My 13 month old twists/squeezes her legs together and seems to be in pain. Any ideas?

[deleted account] ( 20 moms have responded )

My 13 month old daughter will twist her legs together and squeeze them together VERY tightly. She has done this ever since I can remember. She will also take a breath and then hold it for a couple of seconds in between breaths like she is in pain. She has always cried a lot and everytime I have taken her to the doctor, I have just been told that babies cry. Her development seems pretty normal, no more than a month or two behind what I would expect. She tries to walk and will take a few steps on her own, but drags her feet. Especsially her left that turns outward quite a bit.



I also had a blood clot behind my placenta that I was never told about. The only reason I know about it is because it was in my medical papers from delivery "~800 ml blood clot delivered behind placenta." That's probably equivilant to 4 baseballs. I am wondering if that had any effect on her. I also had to hold her in while she was ready to come out so that the doctor could put on his cover-up.



Now I have an appointment with a neurologist, but I am afraid that I will once again be told there is nothing wrong with her when I know there is. Does anyone have a child with similar problems?

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Garcia - posted on 01/07/2014

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Hi Everyone,
Very interesting to hear your stories and thoughts on this matter. My daughter, now 2.5years has been squeezing her legs too, on and off since she was 6 months old. I raised it with her Pediatrician early on and he said it was just behavioral and a habit and not to worry. It stopped for awhile but has come back in the last 6 months. We are very concerned as she seems like she is in pain and gets very hot and sweats while doing it. It seems to happen more when she is tired or upset. I think I'll take her to another specialist. It would be interesting to know outcomes from other families.

Jo - posted on 11/12/2012

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Hi there, my 4yo daughter does the same thing, and has done since she was 6months old. I am worried she might have aspergers, does your daugther still do it? I'd be interested to hear. my mother in law thought it was a form of sexual stimulation and to just ignore it. Since she only does it at home I haven't been worried about it much but am concerned it might be a form of 'stimming' that aspergers/autism kids do. What do you think? Aspergers is very hard to pick up in girls. My daughter also screamed a lot as a baby, and my instinct has always told me something is not quite right. She is an only child and has just started kindy and I am hoping she will make friends but prefers to play on her own so far. Jo.

Katharine - posted on 02/19/2009

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Hi Sheri,



I'm gonna start with some questions.  How often does she tense up and for how long does she stay that way?  Does she do it several times over the course of a few minutes and then stop for a while?  Have you noticed any patterns or triggers for the behaviour?



It sounds like it could be a form of stimming (self stimmulation) which can indicate a proprioceptive issue which has to do with sensory integration.  Proprioception is the bodies sense of itself.  You use this sense when you determine, for example,  where your hands are with out looking at them. This could, and I emphasize COULD, point toward the autism spectrum. Foot dragging may point in the same direction.  When my daughter was very little, she exhibited very slight signs that the right side of her body was as available to her as it should have been.  For instance, she showed a preference for her left hand very early.  Before she was a year old.  Such things are not usually so clear that young. 



Ask the neurologist about seeing a developmental pediatrician, particularly if he is not able to give you satisfying answers. 



It is so hard when they are that young.  Hang in there and fight for her. The worst that will happen is you will have seen a Iot of doctors over nothing and that is what we are hoping for right? am not a believer in intuition but moms know when something is not right or usual.  I knew from day two that there was a neurological problem with my daughter.  She didn't develop a grab reflex until the fourth day.  All the doctors and nurses said it wasn't a red flag but I knew that it was. 



 



 



 

Ruth - posted on 11/09/2014

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Honestly, My daughter (23 months) does this as well, often and has been doing this since she was six months old. We call it her mermaid position. (legs crossed and feet splayed like a mermaids tail. It's a comforting feeling and It's also a way to masturbate. It's not that she's masturbating right now, but I know grown women who masturbate this way. Right now It comforts her, like a security position. It stops for awhile, and then comes a back again. I know because I used to do it according to my parents, and as I got older I realized it started "feeling good" when I did it. She does it when she's bored, or tired, or anxious, and sometimes when she needs to pee or poop. She's smart, very active, walks and runs fine, and is perfectly on schedule with her developmental milestones. It's just a comfort behavior. My only worry, would be that it might cause her posture to degrade. Like create a larger strength difference in her leg and back strength. But, talk to your pediatrician about children exploring their bodies, they might have more ideas for helping them become more comfortable without using this position, and keeping it a more private act. But, I have heard from regular pediatricians, (and from grown women on forums about sex) that this is a normal thing for many children and adults. I think the earlier posters were right about this being a kind've of sensory comfort, like sucking the thumbs or rocking. Or fidgeting with a blanket or toy.

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User - posted on 11/15/2014

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Its Jessica again. I posted in July of 2013. My daughter is still doing this same thing with her legs. Has anyone went to a specialist and what are they saying. She will be 2 1/2 in the beginning of December. I am also concerned with autistism or aspergers. My husband is leaning away from those because she is not showing any other odd symptoms. She does get attached to odd objects at times such as lotion bottles, coins, those are a few to name. Do any of your children have attachment to odd items?

Za - posted on 10/22/2014

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We are afraid that it will last longer ..our daughter is almost 3 and she started doing this around 6months and had completely stopped at 22 months until 24 months but started doing it again. Then it was getting better and now its back very strong and the only way she stops is by watching videos or some other activity where people are some sort of engaging content is involved. Also she does this a lot before going to sleep. It's like she cant sleep until she does this squeezing of her legs and clasping her cheek with her right hand tightly. Praying for you all and your little ones.

Garcia - posted on 09/24/2014

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Just to let you all know I did take my daughter to the Pediatrician (different to the first one) and he said he sees one child a year with this issue. He told me it was a habit. A comfort action. Much like kids suck thumbs and sometimes rock. He said she will grow out of it. And when she's older you can explain its something to do at home. Not that she does it in public unless she's in a stroller and tired.

Garcia - posted on 01/09/2014

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Tonya, I believe it's something they do to relax and for comfort. Some have said it's like thumb sucking and rocking behaviours. My daughter seems to do it when she's tired, anxious or bored. There's a good article I can send you?

Tonya - posted on 01/09/2014

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Have you found out anything about this, why your child does it. My granddaughter does the same thing. She quit for a while but has started back. She is 7 yrs old now.

Jessica - posted on 07/16/2013

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My 13 mo. Old has done the same thing since 6 months... I didn't know if it was now out of habit or what... we are also concerned... we call it twisty butt... she twist her back legs and holds her breath for a few seconds

Za - posted on 07/03/2013

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our daughter does something similar.. hers started at 6 months and now she is almost 16 months and is still doing it.. she does it more when shes very tired, upset or it seems like her teeth are bothering her.. we feel as if this is how she copes with pain or being upset.. neurologist said she did not feel like it was anything neurological.. some have asked us to show her to an orthopaedic

MissMommyMay - posted on 06/03/2013

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My 8.5 month old does stereotypies alot. He, especially when he is excited or tired, flaps his arms/hands and kicks alot. The neurologist dianosged him with stereotypic movement disorder. I have been doing cognitive therapy (educational playtime pretty much) diet changes (cutting non natural things, fruit alone, vegetables seperate) and looking into homeopathic. Look up the herbal rememdy called Cina its supposed to work. but i dont know what to do that works at this age...?

Good luck

Logan - posted on 01/24/2013

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My daugter does the same thing, but usual it has something to do with changing her. We are concerned and don't know what to do.

Jennifer - posted on 01/18/2013

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I was wondering if you followed through with the neurologist. If so what did you find out? My son is 9 months old and does the exact same thing the two drs at his pediatric clinic keep telling me they don't see that its unusual. And I know it is. His insurance won't pay for specialist without referral and since the Dr says nothing is wrong I'm not sure I'll be able to get one.

Katharine - posted on 02/19/2009

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Quoting Sheri:



 I don't know if I mentioned that it is always her right foot behind her left calf.





Right over left or left over right preference is genetically determined just as is the top thumb when we interlace our fingers, ("saying grace" position).  If you put your hands in to that position, note which thumb is on top.  Then, try switching so that your other thumb is on top.  You'll notice that your hands don't seem to fit together the second way.  The difference is not nearly as pronounced with the leg crossing but most people have a clear preference. 



Hang in there.



 

[deleted account]

Thanks for your answers and help.



The leg crossing happens almost everytime she lays on her belly, but also sometimes when she is on her back or sitting. She will stay that way pretty much until her position changes. It is also very difficult to pry her legs apart and I don't know if it causes her pain when you try to, but it does seem to make her upset. I don't know if I mentioned that it is always her right foot behind her left calf.

[deleted account]

I think the neurologist is a good idea. Not being any sort of medical professional and only speculating here, I would be looking for things like a tethered cord. If the neurologist doesn't find anything, you might want to make an appointment with a pediatric orthopedist to see if the legs and feet are developing properly from a skeletal standpoint?



My nephew learned to walk at 2.5 years, then quickly started to lose the ability. His gait became unsteady, and he was crying out in *constant* pain. Finally, they determined the problem to be muscular, and it was just a matter of overuse of underdeveloped muscles (it's manageable now with massage and heat therapy, but basically won't go away until his muscles grow more). They had to rule out a re-tethering of his spinal cord and other neurological issues first, though, before they were able to find the cause.



Again, not a medical professional, so I can only throw out some guesses, based on what my family has seen with our kids. Best of luck finding and treating, and don't let the doctors tell you it's nothing when you know better--just keep pushing until they check for everything and find out what's wrong! :o)

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