Neural contact with the ground. Babies need abundant contact with flat safe surfaces from day one of life. No props and pillows, just free-range space which the baby can begin to learn what it means to be and move.
Unfortunately jolly jumpers, walkers, bouncers, and swings are altered and unstable biomechanics. We want babies to have appropriate sensory experiences. From a position on the ground, infants have the opportunity to experience sensory inputs in a neutral environment. Sensory perception is a prerequisite for motor function. Every time your baby’s back, legs, head, hands, feet, and stomach make contact with the floor, their sensory receptors send information to the brain about the interaction. They will learn to move one neurosensory input at a time. Flat surfaces are a neutral and gentle position for their underdeveloped bodies – where their spines, necks, and joints have the benefit of the least amount of artifical stress as possible so they can build strength gradually.
Babies need to get a sense of how their bodies function in a gravity environment. It helps them coordinate and activate muscles in the proper sequence to initiate complex movements. Reduce time in seats, exersaucers, door jumpers, baby walkers or pushcarts, and baby swings as it can be counterproductive to their learning and movements. Before all of these products were created, humans learned to move instinctively and gradually. Your baby is wired for success with your support!
Keep in mind that when you stand an infant up, they will reflexively lift one leg. It’s adorable but it’s a reflex and it doesn’t mean your child is ready to walk and just needs assistance. Babies who are used to being held upright need to gradually transition into lying comfortably on the ground. They will gradually begin to enjoy the pull of gravity as they explore their bodies capabilities. Make sure their place to play is safe. Jumpers look fun for babies – but they do place a lot of stress on their body and contribute to poor posture. Babies need to be able to jump themselves and not have the cords do the work for them.
Swings help babies sleep, everyone needs rest.. but if your child is spending a significant amount of time reclined / semi supine and strapped in then they will have to make up for it during wake times with lots of free movement.
If you’re concerned about your child’s development, or concerned they have spent too much time in an assisted advice, it’s a great idea to have them checked by a Chiropractor.