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Is Your Baby Ready to Sit Up?

babytummyYour baby shouldn’t be placed in a seated, upright position until they can assume that position on their own. Otherwise, it can place undue stress on their spine. That’s because the essential spinal curves have not yet developed.

Generally, babies begin sitting up between four and seven months of age. That’s quite a large time frame. This can prompt some parents to rush the process, wanting to be sure their baby’s development is on schedule.

But each child develops at his or her own pace. And one of the most important factors for learning to sit up is developing head control. The essential body awareness necessary for head control begins during tummy time.

What Is Tummy Time?

Tummy time is when your baby is awake and spending time on its stomach. This position helps your baby strengthen essential neck, back, and shoulder muscles. This is an important developmental milestone. Without this strength, motor skills may be delayed.

Some babies get upset or fussy when being on their stomach. This can possibly indicate an underlying digestive or spinal issue.
A few tummy time tips are: Give the baby plenty of time after feeding before putting them on their tummy. Don’t leave them alone on their stomach. Work up to longer periods of time. Also give them free unrestricted time on their back so they can explore moving in that way.

Some parents are tempted to intercede with any one of a number of jumping seats, baby swings, walkers and similar devices. The semi-reclined position of such baby gear makes holding their head steady and acquiring sitting skills much more difficult.

“It’s no substitute for floor time,” observes Dr. Kim Stetzel. “Babies may seem to express amusement or enjoyment, but these devices can actually delay or prolong the development and strengthening of their muscles.”

Besides preventing them from learning how to use their hands to lift and turn themselves, these devices often restrict movement. Or, at the other extreme, permit movements such as jumping which creates undue stresses on hip joints are not yet ready for weight bearing.

Setting the Stage For Crawling

Unrestricted movement sets the stage for a huge developmental milestone – crawling. Crawling is very important for both spinal and brain development. The cross crawl pattern strengthens the connections between the two sides of the brain, while the spinal curves strengthen and develop to be able to support proper weight bearing.

Rushing the baby to walk before they are ready can also create problems in the long run. Give your baby time to move, grow and strengthen their spine, joints and neurological control!

Is your baby growing, learning and developing? If you have questions or want the very best for your child, see Dr. Stetzel at Branchville Family Chiropractic. With so many choices and decisions to make, it’s reassuring to know you’ll find an empathetic ear and years of compassionate experience. Give us a call today at (973) 948-5556.

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