We are the sum total of all of our movements—everything adding up to the adult that moves through the world. It begins in the womb – mal-positioned babies can come out with issues can easily effect their posture and development. From birth, so many factors play into who we become. Injuries, illnesses and structural issues as well as a lack of activity are just some of the things that can happen in early childhood, as well as throughout life, to affect our adult posture.
Over the last couple of days I have been writing about tummy time and bucket babies and co-sleeping— things I have lots of opinions about. So here is one more to finish up the week. Let your babies find their own way into their movement patterns.
There are many contraptions out there to make a parent’s life easier depending on your perception of ease. The Exersaucer and Bumbo seats are just two that come to mind. They can make a parent’s life easier because once a baby is stuck within there ain’t no getting out. But what does this do for the baby?
If no one ever tells you that you shouldn’t sit or stand up a baby until it can do so by itself, there is no reason that you wouldn’t do those things. A baby that stands on your lap and looks into your eyes looks happy even if he or she shouldn’t be putting weight into their legs.
My wife and I consciously let my kids flail around on the floor as they made their way through the initial stages of movement. Having never been sat up by us, at right about six months of age, my daughter went from hands and knees and rocking a lot, to sitting up by herself. Three days later she started crawling. Are the two incidents connected? I’ll never know and by the time my son showed up I barely paid any attention to his milestones (so sad).
The logic behind not sitting babies up is that they should do as many things on their own as possible. A baby that is propped up before its time has no idea how it got into that position and has no way to get out. A baby that sits itself up has experienced a moment of pure empowerment and accomplishment. Getting there on one’s own is as important as sitting up itself.
I can extrapolate this outside of movement to another parenting choice. My wife and I chose not to tell our kids to say please and thank you all the time. In fact we never told them to say anything concerning politesse and lo and behold they have turned into fairly polite children. The same goes for movement—let the find their own way and they will find natural and embodied patterns that are likely to serve them for life.Sitting babies up in not the best approach to developmental movement. Do your best to get out of your child’s way and let come into their own on their own.