👶👶There is a great deal of information out there on tummy time and when certain milestones should be reached for crawling and walking. However, there is very little information on why infant development is so important to postural development. Poor postural development in infants can have huge implications on adult posture, creating not only poor posture, but faulty muscular development. Many parents push their children to walk before crawling and to walk too soon using jumpies and other devices. It is crucial during infant development that infants get lots of tummy time and are allowed to crawl. This is the time they develop their spinal curvatures and integrate their muscles left to right and top to bottom. Make a soft, comfortable play area for your baby to move around in so they can explore their new limbs and develop their posture. According to Paul Chek, numerous postural dysfunctions in adults start in the beginning stages of infant development. When infants are not allowed to crawl or spend time on their tummies, they are unable to develop optimal spinal curvatures and essential motor patterns such as lunges and squats.
The first phase of infant development is the reptilian phase. It is called the reptilian phase, as infants begin to move side to side like a reptile. This phase is needed to develop:
- The cervical curve through pushing up and tummy time.
- Development of lateral movements, similar to the way a reptilian crawls.
- The muscles begin to differentiate and integrate the upper and lower body, as the baby starts to lift their head.
The second phase, is the mammalian phase, which is identified when a child begins to crawl like a mammal. This is the crawl phase, needed for developing left and right sides of the body and upper and lower body integration as well. Further, the shoulder joint develops in this phase of movement, making it more functional and stable.
Special Note: Baby walkers & Jumpies are bad, because infants begin using gait patterns before they have learned to integrate the upper and lower body. In addition, according to Sheppard Spine and Sport, slings are a better alternative to the Baby Bjorn during the first 6 months of an infant’s life, as the Bjorn places a great deal of pressure on the pelvis.
Here is an exert from Harvard Medical School
So why would parents use a baby walker?
Some parents buy them because they think that walkers help babies learn to walk faster. However, the opposite is true: using a walker can delay independent walking. That’s because learning to walk isn’t so much about learning to use your legs. It’s more about learning to pull to stand and then balance and take steps without support. When babies are plopped into walkers, they don’t learn any of that. They learn it by being put on the floor with something they can pull up on, like a couch or a caregiver.
Stay tuned for crawling exercises for Moms to try