Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies…Walk too Soon
Anyone who’s a music fan is familiar with the old Waylon Jennings song, Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. It’s a classic and one that, whether you’re a country music fan or not, you can at least hum along to even if you don’t know the lyrics. If you’re unfamiliar with Waylon’s song, it talks of the hazards of the cowboy life. Moms who are reading this right now, take heed: cowboys “never stay home, and they’re always alone. Even with someone they love.” They like “smokey old pool rooms” and “girls of the night.” Why encourage your boys to adapt that lifestyle? Instead, the song suggests that you make your young boys “be doctors and lawyers, and such.” We’d all be much happier if they chose those occupations, and so would your sons, and so would you.
And, for the record, I’m glad that song is stuck in your head now!
Nothing like a little Waylon to make your day better!
Today I want to give warning to that same group of mothers, many of them first-time moms, who are ecstatic that their little “cowboy” is starting to pull up on the furniture and cruise down the front of the couch. Forget the fact that Junior is only eight months old and hasn’t crawled much (or, at all). You applaud him, you video him, and you Skype in Grandma and Grandpa to witness this historic event, reinforcing to little Junior that what he’s doing is a great thing!
Except, in my opinion, it’s not a great thing at all. It’s actually one of the worst things you can let him do. Yet, in all of your new-parent excitement, you can’t contain yourself. It’s natural to get excited about Junior’s first steps. After all, this whole parenting thing is new. It’s exciting. But, you need to let Mother Nature do her job. There’s a very important, dare I say vital, sequence of events that needs to take place.
You see, when your child starts to transition into the crawling stage, amazing things happen. They begin to develop proper hip function, proper abdominal engagement, and proper shoulder stability. They also begin to learn the incredibly important cross-crawling pattern, one that will benefit them greatly when it’s actually time to start walking. As they move into the horizontal load-bearing phase of development, their entire spine is engaged! That’s why it’s crucial that you do not bypass this stage! By allowing them to crawl, you’re giving their body a chance to get the functional stimuli it so desperately needs.
When all three of my boys were in the crawling stage, I made sure they didn’t walk too soon. In fact, every time they would try to pull up on something I would place my hand on their back and gently redirect them to the floor! My wife thought it was odd when I first did it, but once I explained that I was actually doing it for their long-term benefit, she was all-in. I knew that if they walked too soon, they might suffer down the road.
So, I have a suggestion: For those of you who have little ones past the crawling stage, or if your little one is dead-set on walking early, get down and crawl with them! It will either get them crawling again, or it will encourage them to continue crawling! After all, their desire to walk comes from seeing you walking. To combat it, get down on their level and make a game out of it! Crawl down the hall, under the dining room table, bear crawl upstairs. Let your imagination take control. You just might find that your function improves and your pain starts to disappear!
In addition, you can also help take your baby through the following e-cises:
Sets – 2
Reps – 10
1. Lie your baby on his back with both legs stretched out and arms resting beside his body.
2. Simultaneously, raise one arm over his head and bring the opposite leg toward his chest, bending it at the knee as you lift.
3. Return the arm and leg to the floor.
4. Switch sides, and do 10 reps on each side.
Sets – 2
Reps – 5
1. Lie your baby on his stomach with his arms outstretched.
2. Place one of your arms under his arms and the other arm under his legs.
3. Simultaneously lift your baby’s arms/hands and legs/feet up about four inches off the floor.
4. Hole for five seconds before returning his arms and legs to the floor.
So, mamas…please don’t let your babies walk too soon. Keep them crawling for as long as possible! And, while you’re at it, don’t let them grow up to be cowboys, either.
If you have questions about your child, don’t hesitate to reach out! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! You can also “Like” us on Facebook!
QUESTION: How long did your child crawl before they started walking?