Based on O’ahu, Hawai’i, Three Little Ducks Hawaii is ran by Dr. Suma with the goal of helping parents meet their children’s developmental milestones through various forms of classes and pediatric physical therapy. Not only is Dr. Suma a Pediatric Physical Therapist, she is also a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and a Registered Yoga Teacher. She incorporates all of these amazing practices into her classes and treatments, which is why we were so stoked for the chance to learn more about her work and services!
Dr. Suma took the time to answer some of our questions about herself and her business, and we’re so excited to share her answers with you! Keep reading to learn more about why Three Little Ducks Hawaii is such a great resource for you and your baby.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to this field!
Hi! I’m Dr. Suma Metla, pediatric physical therapist and owner of Three Little Ducks.
When I was young, I knew that I wanted a career where I could help people and I’ve always loved working with children. From elementary school through adulthood, I volunteered with Special Olympics and with organizations that promoted physical activity within my communities. Those experiences propelled me into physical therapy and pediatric care.
As a pediatric physical therapist, I have had the pleasure of treating babies and children across ‘Oahu, Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i, and Kauai.
A few fun facts about me:
- I was a competitor in the Scripps National Spelling Bee when I was in 8th grade (yes, the one that airs on ESPN!)
- I performed as a dancer at Walt Disney World for the grand opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- I LOVE ice cream, especially mango ice cream!
What inspired you to start Three Little Ducks and what services do you offer?
I started Three Little Ducks because there is little support in Hawaii for new parents. So many new parents have shared with me that new parenthood can be lonely and overwhelming.
Three Little Ducks was built to create a community for new parents and to support the development of their children. Currently we offer ‘Little Duck and Me’ baby classes, infant massage coaching, pediatric physical therapy, and ‘ohana yoga classes.
Tell us about an infant massage class - what does the class entail and why is it important?
An infant massage coaching session is designed to give parents a deeper understanding of how to safely handle and massage their little one. Parents learn specific techniques to address a variety of concerns such as colic, gastrointestinal distress, and teething. Through infant massage, parents develop a stronger connection with their baby through loving touch. This experience provides parents a nurturing way to further love and bond with their baby during this special time. We take parents by the hand to show them each step and technique to create a peaceful, nurturing massage experience for parent and baby.
What are the benefits of infant massage?
Infant massage presents a wide range of benefits for infants and parents.
- For parents, infant massage promotes confidence with handling an infant, provides quality one-on-one interaction with their infant, and promotes better understanding of their infant’s cues and communication.
- For infants, massage promotes relaxation, promotes sleep, reduces gastrointestinal discomfort, promotes social skills with their caregiver, and increases body awareness.
Tell us about pediatric physical therapy, such as who is a candidate for pediatric physical therapy and what the benefits are.
If you have concerns about your child's gross motor skills, motor milestones, strength, balance, coordination, motor planning, endurance, or gait pattern, a physical therapy evaluation can provide helpful insights and offer solutions/plans to address concerns and ensure the opportunity for your child to achieve success.
Some common diagnoses that I treat are plagiocephaly (flat head), torticollis (when the baby has a preference to turn their head to one side), and delayed motor milestones.
What are some at-home steps parents can take to ensure they are helping their child’s development?
I recommend downloading the CDC Milestone Tracker App. It’s an easy way to keep track of your baby’s development and know what to expect as your baby continues to develop.
Above all, trust your gut! If you feel like something is not right, follow up with a healthcare professional (pediatrician, pediatric physical therapist, pediatric occupational therapist, pediatric speech-language pathologist, or Early Intervention program).
Any advice for new parents hoping to implement the best developmental practices for their baby early on?
Here are some of my top tips that any new parent can do with their baby:
- Start tummy time as soon as you can! It can start as early as the first time you hold your baby in the hospital. Placing your baby on your chest counts as tummy time.
- Talk to your baby! It might seem silly at first, but keep talking to your baby throughout the day. You can tell your baby exactly what you’re doing or describe what you are looking at as you go about your day. It’s a great way to start developing your baby’s communication skills.
- Get on the floor with your baby! Your baby wants to interact with you more than a toy or anything else. If they are on their tummy, get on your tummy so you are face-to-face with your baby.
Your baby wants to look at your face, hear your voice, and feel your love.
Anything else you’d like to share about Three Little Ducks?
Here’s some info on the ‘Little Duck and Me’ classes:
The 'Little Duck and Me' classes are for babies between the ages of 3 months - 15 months. Classes are led by pediatric experts and all the activities are centered around play.
Parents will learn
- strategies to support their baby’s development
- infant equipment/toy recommendations
- tips to make play time fun for infant and adult
- the importance of symmetry with movement
- gain community among parents with same-aged children
Babies will learn
- play skills targeted for their unique stage of infancy
- social skills between parent/caregiver and baby
For more information about Three Little Ducks, visit them at www.threelittleduckshawaii.com and follow them on Instagram/Facebook @threelittleduckshawaii.
*Please note it’s important to consult with your child’s physician to determine the best methods and practices for your child’s development.