Posture develops within a baby’s first year of life. This means that most babies follow similar motor development patterns in the first year of life. One study suggested 70% of babies developed “normally” while 30% had central coordination disturbances. I hate the word normal and would prefer ideal. This gives us an opportunity to look for key milestones. Remember that there are variations of ideal. Not reaching a milestone in the expected timeframe is not a catastrophic occurrence. A child/adult’s tissues can learn to adapt under future new circumstances. These milestones when missed can be seen in movement patterns of adults. It is speculated that we may be able to relearn old missed motor patterns by using these milestones as an exercise framework. When working with infants – exercises don’t work, which is why changing the course of these milestones early may be a chance at decreasing risk of injury in the future. This idea is a new one in the movement world and has yet to have substantial evidence to support it when we extrapolate these milestones to adults, however, a human’s posture is genetically predetermined and happens automatically as our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) mature This is why we can identify the below milestones and why babies develop head to toe.....for example, we don’t learn to walk before being able to hold an object.
Newborn Posture- elbows are behind their shoulders and cannot lift upper body up off the ground. This is a key newborn posture....when we start to see it as babies age is a sign development may be delayed.
Laying on their back feet up 6 weeks – 4 / 5 months
Core stabilization develops by 6 months can touch toes. Notice this baby can bring hands and feet into the midline of their body and touch opposite hand and foot. This is another key development milestone.
Lying on their bellies supporting themselves with their elbows (3 months). Notice the elbows are ahead of their shoulders now. This is building shoulder stabilization and the beginnings of cross crawl patterning.
Rolling over (~5 months). Key cross crawl development. This one is a big linchpin for crawling.
Sitting up unassisted ~ 6-8months. Your child has developed appropriate core stabilization to sit up without help
Crawling ~ 8-12mths
Crawling promotes independence, motor planning, vision and perception, brain development from right to left (cross crawl), balance/vestibular system. Crawling prepares the body for walking by strengthening the shoulder girdle, strengthening the muscle of the back and co-ordination between opposing limbs.
Not all forms of crawling promote the above mentioned things.
Bum scooting, army crawling, creeping are all versions of crawling, however, crawling is typically referred to as on hands and knees with belly lifted.
Pulling up ~9-12mths - There is a specific sequence of events in a baby’s body that occurs in order to pull up. Look at both leg positions. This is a great one for hip stabilization...even for adults.
Standing up in space ~14-16mths
Nothing is greater for development than TUMMY TIME! Tummy time is the key to ideal development of the spine and other joints. The biggest complaint I hear from parents....my baby doesn’t like tummy time! My response: A baby’s development is based on emotional needs. Encourage your child with various stimuli. If they still complain, remember it is hard to gain strength in the neck and turn it left and right. Shorten tummy time and slowly add additional time each day/week. Remember that all the above milestones occur ideally with a spine in a neutral position and diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing). Try some of these postures as adults and you will quickly learn how hard developing into a little human can be!