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Reasons NOT to walk babies

7 months

Indeed, it's easy to understand the urge to walk babies. 

After all, they seem to like it so much. When we help our babies walk, they are gleefully entertained — enjoying us enjoying them — while we’re getting a preview of one's major milestones. Sometimes we’re compelled to walk our babies because we think they need help developing their motor skills and believe it our duty to teach them.

So, why rain on this innocent parade and suggest not walking babies?

  1. Body wisdom Only a baby knows just the way his joints should align. In other words, when it comes to motor development, babies are self-learners — they really do know best. By holding a baby’s hands to mobilize him, position and reposition his body, we hinder his natural ability to find balance, sense spatial relations, and judge what he can and cannot do. Better to trust our babies to walk when they are ready, and by doing so encourage mental and physical awareness.
  2. Safety Awareness and safety go hand-in-hand, and walking babies makes them less aware — gives them a false sense of balance and of their abilities — which can be dangerous. But babies who are given freedom to move and develop in their own way gain a self-knowledge that keeps them safer. Their inner sense of balance and judgment intact, movements are carefully calculated, and they tend to make fewer reckless moves.
  3. Habits, dependencies Walk babies, and they’ll probably want to do it again and again. Not only does this create an unhealthy dependence on an adult for body balancing, it makes a habit of an activity that the baby will likely be much more interested in continuing (and doing far more often) than we are. Babies are extremely fond of repetition, so that it will cause lots of uncomfortable situations and conflicts!
  4. Thwarts independent playThe walking habit creates an unnecessary and unproductive dependency on the adult for entertainment. Engaging the parent to repeat the activity becomes a distraction when the child could be happily working on developing motor skills his way, or engaged in other more educational, creative and exploratory self-generated activities.
  5. RestrictiveAlthough we probably believe that our well-intentioned manipulation of a baby is helping him learn to move freely, we are actually restricting him (just as we do when propping him to sit and holding him to stand). Babies need lots of practice moving freely to attain new skills. It is best to encourage that freedom and trust them to be inner-directed. Only babies know what they are ready to do and what they’re working on.
  6. Trust + Mastery = Self-Confidence! Basic trust in our baby means allowing him to drive his development. When a baby feels our trust and is allowed to experience his appropriate self-chosen struggles and then eventually to own his independent accomplishments (like walking), self-confidence is nurtured. Instead of, “Now I can finally do it without daddy’s hands holding me.” It’s “Wow, look what I can do!”

Make photos with your baby, upload to the App. Write about his/her current development - what the little one can do independently, without your support.

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