Baby is suppose to teach himself.
After a thought provoking conversation that started about baby shoes and somehow moved on to babies teaching themselves to walk, we decided to settle the score and Google it. The idea was to search why good supporting shoes are needed in the first place; from an evolutionary point of view, why shouldn’t babies know how to walk properly therefore making arch-supporting baby-booties obsolete? What we found in our Google search was walking baby by holding both hands and even playing walking games is potentially detrimental to their leg strength and developing fine motor skills. At face value is appears as though this were a failed search attempt. Upon reading this first article, I realized that this was not the question I posed because I did not know to ask it.
Many of the 9 points in this article reflect baby independence and self discovery. Baby knows best and external pressure to achieve milestones early can harm him psychologically as well as physically; nothing is good enough for mom and dad. It reminds me of a Facebook status update a friend of mine had posted. It had something to do with the cry-it-out method and wanting to try it because baby wasn’t sleeping. A friend commented by saying they only sleep because baby looses faith that mom will return, I commented that my baby does not respond to cry-it-out and will cry for hours. I believe it was my friend’s mother that had the best comment of all; “the problem with mother’s these days is that they read too much”. We push baby into reaching goals like sitting early, walking early and sleeping through the night before they are developmentally ready because our culture promotes independence.
While we do not play walking games often, we do take his hand when he is standing and walk him a few steps until he decides he has had enough. We are also guilty of standing him up, waiting until he has found his balance and having the other parent call him to start walking. While this form of play does not affect dependence and fine motor skills so much as forcing him to walk with both hands, we are still pushing him to walk before he has chosen to let go of the furniture.
Below is the Blog entry that has opened our minds to some of the assumptions we make about baby. Be sure to read the comments that were left on her site as they are just as informative as the article itself and please leave your comments here as well