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Not Teaching Your Baby To Walk Part 2: Reasons NOT To Walk Your Baby

baby walking

Not my baby, but cute, right?

Yesterday, I talked about the urge people have to encourage babies to walk, and how I have difficulty understanding it. One of the commenters on my post pointed me to an article she wrote about reasons why you shouldn’t walk your baby. ‘Walking’ your baby is when you hold his hands while he walks, even though he can’t really walk yet.

Janet Lansbury, the writer of this piece, has a blog dedicated to RIE, a parenting approach that encourages babies to move freely on their own, without the aid of other people or objects. I’ve written a few posts on RIE if you want to read some of my positive and negative feelings about it.

I found this particular piece to be worth sharing because it points out a few enlightening reasons for letting babies figure it out on their own that really do make sense from a movement perspective. Here is a sample of some of her 9 Reasons Not To Walk Your Baby:

1. Body Wisdom- …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 – …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.

4. Parent Backaches

That last one is one of my personal favorites.

However, of all the things she says, the most compelling reason for me is #9.

“I’m Enough.”

I’ve seen it all too often. Parents of new babies are constantly trying to get their baby to the next level while they compare their babies to their friends’ babies. People are always asking each other “What’s she doing?” “Is he talking?” “Is she walking yet?” What’s she doing?”

My answer to that question is the following:

He’s being a baby and enjoying every minute of it. And so am I, because before I know it, he won’t be one anymore.

You can read the rest of Janet Lansbury’s article here.

Photo Credit: Phil Wood Photo/Flickr

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