Naturally Strong Baby

It’s not often that I rant. At least out side of my head, anyway. Today, two things have inspired this blog. First is that blog list I’m working off of, which says “Write a Negative Post.” I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but a rant feels right for this category. The second was a recent comment on The Great Chime Puncher, from a physical therapist specializing in kids. And I want to start of by saying that I completely respect this individual’s post and good will even though I am using her comment to make a point. The issue I have is not with the therapist, but with the set of knowledge given as curriculum for the academic programs of therapy, human development, etc.

In response to my “baby chime exercise” and diaper recommendations during play time:

Far more important for kids with low tone is tummy time. It’s the activation of muscles in this position that serves to connect the 4 inner core muscles (respiratory diaphgram, pelvic floor, transversus abdominis and multifidus) together with the other postural or outer core muscles.

Also, far more than diaper/no diaper, it’s the actual skeletal developmental biomechanics of the hip that create the restriction at this age. Tummy time when they are babies, well-rounded physical activity as they grow and less sitting are what the brain and the skeleton need for a lifetime of good alignment and function.”

While there were other aspects of the post I didn’t jive with, it was really the last sentence of the comment that moved me to post today. The notion that these items — tummy time, well-rounded physical activity, and less sitting — are presented as all the human body needs for correct development is a huge oversimplification for therapists and parents. There is much more a developing human needs than these three items. And note: This is not about manipulating variables to create a physically superb child, or about being an over-zealous parent.  So many books and websites talk about letting a child develop in a natural way. I couldn’t agree more. But the big, huge, gray, wrinkly, ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM is that we do not live in nature — and what we are calling “natural development” is actually extremely stunted and limited based on our modern lifestyles.

If I were to make a much more specific list of what babies and then kids need, it would look a lot more like this:

1. To be carried as an infant, everywhere, in the arms of another human.

Not in a stroller. Not in a sling. Not in any contraption that prevents the infant from doing its own work. Have you ever seen any baby transport device growing on a tree? I didn’t think so. Why not the stroller? There are huge biological activities happening in development that require human-to-human communication that goes beyond words. This can only happen with proximity. Second, no human (at any age) can develop musculature without resistance. They need to feel their body against gravity in order to develop their brain (and proprioception) to set the muscles at the correct lengths.  Baby-wearing is also a huge market with tons of products, all advertising their better positioning for better development. Well, unfortunately, human muscle doesn’t develop based on position. Position is passive. If I casted a part of your body into an optimal position for healing (think casting a broken leg) this ensures that the bones set evenly but the casting actually promotes muscle atrophy (shrinking) — not muscle development.

Now I love baby wearing more than strollers, because at least you’ve got the closeness and a more upright posture. But there is something much better than baby wearing, and that is baby carrying.

Why don’t we do that? Probably because we are too weak (most women aren’t strong enough to carry the weight of the pregnancy, hence the back pain and hip problems), or too inconvenient. How can you use your iPhone and carry your baby? Very carefully, I can tell you from experience.

2. To be carried, often.

It’s not enough to hold the baby now and then (like, well most of the time the baby is on the ground/crib/bed). Physical anthropological data shows that women used to walk 800-900 miles per year carrying their babies. These kids didn’t have flopping heads either. All it takes is the careful carrying of your baby for the first month or two to help the child develop correct motor skill and strength to support their hefty head.

3. No shoes.

No human should be wearing footwear but least of all developing children. I know we all don’t live in Africa, so put some socks on the kid when it’s cold, but correct development of sensory nerves in the feet require unique surfaces to feel with their foot-skin. And when it comes to walking, nothing on the feet that would cause a baby to lose traction. The correct gait pattern has a pushing-back motion that should develop. Guess why most of us don’t have it? Slippery socks on a wood or linoleum floor. Baby jumpers, and those round things that babies sit in to push themselves around? Baby walkers? What are those called? Those prevent natural gait development because they turn off the reflex for doing it “biologically best” and replace it with another computer program.

4. Cultivate the gripping reflex.

Babies have a reflex that allows them to grip onto something and hold their body weight. As babies pass the first couple of months, they should begin to hang on to your body while walking. (Which is really cool!) This makes it less work for the baby-holder (especially when you have a 3-month, 17-pounder) and helps the baby develop the muscles that hold the shoulder blades down — the same motor skill that is needed in opening up the muscles between the ribs which improves oxygen intake. (Children with respiratory issues should be working on their ability to hold their body weight with their arms!)

5. Encourage squatting.

Westerners have less hip and knee ranges of motion than anyone else in the world. Be wary of studies that list “what humans can do with their knees and hips” based on data collection from Western populations. We’re all jacked up in the body and the scary thing is, our academic texts are starting to confuse “normal” with “natural.”

6. Get rid of your furniture.

Do you have a kiddie table and chairs? Raise up the table for a standing play/work area and toss the chairs. Why would we teach our kids to sit? Really?

7. Start advocating for the removal of chairs and the use of standing tables in the classroom. Feel free to use this:

Dear Teacher,

Please excuse Bobby from sitting today. Research shows that sitting increases the risk of death from heart disease. I am hoping that your school does not advocate heart disease and am providing the standing table for my kid.

Signed,

Concerned Parent.

P.S. Please don’t roll your eyes at my request, talk about me in the teacher’s lounge, or write off my completely science-based and logical request. I know that you know sitting isn’t healthy. Who’s going to be the first person to do something about it?

8. As soon as your kids can walk, keep them walking.

There is nothing that gets me more fired up (ok, so it turns out that I do rant a lot!) than seeing a parent strap their walking-aged child into a stroller so Parent can get their exercise. What’s the message there? You sit and be still so I can get some health on? Ok, strike that. What gets me more fired up than that is the same situation, only the kid is eating a bag of Funions (a child-friendly bag of onion-flavored, onion-shaped hydrogenated-oil laced snack. Nice.)

I saw this one time on the beach walking path, I swear I did. W.T.H???  All humans require long-distance walking to develop the optimal amount of bone, shoulder biomechanics, respiratory function,  digestion, etc. Not playing and not doing other forms of exercise, but walking. Kids can do play too, for sure, but it doesn’t replace walking. Riding their bikes doesn’t replace walking. Playing an exercise-video game doesn’t replace walking. Biology has laws of specificity and there are physiological tasks that don’t happen unless under the particular mechanical stresses and strains upright walking creates. (More on kids walking.)

All right. I could go on and on. But writing out a rant has a wonderful way of removing steam (try it sometime!) And, I think that there’s enough here to work with, don’t you?

Thanks for listening. My bigger issue is always this: We have gotten so modernized and technologically savvy, and our cultural message is so ingrained that we fail to stop and consider the most fundamental aspects of being human.

Ok. The end. And, thanks to everyone for reading, and posting. Especially to the lady who so graciously commented to get today’s post going. I am thankful you posted.

Respectfully yours,

Katy A. Bowman

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52 thoughts on “Naturally Strong Baby

  1. I totally 100% agree with everything you said and practice all of it to the best of my ability with my kid, who is 5 1/2 and is either barefoot or in Vibrams or aquasocks 95% of the time. (All measurements approximate) Although I do admit to having used a stroller – you can fit more groceries in the bottom of a stroller than in a backpack, and it is folly to attempt to walk home from the grocery store carrying bags without a hand free to grab your toddler. Folly, I say! You are right that we do not live in a natural setting – sadly our unnatural setting includes things like cars. So, while I might have liked my small creature to walk to the grocery store, practicality dictated that if I wanted to purchase a decent amount of food AND arrive home with food and baby intact, a stroller was a good idea. And better than taking the car, right???

    I would also like to point out though that we used a sling when the creature was a baby precisely BECAUSE it allowed her to move around on her own and “stand up” and develop balance and strength. She hit all her “physical development” milestones early and has always been remarkably graceful and athletic (NOT genetic, I assure you). Slings and other forms of “long strip of fabric wrapped around you and baby in some manner” have to be one of the earliest tools invented by humans – I mean, you can make one out of rabbit skins pretty easily, I can’t see that humans would be all flint-knife-making and fur-wearing and NOT knock one of those out. And we’ve been doing toolmaking things for a good hundred thousand years or so. So, while I am ALL for baby-carrying and I encourage all my clients to do it as much as possible both for their babies’ benefits and their own, I don’t think that slings or wraps are unnatural detrimental. Also, carrying a *sleeping* baby without a carrier? gah. Damn things flop EVERYWHERE and you feel so crappy when you whack their little heads on stuff.

    1. There is no wrong way, it’s just important that we have the correct information to choose what works best for us as parents, etc. And if you can’t carry all the time (there are benefits to mom’s health on this one too) then you baby-wear. And there’s time when a stroller might be the only option. It sounds like you are doing some amazing things!

      I think I’d die if I knocked the little man’s head! OMG. 🙂

      1. You WILL knock your little guy. Or drop him, or slam his fingers in a car door (my mom did that one to me!). It happens. Everyone does unspeakably horrible things to their children by mistake – we’re all human, fallible, and clumsy! Most of the time they emerge mostly unscathed, except for minor scars that make for good party stories when they’re older.

  2. Well, good, I’ll feel a little less silly about feeding my toddler most of his meals standing in his helper tower rather than sitting at the table.

    1. Lol… my son ate the same way. He preferred it, but I surely felt awful for not sitting down at a table for meals. So yay! More island meal eating for us. 🙂

  3. I have to admit I’m a little surprised at #1. I trust you know what you’re talking about so I want to hear more. How on earth do hunter gatherers get all that… hunting and gathering done with babes in arms? I’ve tried gardening and shoveling dog poo (trying to think of something natural, not loading a dishwasher or swapping laundry from washer to dryer LOL) with kiddo in arms and it doesn’t work as well as with a cloth carrier of some kind.

    1. Frankly, the *all natural* way is practically impossible. Remember that HGathering populations were large groups of people that shared the work of raising kids. I’m not actually suggesting that people give up baby wearing, or whatever other habit they have that works for them, but to understand that there is a *optimal* way. I don’t always hold my baby, I wore him often when he was little so I could continue to keep him on me 24/7 (he was never put down for the first 30 days of his life), but I also made sure I took walks holding him. I can’t do it all of the time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t not do it at all 😉

  4. Our kids can’t walk as a far as we do yet, so we have a stroller which they can choose to go into when they need a rest, granted they don’t stay in there long! LOL. Much more fun to be out walking apparently! My 3 year old can almost walk a mile at a fairly quick pace. It will be fun to see how this increases over time. In the meantime, I just got some vibram 5 fingers and am completely in loooooove! I see a big collection of these in my future. LOL!

  5. You know, this might be the justification I need to buy one of the Petunia Pickle Bottom Ergos!!! 🙂 I mean, to wear the baby in the Ergo all the time in summer means it gets sweaty, but if one has a second one there can always be one in the wash, right?

    I jest, but ok, FINE, I WILL TRY WALKING WITH THE BABY ON ME. As if it wasn’t enough that I’m turning my toes in, pushing off the balls of my feet, and trying to keep my butt sticking out. And the first time I tried to walk with the feet turned in properly my calf cramped and I had to limp home. It was funny, actually.

    (And not at all related – I didn’t even believe you about the menstrual cramping and leg stretching but it TOTALLY WORKS. When I start to feel any cramping I do the calf stretch and it immediately makes it better. Crazy!)

  6. Chldren know don’t they? ds loves to be bare footed, to stand whle eating, to squat (properly) and to realise that the furniture is better for jumpng on and off rather than sitting – shame he has to practice his gipping reflexes on my boobs though…..

    1. Haha my son is the exact same way! he would rather stand while doing anything! We’ve had to teach him to sit when out at restaurants and things like that. And he uses me as a jungle gym most of the time. lol

  7. Another Home Run blog!! I do like your writing style! It makes the critical information fun AND informative!

    Keep up the good work on all fronts!!

  8. I love the letter to the teacher. I would totally be the parent who would write that note if I didn’t homeschool my kids…which is probably why I homeschool my kids!

  9. LOVE this post. it’s so relevant to my life right now *L* And bolsters my confidence in the way I’m bringing up my baby. We never put her down when she was born either. Only at night (when she slept at my breast) or from time to time during a nap (thought she frequently slept on me, in a sling). And maybe she’d spend 10 or 15 minutes a day laying on the rocking chair kicking her feet against her favorite blanket I slung over the back of it. She could hold up her head almost always, and was sitting totally unassisted by 4 months. see?

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150338565015543.580348.764650542&type=1#!/photo.php?fbid=10150383182080543&set=a.10150338565015543.580348.764650542&type=1&theater

    I did use a sling and still do, but I didnt’ “coddle” her in it. I kindof expected that she would hold on, hold her self up right in it, and hold her head up. I only supported her when I was bending over so she woudln’t fall out! Anyways, thanks for the awesome post. I feel so lucky to have found your blog to be getter all this rad info for both myself and my baby. Now that she stands she spends most of her time standing. I assume when she can walk in a month or so she’ll spend most of her time walking. i can’t wait for that, becuase i love to walk and walk and walk. it’ll be so nice to have a walking buddy again. (My mother loves to walk, but we live in different provinces). Thank your son for doing us all a solid and being so cool so you can keep posting even though you have a little mini to take care of 🙂

  10. Great article! I hope you continue to remove steam in this way until your baby is school age. I remember going on a field trip with my middle daughter, Michelle. We walked from Blanche Reynolds School to the beach, a walk my 3 kids and I did a couple days a week at least. It can’t be more than a mile or 2, but you should have seen all the red-huffing-puffing-sweaty-whiny-complaining faces! I was horrified that 3rd graders can’t walk. And you could see them trying, the little bodies just weren’t conditioned, and the determination was fierce. I believe your angst will create the culture change needed to get parents to get those little bodies moving, thank you!

  11. Katy can you talk more to the sling, wrap and ergonomic carrier issue? When you see photos from Africa, S. America etc…. you almost always see native peoples w/ a child strapped to their back. It seems like the front carry is mostly a nursing carry.

    I am confused as to how the sling doesn’t allow the child to experience gravity? But then again my son insisted on squirmming his head so far out of it and letting it loll that I constantly had concerned people trying to cram him back in or get me to do so. The Ergo w/o using the hood straps should also allow the baby’s head to flop wherever it will.

    1. I can talk (and will talk) more in a bit. I’ve got this little baby and everything 😉 It’s important to remember that native people does not equal hunter-gathering populations. There is a huge difference between the health of populations that migrate and populations that are stationary. I am speaking of migrating populations of which there are very few and none left that are pure HGatheres.

      And, we are all experiencing gravity all the time (even lying down) but there is a position that lines up the force of gravity vector with how the muscles adapt to support the skeleton optimally. Kids sitting in chairs all day are experiencing gravity, but not relative to how much they weigh. That’s why their skeleton collapses a portion when they stand. Being upright and walking is how to develop the correct quantities of muscle force for the mass and shape of the body.

      Using baby wearing devices certainly aren’t HURTING a child and are far superior than total passive devices, but they are not equal to baby holding. You can compare the baby’s body position at each joint in a device to being held and see how much support the device is offering and compare it to how much the unsupported baby would have to begin working to be self-supportive. The baby learns the eventually, but it is nature’s design to get this done ahead of our modern schedule.

      And, one fixed position only targets the same set of muscles over and over. If babies were carried, they would be constantly shifting to deal with personal muscle fatigue and the baby could develop all sorts of motor program.

      And, the bigger issue with not baby holding is in regards to parent health. Not being able to hold your baby long distances says much more about your level of health than it does the child’s. The motor patterns of arm contraction are part of the natural lymph cleansing at the armpit, part of the forces that aid in milk production, etc. If you’re not holding your baby for a chunk of time, you miss out on what those muscles are supposed to be doing to support mama and baby health.

      Help with understanding at all?

      1. Thanks that does help. I’m not sure I agree w/ the sling/soft pack as being a fixed position but I will be able to do my own experiments w/ that in a few more weeks. 🙂

        1. Yah, not fixed in a 100% way, but meaning the apparatus sets the boundaries of the skeleton – not the baby’s musculature. If you can put your baby in holder, evaluate skeletal position, and then imagine the apparatus being removed, would the baby still be in that position? Or would he/she fall in a particular direction? “Feeling gravity” means, when being held if a baby leans back to far there is a reflex that causes a stabilizing contraction. Walls prevent this righting reflex from happening. Also, abdominal musculature fires 100% only when the pelvic bowls is oriented perfectly to the ribcage (two, opposing parallel rings) and those rings are also oriented perpendicular to gravity (or, parallel to the floor). Holding is the only way you can optimize this position as well as offer the chance for a baby to right his/herself. The earliest motor programs are very difficult to reset, which is why, if you can get the natural ones (they promote correct geometry on the structural and cellular level) to lie down first, then the ailments as an adult (osteoporosis, osteroarthritis, diabetesII, tendonitis’) can be extremely mitigated. Have fun experimenting! (P.S. there are an insane amount of joint kinetics going on – try just evaluating the pelvis, rib cage, and spine for neutral…)

  12. So let me get this straight. After I spend an hour chasing my little one at the playground, and then another hour with little one at gymnastics where they are jumping, climbing, tumbling, walking, running, and the like, I should be ashamed for putting my child in the jogging stroller for a nap from all that activity so i can get my excersize in so i can be a healthy mom and live a long life for my child? Baloney. I think it is posts like this that make moms think that they must fully sacrifice themselves to their child without giving themselves a second thought-that they are selfish for ever thinking about taking care of themselves. We should look at a mom jogging with a stroller and be envious. Running with a stroller is hard work. Good for her!

    1. I’m sorry you felt badly after reading this post. No one should EVER feel bad for wanting to take care of their health (at all!) And if you are using nap time to get your movement in, that’s awesome. But this is a natural movement, natural development blog — not a modern how-to blog about exercise and fitness. I present human science (biology, biomechanics, anthropology) as a model. There was a time when people were healthy and well and fit, and they did it together as a large group, as opposed to the current model of trying to fit into stress as opposed to changing it!

      I, personally am not envious of the mom running with the jogger. And the notion that I should feel envious seems like a comment designed to make those who value a natural lifestyle feel bad. Running with a stroller is hard work, for sure. And so is walking and carrying a baby, for sure. Neat thing is, we get to choose what we read and what we do for health.

      1. We sure do. Which is why I try to educate myself about all sorts of topics, including natural development and movement. I am aware that carrying a baby and walking is hard work-I am an avid babywearer and carrier. I think that this comment: “And the notion that I should feel envious seems like a comment designed to make those who value a natural lifestyle feel bad.” is made to make those of us who do jog and exersize seem UNnatural somehow. How condescending and insulting. I did not feel badly after reading your post. Your words are not that powerful. I was simply hoping to eliminate some of the ignorance in the world. Oh well.

        Bottom line, if your blog is “a natural movement, natural development blog — not a modern how-to blog about exercise and fitness” than don’t go off about jogging with a stroller. You obviously know nothing about it.

        1. Sorry that I went off on the stroller mom. I said it was a rant at the beginning! And I realize that we aren’t living in a natural world and that people have to make unnatural choices most of the time!
          The thing is, I DO know about jogging and strollers and what those forces to the joints of the knees and the hips and what running with two arms out in front of you does to the mechanics of the spine (as opposed to swinging naturally.)
          I guess I am confused that you post with a tone that I perceive as irritated (but it’s really hard to tell with typing, so I could be wrong), calling the post condecending that I am calling jogging with a stroller unnatural, when jogging with a stroller is unnatural (unnatural means “not found in nature — not good or bad. And “exercise” is not found in nature, but movement is.)
          And the bigger (bigger) message is that we are taking kids to classes and ourselves to classes and it is not the biological, anatomical, physiological, biomechanical, or metabolic equivalent to walking. That’s all I’m saying. If you want to run with a stroller, that’s cool man. I am just present the science behind the differences in fitness and exercise and natural movement. Pick what you want to do. And in addition to degrees in biomechanics, I also have them in exercise science and kinesiology, so I know fitness man. Which is why I post on it. I love fitness, actually, but you have to do both. The long walk with the kids, then the Zumba.
          But, I stand by my Funion statement. If there’s anyone out there that can help me see that differently, bring it on!!!

          1. Oh man, I stand by your funion comment too. One of these days I won’t be able to bite my tongue about that!

  13. Great post, thanks!

    I remember visiting Cairo last year and noticing that moms of babies ( they were 1 year-ish) held the babies on top of their shoulders – no strollers, no slings. (I’m not sure if that is the way it is done there, but it was for these ladies). The way the babies held themselves reminded me so much of our primate cousins, it was really striking. They certainly looked like they had physical capability beyond what I would usually expect for a baby that age. And of course the moms were standing up straight, too.

    Now, how to blend healthy practices of natural human mechanics with the demands (and advantages) of modern life….. : >

          1. That’s cool — I wonder if there are photos of younger babies too. I’ll look around 😉
            Thanks for the post!

      1. Yes, you can carry younger child on your shoulders. In Bulgaria this is the dad’s thing,but I also do it often. We started carrying our girl this way sometime before her first birthday and she was really enjoying it. At first I was scared that she may not be stable or can fall, but my husband persuaded me otherwise by trials. He tried bending forward and backward and sideways while she was on his shoulders and she never moved away from him – by recruiting her core and by holding on to his head with her hands. Of course, his hands were on her ankles all the time.Also, he tried pushing her back and lifting his arms up, while holding her ankles only, until she was hanging head down on his back – the baby was OK with that too. And it totally convinced me that this safe way for carrying.
        A bonus you get – it’s not really easy to rib-thrust while carrying a child on your shoulders. Somehow you feel you’d push her over the edge if you do…
        Another bonus – it’s fun for the kid. You can pretend to be a horse and walk faster, they enjoy the rough walk. Also, bending sideways, forward or backward you challenge their balance and they take it as a game.

  14. I wish my kid’s school would get rid of the chairs! Maybe that should be my issue to tackle. Every night my 11 and 12 year olds complain of how much their necks and shoulders hurt. I wish they would sit up straight but it isn’t easy, right, and they end up hunched over a desk for five hours a day. And then they cut PE time in half! That’s my rant.. Thanks, Katy. Your rant is inspiring me 🙂

    1. Carpet time is also awful. I’ve noticed when the teacher reads to my first grader’s class that every single child is hunched forward.

      We mounted a chin-up bar 1/2 way up our kitchen doorway at first just so the kids could have a monkey bar in the house. But now I and the kids use it for standing push-ups and tie an exercise band around it for shoulder exercises.

  15. ok so I have to add a bit too..as you know when I choose to walk with my kids ( all four) they all have different paces and different agendas on the trail. James is into squatting and looking at nature on the ground. Owen is usually looking for trees to climb and Cole and Rae are usually racing ahead in race form to see who can cover most ground. So that leaves me to convince James to come along while trying to convince Owen to get down so we can walk and hollering at the big kids to come back so they don’t get too far ahead. So in this case mom is not getting any good walk in. So I have no problem having a stroller along so once they are done doing their things…I can put them in, give them a snack ( not funyons) and actually get some ground covered and I can tell you that I don’t feel bad to do that and then we are all happy!

    1. I forgot to put that H&Gathering populations only have one kid at a time, and don’t have another until the second is about four (and walking) so a stroller is pretty much a requirement when it is one parent on two or more! In fact, there is probably no safe way to walk with a herd of kids unless a stroller is available as little ones with various endurance poop out.

  16. I am curious what you think about pediatric OMT. My son’s pediatrician is an M.D., but after her own experience with OMT following a car accident and no relief through physical therapy, she went to an Osteopathic med school to get her OMT training for peds.

    She first performed OMT on my son the day after he was born. My mom, who is a nurse and was a fan of D.O.’s, had never seen this done on an infant before. After the OMT session, my mom said that she had never seen a newborn move his head so much or so far.

    The reason why I ask in response to this post is because my son seemed to hit all his motor skill milestones early. Of course we tried to provide as natural of an environment for him as well, meaning infant carrying, bare feet, and lots of outdoor time on the grass. At 61/2, he only wears shoes when we have to go somewhere requiring them or the weather is too cold for bare feet outdoors.

    1. I love osteopathic treatments. There is a huge, allopathic-neglected tissue system called fascia that should be ground-zero for dealing with any sort of motor program/musculoskeletal injury! If I had another life (after I finished a PhD in physical anthropology) would be to get a DO…

  17. Any suggestions on keeping your hip from sticking out when carrying the baby? i always have carried the baby on my left hip (leaves my right hand available for using) and now my left hip is higher than my right, thus throwing my spine all crazy and making me feel like I’m running sideways when I run (and I AM!) and probably causing some of my sciatic issues, as well. I carry him a lot, though, and it’s really starting to take a toll. Is there a “proper” way to carry my 25 lb baby/toddler that I’m unaware of?

    1. This is what I was wondering too. My son is 10 weeks & 16lbs so he’s a bit of a chunky monkey too. I carry him almost all the time in a wrap or sling so I would be interested in how to carry him properly in arms so as to not throw my back out of alignment with a hip carry or create a curvature in my upper back by carrying him in front.

      thanks for the great info!!

      (p.s. LOVED the windchime post!! such timely info when my babe is just a few weeks younger than yours!)

        1. awesome! Attempts at holding him more without hip jutting or back hunching have so far just left me barfed on repeatedly today…. lol

  18. I do like it when I read posts that echo what I do as a parent – makes me feel all sparkly inside 😉

    Seriously though, although I am doing most of this stuff it does occur to me that I am encouraging my daughter to sit more now which is the opposite of what I should be doing. She loves squatting, does it all the time to see things on the floor, pick them up etc… will get my squats on with her I think!

  19. Thanks for this post. Seems the baby-carrying vs. baby-wearing is the most discussed and it is what I find very difficult, too.

    What if you have more than one child? How would you do it then? You never have a hand for the second child? Or the other children?

    I don’t think that’s good then.

    But you are right that it is good to use it as a practice from time to time so your muscles grow with baby.

    But then if you carry a big baby like my second one around all day and try to get stuff done – you are not properly aligned most of the time because it just is not possible with the work you have to do..

    1. Well, baby carrying is what earlier peoples did, but so was only having one kid about every four years, so if you’ve got more than one, you’ll have to *modify*. I’m not really against anything, but am for taking walks with developing kids (first few months) in arms so they get the best core strength possible. I’ve got a 25 pounder that we carry when we’re out (but we also have 2 adults home all of the time which is also very Paleo-people style). Just add little bits now and then.

      Also, big picture – once kids can walk, they should be walking as much as possible, which will help when you have a couple. And if you do a lot of in-arm time, they tend to walk faster than when not…

  20. Thank you for this post 🙂 My daughter is now almost 10 months (born 25 Feb), and what you describe here is exactly what happend with us two. I used to carry her a lot when younger because she did not like the sling. She was able to hold her head and surprise everyone who saw her before she was even 1 month old. She was 4 months old when her pediatrician showed me how to teach her to sit, and she just stood up on her own. She was 7months old when she was able to hold on to furniture and “walk”, before she could even crawl steadily. Now she is 9 months old, she is soo active around the house, she alternates freely between crawling the open spaces, and walking around furniture, even pushing chairs along as walking props.

    I wish I had discovered your blog earlier, but well I guess it is never too late.

  21. I suspect that my 3-year old has some form of muscle stiffness along the back of his legs, since he seems to have some trouble in sitting with his legs forward, stretched or folded (his tendency is to fold his legs to the side, with his heels pointing outwards), and he rarely squats. I believe I had the same difficulty as a child (and still do). Would you recommend any exercises for children that could counter-act this at an early stage? Thanks!

    1. Well, he’s modeling you, so doing the exercises yourself, around him as he’s developing, is going to be the best for you both! And, I’d do either the Down There or the Hips and Knees as the best 5 exercises for you two.

  22. Thanks for this post. I’m expecting baby #2 in a couple of months I carried or used a Moby-type wrap with my first born, but she wanted to face out from about 3 months on. Now I’m hearing that facing out in most carriers is the worst thing you can do to a child (along with about a thousand other things). What do you think about facing out in carriers? Are there any carriers you recommend for or against? Thanks!

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