Baby mobility
February 10, 2014 7:04 AM   Subscribe

How can I help our 11 month old learn to transition between standing/sitting/belly positions?

Our baby seems to have taken the less conventional path to learning mobility. He never got up on all fours, which seems to usually lead to crawling, sitting up, etc. Instead he separately learned belly crawling, butt-scooting, and cruising (and is pretty good at all of those), but he mostly relies on us to help him transition between these modalities.

He can roll over with no issues and occasionally plops down on his butt while standing (the latter is rare, because why would anyone ever want to sit when standing is so great?). I also know he has the physical strength and ability to, for example, pull up to standing from sitting. If I am sitting or lying down next to him, he will use my body as support to stand up with relative ease, or even to worm his way into standing from his belly (without any active help). However, he will only do this when a parent's body is involved -- he either doesn't realize that other objects can serve the same purpose, or perhaps he deliberately wants the parent to be there. Once or twice he has used a toy to stand up, but most of the time he just gives up and calls for help.

Our pediatrician is not currently concerned about this, since the baby can move around and seems to have the physical capacity to do what's required. However, I'd like to help him learn how to sit up and stand up on his own. Most of the suggestions I've found require walking the baby through the procedure by moving his limbs into correct positions; however, this guy is kind of stubborn and will resist us moving his arms and legs unless it will instantly accomplish whatever he wants at that moment. Any tips or tricks from people with similar experiences would be much appreciated.
posted by Behemoth to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just wait three months and he'll probably be walking by then. You don't need to fix this.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 7:19 AM on February 10, 2014 [24 favorites]

This is a feature, not a bug!

He'll be walking before you know it, and suddenly you'll have to be chasing him right, left and center.

Some kids just get there when and how they get there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:20 AM on February 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Just make sure that in his play area there are sturdy things he can pull himself up with. A low coffee table, etc. He's fine.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:21 AM on February 10, 2014

I agree you don't need to fix this, but anecdotally, my daughter often hit physical milestones after being exposed to kids who did them. For instance, she was army crawling quite contentedly and then I took her on a playdate with babies who were crawling "properly." The very same day, she woke up from her nap and started crawling too. Same with walking, running, stairs, etc.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:22 AM on February 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Evidently, I had the same sort of baby transport issues. My pediatrician was concerned that I wasn't progressing from crawling to walking in the right way (I belly dragged or walked but didn't transition myself).

Anyway, my dad's ingenious solution to this was to plop me down on a skateboard so I could crawl with my belly off the ground and get a feel for it. Family legend has it that I skateboard crawled for about a week and then managed to sort it all out myself.
posted by phunniemee at 7:33 AM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

you give your baby as much floor time as humanly possible and let the baby sort it out. that's what they do.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:35 AM on February 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Nthing your kid will walk when he's ready, there's no need to go out of your way if the pediatrician is not worried. But if it really bothers you, there are classes for babies that explore and emphasize movement, which can be good for development in general - not sure where you're located, but look into Feldenkrais method -based classes.

On your own, I think bribery will probably work better than moving his limbs. Put something you know he might want (a new toy, a food he likes) on a table he can only reach by standing and then "leave" the room, and I think the incentive will kick in.
posted by Mchelly at 7:36 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd bet anything that he's more-or-less able to do those transitions but has learned that squawking for help is easier than doing them. Make a game of it. Get a low flat sturdy surface, play with awesome toys on top of it. Make a fool of yourself slowly climbing from a prone to a standing position. Sit back and let him sort things out for a few minutes. Celebrate success with the awesome toy on the table.

(A little reassurance: it's really common for kids to figure things out all out of textbook order. My son crawled and pulled up and still couldn't roll over consistently, and our ped wasn't worried at all.)
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:26 AM on February 10, 2014

You can do this in just two easy steps!
1. Put kid down on the floor.
2. Wait.

To be less glib, this kind of motor learning is really common. My son also learned things out of order, and sometimes it seemed like he just wasn't getting it. In retrospect he would hit plateaus where it seemed like he wasn't progressing, but really he was practicing and integrating what he knew before another big jump in activity.

I would also suggest thinking through your philosophy of learning/teaching. For us a major goal is for our son to become a self-directed learner who does things because he is curious and motivated, not because authority figures are telling him what to do next. Maybe that's not your approach, but for me letting my son figure things out for himself is something I value, even if he might learn it faster if I pushed him.
posted by medusa at 11:12 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

My daughter has the exact same problems and we have been working with a physical therapist for months (she is in early intervention due to prematurity). Nothing we do seems to help. I feel like she will get there on her own terms and we are killing time with the exercises. Her PT and pediatrician don't seem worried, and I'm glad we have the extra help - but I still think she won't do a thing until she's ready.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 3:22 PM on February 10, 2014

A couple of tricks that got my daughter walking from cruising at about the same age:
1) Giving her a rolling walking toy with a bar that is very stable and can be pushed along the floor. Baby holds the bar and pushes the walking toy like a lawnmower until it crashes into something and/or s/he falls. She LOVES it.
2) When standing, give something to hold in the hand (so baby doesn't feel like it's not attached to anything) and then something really motivating just a step or two away - we used me holding a pen and calling to her.

I also let my 10-11mo old baby crawl up the stairs several times a day, while I was crawling up behind/on top of her so that she couldn't fall down. My baby loves climbing up things and you can't army-crawl up the stairs.

Use these tricks and your kid will probably be walking in like, days rather than months. And then you will wonder why you were in such a rush to make them do that.

Actually, I don't think that my 11 month old walking is such a bad thing, it's really fun to watch her toddle around, and my own mobility isn't a problem so I'm easily able to follow her around/catch her. I think it does require a certain tolerance for baby careening around the house, trying to open drawers and cabinets, crashing into things, reaching for things, and generally trying to cause mayhem, though.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:13 AM on February 11, 2014

Oh and by the way, other drawbacks to teaching walking that I have found aside from trying to open things, reach for things and pull things down (i.e. be sure everything is baby proofed and possibly that furniture is bolted to walls) are that we had to drop the crib mattress down, and that when I try to put her down to bed, she can now stand up in the crib while crying and screaming and wave her arms at me in a very desperate and pathetic way. Makes her seem much less babylike and more toddler like. *sniffle* So just be aware that you may get nostalgic if you succeed in your plan.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:19 AM on February 11, 2014

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