QUESTION FROM A READER:
Hello, I just stumbled across your website when looking for things that may help my 8 month old’s posture. He’s a big boy (about 25 1/2 lbs) and very long, and I am concerned that because of this it will affect his posture. He does sit up but not as straight as I would like..is there anything I can do to help him improve it? He gets plenty of tummy time each day, but he also has a walker and jumper…Any advice is greatly appreciated!
REPLY FROM STELLAR CATERPILLAR:
You are a very observant mother. Yes, a larger baby may very well be more challenged with his posture. In general, larger babies may have more difficulty learning motor skills because their body parts weigh more and their limbs are longer to maneuver. Think of it this way, when babies learn the motor skill of lifting the head a baby with a larger head is lifting a heavier weight. Or a larger size baby learning the hands and knees crawling position is supporting much more weight on his limbs than a smaller baby of the same age.
To improve his posture, first eliminate the walker and jumper. By “walker” I assume you mean an “exersaucer.” Please read my posts on “Exersaucer Dangers” and “The Jumper.” By forcing the baby to be in an upright posture his muscles fatigue and tighten up, which pulls his out of a good posture. This pulls him into a forward curved posture.
Tummy-time is the best place for him at this age. He will learn to crawl by being on the floor where his hands and knees are able to discover that when they push against the floor they move him a bit. This is the beginning of crawling and is exactly how a baby learns to crawl. He will also enjoy tummy-time more if you get down on the floor with him and look at him eye-to-eye. He should be able to play on the floor for long periods of time in tummy time. Then he will have perfect posture because the back and neck muscles have become very strong from lifting his head. Have a variety of developmental toys for him to keep his interest while he is in tummy-time. Rattles with different sounds and textures are ideal. Remember that babies love the new and unusual so a collection of toys that feel different from one another and make a variety of sounds will stimulate your son.
The benefits of motor skill play for larger babies is the gracefulness they gain in their nervous system for managing their bodies as they grow through childhood and into adulthood.