watching the world and taking it all in. She is listening and learning and thinking and wondering. She will always have unconditional support. She is so-much loved and when she looks around, she sees this and feels this and knows this. That’s what matters. How old might she be when she takes her first steps is nowhere near as important.

hypermobile baby


 photo 93142f35-6d39-479f-b3de-d94dbca68162_zps58499252.jpg

33 Thoughts on “My beautiful hypermobile baby

  1. Awww, bless her. I hope you find away to help her as best you can. Though it’s not all bad: I had a hyper mobile back as a child. It’s stiffened up now but was useful in gymnastics, which was my passion. A friend had double jointed legs and ended up high jumping in commomwealth games! Sending best wishes xxxx

    • kiranchug on July 27, 2014 at 11:05 pm said:

      Thank you Jude! The doctor told me that tennis players often have hypermobile shoulders and footballers known for their great free kicks usually have hypermobile hips. Perhaps Jasmin will one day be a professional sportswoman! X

  2. Oh Kiran, this post made me so sad, also filled with hope as you seem so positive which is amazing. I have a friend who specialises in physiotherapy I will ask her if she has any tips for you. George suffered with flat head syndrome and she helped us to understand what exercises were best. Love to you & yours x

    • kiranchug on July 27, 2014 at 11:26 pm said:

      Thank you KA, I would so appreciate that! – but please don’t be sad. Jasmin is going to be just fine – it was all just a lot to take in and process x

  3. I had never heard of hyper mobility until reading this post. Thank your for your bravery in educating the likes of me. Yasmin is a gorgeous little girl and very lucky to have people all around her who love and support her no matter what. Lovely touching post. Thank you x

  4. Both my children are hypermobile – I’m afraid they got that gene from me! Don’t worry too much as she gets older you can do exercises to help strengthen. Swimming is a good exercise to do even from this age! My daughter is 7 and has in-steps in her shoes to help with her ankles and since having them there has been some great improvement and less clumsiness my son is 3 and will be fitted soon!

    You are not alone and it will get better xx

    • kiranchug on July 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm said:

      Carrie-Anne, thank you so so much for your comment. It’s lovely to hear of your daughter’s improvements, and I wish your son all the best with his in-steps too. Thank you for your kind words, it’s just so nice to hear from someone else who has been here xx

  5. The good thing is you have a name for it, so you’ll be better able to support her and give her what she needs. I had never heard of hypermobility either, but with the support of her loving mama I feel confident she will be okay.

    • kiranchug on July 28, 2014 at 7:42 am said:

      Yes it’s amazing how with one word everything can change. I’ve been finding lots of information now that I know what is going on, and I feel better knowing I can get better equipped to help Jasmin x

  6. What a beautiful post. It must have been a shock to discover this, but it’s great that you now understand it and are looking at hypermobility in a positive light.

    • kiranchug on July 28, 2014 at 7:41 am said:

      Thank you Sarah. The doctor told me that as an adult, hypermobility can be a real advantage – so I’m hanging on to that! x

  7. M has hypermobility syndrome and is flat footed. She is 3 and was diagnosed not long ago. She is not aloud to do ballet as it will cause her pain and not strengthen her joints. We are fighting for support from physio and occupational health on the NHS. hyper mobility varies in every child though. I understand how your feeling and you have to stay positive for yourself and your daughter : )

    • kiranchug on July 28, 2014 at 8:13 am said:

      Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you have a diagnoses for M, and I really, really hope you get the support you need for physio and occupational health. We will go back to the doctor in a couple of months as at this stage it is too early to see the extent of Jasmin’s hypermobility. I’m learning so much about it at the moment and it does seem so different in everyone. A lot of people have told me that physio has been a huge help so that’s something I too wish to explore. Wishing you all the best and thank you for reading x

  8. She does look so beautiful and relaxed in that photo. I had no idea it existed either until I read another blog a couple of years ago, I think it’s @mollyjforbes whose daughter has it. It is a good read especially to understand the journey. Xx

  9. Mel Wakeman on July 28, 2014 at 8:14 am said:

    I think this is a lovely and positive post Kiran. My son is also hypermobile, I took him to our GP when he was 20 months as his hips started clicking. He didn’t walk until 17 months. A scary number of weeks whilst we waited for an x-ray appointment thinking that it was hip dysplasia but actually releived to be told he was ‘just’ hypermobile. My fault it seems! He is such a happy boy, in no pain so now we just look forward to him becoming an international football player! Oh and he loves swimming – great exercise to help strengthen their legs and soak everyone else in the process as he kicks with excitement :-)

    • kiranchug on July 28, 2014 at 8:18 am said:

      Thank you for your comment Mel. I can’t agree that it’s your ‘fault’! But, I’m so glad to hear he is so happy and pain-free. I think Jasmin is the same – she is a happy little thing and I don’t think she is in pain, although she gets frustrated about not being able to get around very fast. They can be international sports stars together! Jasmin loves being in the water so I’m glad this will be encouraged. Your swimming experiences sound like fun ;) x

  10. I’ve heard of hypermobility but didn’t know anything about it. I don’t think my son has it but he didn’t do any of the standard things I’d expected and seen with my daughter-he bounced around on his knees for months. He climbed climbing frames, but didn’t walk until he was almost 2. I was starting to worry by that point. He was perfectly happy though. I’ve struggled to let him just be himself more than I ever did with my daughter because he is so different, but I’m trying very hard to let him ‘be’ and enjoy the differences xx

    • kiranchug on July 28, 2014 at 8:49 am said:

      It’s hard not to worry isn’t it. Even though we know they do things in their own time and when they are ready – it’s difficult. I think it’s natural to mentally compare them to another sibling too, I’ve really struggled with that. As you say though, we have to enjoy the differences and find ways to let them be. It sounds like you are doing just that x

  11. A beautiful post, Kiran. I’d not heard of this before, and I can imagine what a shock it would have been to suddenly find out that Jasmin has this. I’m quite sure with your love and support, now armed with knowledge and understanding, too, that she will be OK xx

  12. Julia on July 28, 2014 at 10:10 am said:

    Oh no Kiran, I think it runs in both sides of the family as mum is where I got my hypermobility from! But the doctor is right, it has some advantages, she will be great at the limbo, have some cool party tricks and could be an impressive dancer. You guys will need to be mindful at what hobbies she chooses, things like yoga (cough cough), ballet and gymnastics can make the joints worse due to the encouragement of going to an extreme range of movement. It can be OK as long as the person has really good strength and learns how to use their muscles properly to support their joints. Do not even think about that now, baby steps – literally.

    It’s great that you have a switched on doctor who has picked it up relatively early so you can start focusing on building strength now while she is young. Once little Jasmin gets stronger I’m sure she will be a force to be reckoned with.

    Thinking of you, try not to worry too much xxx

  13. I have hyper mobility too – although I was in my twenties before I was diagnosed! I guess the world has learnt a lot since I was a little girl. You have a beautiful little girl, each child has a different challenge to face, this is her’s. She will get through it and will always have your support x

  14. Kieran, this is a fascinating and beautifully written post. I shall count it an honour to follow the progress of your lovely baby girl! X

  15. Well i think she’s a lovely little bendy baby :) I hope you feel a bit reassured that she’s fine and will get there in her own time.
    I think i have hypermobility too, i say think as in it’s not been explained to me very well but i have had back problems on and off over the last few years and when i’ve been assessed by doctors and physio’s they have mentioned i seem to have it. Can lay my hands flat on the floor and bend my thumbs back against my wrists etc. I don’t actually think its linked to my bad back though! x

    • kiranchug on July 29, 2014 at 9:00 pm said:

      do you swim lovely? So many people are telling me it’s the best thing for hypermobility! And I think she is a lovely baby too xx

  16. lireal on July 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm said:

    Hi!

    My little boy has hypermobility. He started crawling just after his first birthday and then walked at 15 months. He’s over confident when he walks and often falls over his own feet. Be prepared for bumps and bruises. We’re going to take him swimming to help strengthen his joints. Good luck xx

  17. She is just so cute. Gabe has hypermobility with hypotonia (there is another new word for you) so I can imagine your worries. What a brilliant attitude though – we’ll just get her stronger! I have no doubt that you will. There is loads you can do for hypermobility – email me if you want some suggestions. xxx

    • kiranchug on July 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm said:

      And I love your attitude, your blog constantly inspires me lovely. You’re amazing. Thank you so much for the offer. I will get my head around all of this and I will be emailing you, I’m sure x

  18. I am sorry to hear that Jasmine has been diagnosed with this Kiran, but like you say she is beautiful and this won’t hold her back I am sure of that. Mads was diagnosed with DDH when she was 6 weeks old (Hip Displaysia) and I was so upset at time, picturing my baby in casts and traction. But the reality was that she got better with some physio and traditional treatment as she had such a mild case, and she was finally signed off at age 3 after monthly then six monthly appointments. There’s a charity called Steps, I don’t know if that deals with hyper mobility but they are an excellent resource that I found useful. xx

  19. Oh Kiran what a beautifully written and fascinating post. It must be such a relief to get a diagnosis. At least now you can work on making her stronger – and you will. I look at the photos of her and she looks like an athlete in the making to me, her flexibility is incredible. Thank you so much for sharing with #whatsthestory x

  20. Christine Nicholls on September 2, 2014 at 10:18 am said:

    Thank you so much for your blog posts, I follow them on essential mums.co.nz. My 6 month old daughter, who just lies on her back with no interest at all in rolling or moving around, has just been diagnosed as hyper mobile too, so it’s really interesting to hear of others who have it as well, as I’d never heard of it before. I’m currently researching whether I should just leave her to develop in her own time or assist her with exercises to help strengthen her body. It’s hard as all I want to do is what’s best for her, but I’m struggling to find websites that provide any direct advice. Do you have any you recommend?

    I am hyper mobile (I have since found out) and never had any issues, aside from being very flexible as a child and struggling with doing arm weights as an adult.

  21. Louise Mcnicol on September 18, 2014 at 8:37 am said:

    I just saw this and know how heartbreaking and worrying it is to find out your children have any medical issues. All four of my children have this and it has affected them in different ways but the older they get the more it seems to sort itself out. My youngest has a natural aptitude for gymnastics so it’s actually benefitted her in a way, both daughters play musical instruments too, they’re fingers are very flexible. I hope this gives you light at the end of the tunnel at a very stressful time for you. X

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