There are many reasons to stop using infant seats to prop a baby up in sitting before she can sit on her own. Many parents are not aware of the health and developmental reasons to avoid using infant seats.
First of all, I totally understand the urge to use infant seats and other devices so your baby can sit up. Babies usually love sitting up to look around at their environment in a new way.
Also, for babies that hate tummy time, it might seem like a great way to work on trunk control. Or, it may be a tempting solution to get babies off of their backs to prevent a flat spot from forming on their head.
All of that said, using infant seats to prop your baby up in sitting is not a good idea. Read on to understand why...
For more information and ideas on tummy time, check out:
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5 REASONS TO STOP USING INFANT SEATS
1. Babies need to move freely to explore their bodies, and move through developmental milestones naturally.
Babies first learn to lift their heads, roll and get up on hands and knees. As they learn how to transition through these positions and gain core strength, they will naturally achieve the ability to sit up ON THEIR OWN.
They will also learn how to get in and out of sitting on their own, which is important for mobility.
2. If you prop a baby up before she has the core strength to sit on her own, it can put great strain on her spine.
If she does not have the muscular strength to hold herself up actively, she is relying on the bones and connective tissues of her spine to hold herself up passively. In other words, your baby is sitting in a position where all of those spinal structures "lock in" to gain a sense of stability.
3. Propping a baby up in infant seats can take away from her shoulder and core development.
Babies that spend lots of time on the floor in tummy time, rolling, and on all fours, get ample opportunity to develop neck, arm, shoulder and trunk muscles.
If you prop your baby up in sitting until she gains the ability to sit on her own, she misses out on all those opportunities to build up her shoulder and core strength in a natural way.
This MAGIFIRE Tummy Time Water Mat was a life saver for us! It really helped my daughter (a tummy time hater), get on board with any and all time on the floor.
Babies not propped up "won’t know what they are missing", but once you start propping, lots of babies protest being put down on the floor again.
4. If you do prop a baby before they have learned to roll and being on all fours, it can delay the development of these important motor skills.
For more information on gross motor development, click here.
It can also delay crawling, or cause infants to skip crawling all together. Crawling is also very important for trunk and shoulder development. It also is an important precursor for walking through weight shifting and moving arms and legs in a reciprocal pattern.
5. Propping your baby up in infant seats can prevent free play.
Propped in sitting is a dependent position where she requires help to get into and out of sitting. In this position, she is not free to move her body and explore as she naturally would.
She also probably cannot get out of sitting without falling. This can be scary for infants, and waver confidence with mobility overall.
So with all of that said, trust your baby!
She will figure out how to sit up in her own time.
In today’s society, it is so tempting to push milestones on your child. It feels like a race between moms. Or it feels like an exact science of whey your baby “should” be able to do something with her body.
Gross motor milestones are reached across the span of broad age ranges. All babies are different, and develop on their own timelines.
My advice, DO NOT rush sitting and do not push milestones. Be patient and don’t panic. Your baby WILL sit up when she is ready.
"Sit" back and enjoy watching how your baby intuitively discovers how to get to sitting and beyond.