I just read your article on infants sitting up on their own. I am a first time mom, and (sadly) I have been propping my baby up to sit since she was months old. I had no idea of the harm I had been doing. She is now almost 8.5 months and can’t yet sit up on her own, or crawl.
I wish I had read your article or even looked into sitting months ago. I feel like such a horrible mom. I can’t believe how much damage I might have done and any more possible delays I may have caused. Do you have any advice for how I can correct this? Any tips on how to get her to sit on her own?
I have been just leaving her on her belly lots, and she will roll over front to back and back to front. She will try to sit up — almost like a crunch or a sit-up — but then falls back on her back and head. Sometimes she will skooch almost around the entire room using her belly as a pivot point and rolling over.
What can I do? I don’t let her sit on the ground anymore – only in my lap to read or in her high chair for meals. I am going to just leave her on the ground until she figures out how to sit up or crawl. I don’t want her to be even more delayed or have any other learning difficulties.
Please help! Is there any way to reverse the harm I have done?
I wouldn’t fret about this a bit, because all I’m hearing here are positives. And even if I did see a problem, I wouldn’t let you beat yourself up for something parents so commonly do. Remember, the parents who understand and are committed to natural gross motor development are still in the minority… and it’s a small minority.
Here’s what sounds great:
1. Seems like your baby is adjusting brilliantly to not being propped to sit.
Whether we are propping our babies to sit or holding their hands to stand or walk them, they will usually complain when we stop doing what they’re used to. Who can blame them for being offended when our services suddenly end?
Happily, it sounds like your little girl is accepting this transition without a fuss. But if there was some grumbling directed your way, a committed, confident attitude and honest acknowledgments of this change would be your best response: “I hear you asking me to pull you up to sit. I know I usually do that with you, but now I’m going to let you move more freely. This is different for you, I know.”
The challenge for parents is seeing that look of disappointment on a child’s face (or what we assume is disappointment) and not being able to deny her what she seems to want or need. But if we continue to prop our children, they can get stuck sitting when they could be on the move – scooting, eventually crawling and sitting of their own volition.
Some propped babies fulfill their desire to mobilize by learning how to scoot on their bottoms, which demonstrates how supremely capable and resourceful they are, but might also mean they’ll skip crawling altogether and miss out on the neural benefits of cross-lateral integration.
2. She’s mobile
Rolling and tummy skooching are perfectly adequate and appropriate ways for an 8.5 month old baby to play, explore, build muscle strength and flexibility — all the things she needs to do to prepare herself for sitting and crawling. Encourage these developments by providing your little roller-girl a safe, enclosed place. Include a few balls, cups, bowls, teething toys and other simple objects or toys. Sit back and enjoy your baby’s self-directed activities and choices. Trust her and try not to interrupt. She’s exactly where she’s supposed to be.
When she does learn to sit autonomously, it will look nothing like a “crunch or a sit-up”, but rather a more fluid transition from lounging on her side or all-fours.
3. She’s not late
Your baby is well within normal range for not yet sitting or crawling, so again, stay this course and revel in it. Take photos, because his period will pass soon. Appreciate your wonderful little girl’s abilities without worry or wishing for more (because young children often sense our worries, and there really is no reason to worry).