Sitting; a development milestone worth waiting for!

Infants develop their physical, social and emotional skills at different rates. Ask most parents and they will tell you that one of their children walked at 9 months while the other walked at 15 months.

One child sat at 5 months while the other didn’t sit until they were 10 months. One child spoke their first word at 7 months and the other not until they were nearly two.

What often happens is in a misguided attempt to help their child achieve their milestones successfully parents often aid or encourage their children to hold postural patterns they are not physically or neurologically ready for. Sitting is a typical example of an activity that is often encouraged too early by many parents. The use of moulded seats and upright play consoles by infants that are unable to otherwise sit (as they haven’t yet reached that level of skeletal and neurological development) are to be avoided. These products are available in most baby shops and are often promoted as being beneficial for your baby’s development may actually be harmful to the development of your baby’s spine and nervous system.

From birth your nervous system is wired for survival and adaptation. This allows the infant to survive in the outside world. There are reflexes to help the baby find its way to its mothers breast to feed, reflexes for protection if the baby is startled, and reflexes to help the baby coordinate eye movements and hand movements to enable it to bring its hands to its mouth.

Babies eventually need to learn to hold themselves upright against gravity to allow them to walk. In order for this to happen brain, nerves, muscles, ligaments, bones and tendons need to develop correctly. The process is extremely complex. However, it’s comforting to know that humans have followed this process and learned to walk for millennia and by the time children reach 18months of age 95% of them will be able to walk.

In the months leading up to a child being able to sit themselves up correctly they will have developed the proper curve in their neck, their back and core muscle groups will be working, and they will have developed a sense of equilibrium. All of these are important for the next step in the developmental process, crawling. Without the child being given the chance to hone these skills and develop well physically, poor crawling patterns or no crawling may occur. Bum shuffling, one arm commando crawling, and the double arm pull crawling patterns are examples of poor movement patterns that may indicate a developmental step has been skipped.

The chiropractic assessment of babies is particularly focussed on their development and their movement patterns. Poor movement patterns are associated with poor cognition/learning and spatial awareness as well as coordination. The correction of poor movement patterns using home based exercise and specific paediatric chiropractic adjustments is the aim of the chiropractor allowing your child to thrive.

Most importantly, your child is born with the ‘blue print’ for their development within them. While trauma may interfere with this, it seems more likely that in our eagerness to see our children develop we try too hard and end up getting in their way.

Chiropractic helps to remove the blockages that hinder your child from developing to their full potential.