My baby is hypermobile

Hypermobile, often called double-jointed or simply very flexible.
Hypermobile, often called double-jointed or simply very flexible. Photo: Getty Images

Jasmin will turn one next week, but there won't be any home videos of her taking her first steps. We won't hold her hands as she toddles across the garden towards her birthday cake. She won't be clambering to pull herself up onto the table we put her presents on. Unlike many babies who walk around the 12-month mark, Jasmin won't be on her feet.

Jasmin, my beautiful daughter, isn't crawling yet either. She spends her days blissfully happy - but while sitting on her bottom. She doesn't cruise along furniture, she doesn't ask us to hold her hands while she tries to walk, she doesn't get up onto all fours and try to crawl.

For months, I have been telling myself not to worry about Jasmin. I have been telling myself not to compare her to Milin, who at this age was an adventurous little boy on the cusp of walking and into EVERYTHING. It was exhausting.
This week though I had an unrelated doctor's appointment for Jasmin. While there, I brought up that she wasn't on the move - at all. I told the doctor I wasn't worried and that I knew all children were different - but that I thought I should mention it.

GROWING PAINS: Jasmin is hypermobile, which means she will start walking later.
GROWING PAINS: Jasmin is hypermobile, which means she will start walking later. Photo: SUPPLIED

She examined Jasmin and lay her down to watch her.

Jasmin, she told me, is hypermobile.

Until this week I had never heard of the word which is used to describe people whose joints move beyond the usual range of movement. It is quite a common condition in children and they are often called double-jointed, or simply very flexible. Hypermobility also brings with it what are commonly referred to as 'growing pains' (aches felt by children in their legs) and also means sufferers tire quickly.

I had of course noticed Jasmin's amazing flexibility but I had been telling myself all babies were the same. Yet this combined with Jasmin's lack of strength in her legs was the telltale sign for the doctor that Jasmin was hypermobile.

My task now is to ensure Jasmin is active as possible as this is the way she will strengthen her muscles. It is likely that she will walk late and crawl late - if she does indeed crawl. I will need to buy her incredibly supportive shoes, with inbuilt arches and ankle supports, and as she gets older, activities such as ballet, gymnastics, swimming and tennis will help build up the strength she needs.

The doctor stressed to me that hypermobility was common, was that Jasmin probably wouldn't need physiotherapy as long as I could keep her active and strong, and that as she grew older, the condition was likely to be an advantage. Professional athletes were often hypermobile, she added - with footballers often being hypermobile in their hips and tennis players often being hypermobile in their shoulders.

I feel like I have a lot to take in, but then, parenting is never easy nor what you expect. Jasmin is happy and knows she is loved to the ends of the earth. She might walk later than other children - but other than that she is healthy.

I left the doctor's surgery feeling shell-shocked and sad for Jasmin - I don't want her to miss out on adventures and exploration because she can't move off a seated positon. Now I've had time to think though I've put all of this in persepctive. When Jasmin turns one next week, there won't be a little girl in London who could be loved any more or feel any happier. That's more important than how old she is when she takes her first steps.

Kiran Chug is a mother of two and writes regularly for Essential Mums. You can also follow her on Twitter or read more on her blog, Mummy Says.

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