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in-arms baby slower to meet milestones?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
after reading The Continuum Concept, my dp and i committed to having dd "in arms" as long as she wanted through her first months or years. in other words, i suppose, we follow an attachment parenting model. dd is now 9mo (preemie adjusted age 7.5mo) and really does not like to be off my body or her pappa's, for more than a few minutes. she hates being on her belly and seems a long way from crawling. she very rarely even rolls over -- seems to try, get upset and want to be picked up. doctor says not to worry. i don't believe in "helping" dd with rolling over, because i don't want to undermine her natural instinct, ability or development timeline.

I'm just wondering if other "attachment babies" tend to take longer to reach physical development milestones like rolling over, crawling, etc. i assume this would be because they spend more time carried and less time on their own/on the
post #2 of 15

I don't remember where I read this (I think it might have been The Vital Touch), but I read that babies that are worn tend to have a better sense of balance than kids who are primarily pushed in strollers and hang out in swings. It had to do with the fact that worn babies have more experience moving in all 3 directions instead of just one, which does something to the inner ear (or something). I remember it talking about ancient cliff dwellers who never experienced any sense of vertigo even if they were walking on the edge of a 1000 foot drop, because their balance was so perfect (which I think was attributed to being worn on their mother's back for so long while she walked on the edges of cliffs). I'm pretty sure the book also talked about how generally-speaking worn babies are not developmentally delayed, because they have to use their muscles to stay balanced while their mother moves around.


I think it is probably true that there isn't typically a significant delay due to being worn. I felt like my 2 kids were slow for everything up until walking, but that was probably just them. They sat, rolled, and crawled a little late, but each milestone came a little closer to the average, then they both started taking unassisted steps right around a year or shortly after. My second baby only crawled for about a month before she started walking along furniture. Even though I wore my kids for large portions of the day, I definitely didn't wear them all the time and gave them lots of opportunities to play on the floor. I just picked them up as soon as they started to fuss.

post #3 of 15


Jean Liedloff, the author of The Continuum Concept, (TCC) and I worked together until she asked me to continue her work.  In my 23 years of experience, I have only heard of how extremely advanced Continuum Concept (CC) children are.  I have never once heard or seen that they are slower.  It is really very different from attached parenting, although there are overlaps. CC children generally will reach the basic milestones about the same age.  However, the alertness, presence, social responses, agility, balance, exploration, ability to figure out how things work on their own, and more is radically advanced.  They are much more joyful, self reliant, independent, confident, etc.  For example, when our son was 5 1/2 months, we went to plays and outdoor dance and music concerts.  He was quietly involved in the performances and clapped appropriately with the crowd after each piece.  For two hours or more he would remain smiling and content.  Many days would go by without him fussing, let alone crying.  At 9 months, I set out a potty and told him to pee in the pot.  That was his training out of diapers -- 3 words.  By 2 1/2 he was making us breakfast:  oatmeal, coffee, toast with the spreadings each person liked, etc. 


The "in arms phase" is only the first step in doing the Continuum Concept and it is generally the easiest.  It really helps to have someone guiding you because applying TCC in western society totally works but since we do not live in a jungle tribe, there are adjustments that need to be made.   In my experience, the hardest thing for parents to master is Jean's "non centered child care."  Parents are continually told they need to protect them from all sorts of dangers.  And, that they should focus on their child, to get on the floor and play with them.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But, that is another post!

All the best to you on your journey!

post #4 of 15

I'm an AP mom, so maybe a little different, but my worn and carried DD has happened to reach milestones early. Rolling at several weeks, talking at 5 months, walking with stability at 9 months.  I think every baby develops on his or her own timetable, but that babywearing is beneficial to social, emotional, and physical development.

post #5 of 15
We're definitely a CC family! I often wish more people had read the Continuum Concept. It's been THE most valuable book I've read, and I'm so thankful to have found it before my kids were born.
Both our kids have met milestones early. In fact, they both walked at ten months.
That said, neither of them crawled or did much rolling over before that.
They were both worn or held until about then.
post #6 of 15

All 3 of my kids were carried/worn most all the time. All 3 of them were "late" to walk, roll over, and various other milestones. 2 of them never crawled at all, and I don't remember any of them ever rolling over, as they hated to be put down on their bellies. So I laid them on their backs, and they were content. No tummy time. So what? Today, they are grown, and it makes not one whit of difference if they walked at 1 year or 2. They all walk just fine today!  Not to minimize your concern - I remember when I watched so closely for each important event. I just want to throw out there that each kid develops on their own schedule. I don't think you can keep a child from walking when they are ready to, any more than you could keep them from talking!

post #7 of 15

Both my sister and I did babywearing with my niece, and she reached her milestones at a normal rate.  In fact, Brianna tended to walk earlier and even talked earlier than most babies/toddlers her age. 


Jessie (proud Auntie to Briannadust.gif



post #8 of 15

Just to repeat and be more clear, I take a quote from what I wrote above:  "CC children generally will reach the basic milestones about the same age . . . "  That means walking, rolling crawling.  Generally, if a child is neurologically normal,  it does not matter when they meet these milestones!  It does not prove more or less intelligence.  This is more genetic, more brain chemistry, and individual for the most part.  These other qualities of great joy, self reliance, excellent balance, independent, etc., as mentioned a bit above, are from getting their evolutionary needs met through the in arms phase.  If someone decides to do TCC, at least during the in arms phase with their infant, there are reasons why babies do not want to be put down and hence miss the crawling stage.  But, that is far beyond the discussion of a forum like this for there are many variables!  As a Feldenkrais practitioner as well, I work with adults who did not go through the crawling stage, or they scooted to get around.  Yes, they still come out "normal."  i usually detect this by the way they walk and move, hop on one foot, or in the way they read and write.  The first time I called jean Liedloff, she asked me if I was carrying my baby all the time, except for getting dressed and diaper changes.  I said "yes, most of the time."  That was not good enough for her, given how our baby would still fuss.  When I made the switch to 99.8% of the time, it made a huge difference!!  Unbelievable really.  It was all the extra movement and variations of movement with him attached that made the big shift.

post #9 of 15
3 of mine have been worn since birth and my eldest was in arms until we discovered babywearing around 3 months. They all reached milestones at different times. Babies will do things on their own time table. I don't think babywearing changes that.
post #10 of 15

 The more i wore my babies, the faster they learned to walk and the stronger they seemed to be relative to  their peers. My third baby was cruising by 5mths, and walking by 8mths. When being worn, i could literally feel her work out-i mostly wore her on my back. Being worn on the back is basically tummy time, she was really working those abs.


I thought bing worn was actually caused  babies to reach these milestones earlier.

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
This is a great discussion. Very interesting for me to read. I'm the OP, and babe has begun spending longer on her tummy the past week. We found out she has had some fluid in her ears (probably since her cold several weeks ago), causing discomfort when she moves around in various positions. In any case, one day after I posted this I thought she would just suddenly take off into a crawl! She didn't...but is definitely showing more determination.

Where she seems to be a bit early (actually I don't know if it's early...just early among the other few babies we know) is talking. She came out with "mamma" the other day, expressed with intention (when she needs something) and in conjunction with our hand signal for milk, which she hasn't previously used.

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post #12 of 15

 Sorry to ask what is obvious to others--what's OP nofrillsmama? (opposite?) 

post #13 of 15

OP=  opening poster = thread starter

post #14 of 15

Well if she's 7.5mos adjusted then yes, that's on the earlier end of the spectrum for talking.  To put it into perspective, at our DD's 12mos visit (she actually went at 13mos) the pediatrician asked if she could say 5 words - that's all they expect at one year or at least an attempt to communicate. When I told her she knew 25 words, the laptop went down, glasses to tip of her nose and she glared at me, and stated that she was looking for real words, not gibberish.  So I started to point to various things that DD knew names of in the room and she said them all.  She was silenced real quick!  I actually tracked her words til she was about 17mos, at which point she was at well over 300 and growing by the day and I couldn't keep up so I stopped, but I have a list on my computer month by month of all the words and things she picked up for that month, and it's still so amazing to see that learning progress.  It's awesome that she's talking, you're gonna have trouble on your hands :wink

post #15 of 15

I did not start out wearing my babies but I wore my 3rd baby.  With my other 2 kids, I worried about their dented heads from leaving them in the car seat, in the swing, in the bed, in the bouncer etc...  With the third one, I worried a little bit about milestones like rolling over and crawling- but I never had to worry about happiness.  She was, by far, the most content, happiest baby and I know it's because I kept her where she was designed to be, close to my heart, skin to skin, or at least, in a  gentle fabric wrap where she could sleep at will, hearing my heart beat- safe and secure, warm and dry.  But I did have to ignore my Mom's insistence that maybe something was wrong because she never cried!  (Wow... sometimes you wonder how you grew up and managed to be half-way well adjusted.)  In anycase- that 3rd baby is 3 now.... and she walks, runs, jumps, hops, skitters and plays like any healthy 3 year old would.  You cannot tell when she started to crawl or walk or roll over or learn to use the potty.  If I could tell my younger self one thing it would be to quit worrying so much and enjoy every moment of tiny toes, gurgles, giggles, smiles, soft baby skin, and just let what is, be- the baby will work out their skills in due time.  If a child has a true delay, worrying won't help fix it and wearing the baby won't harm them.  Do what makes your child happy.  Baby's work on skills we don't always recognize- cognitively, they could be making leaps and bounds and just not be in a mode of focusing on physical prowess at the moment... but it will come, sooner or later.


I think sometimes we fall into the trap of parenting based on the physicians report.... if a child is in the highest percentage for growth or reaches the milestones on time or early we somehow feel like we've gotten an "A" as a parent... and if they're behind in an area here or there, we feel like we're not doing enough or we could be doing something better as a mom.  This is an especially easy trap to fall into when our babies have had any sort of trouble during birth or just after.  In my experience, I achieved the greatest sense of freedom and peace in parenting when I stopped looking to a growth chart or report or a physicians stamp of approval.  Children come in all sizes, shapes, and abilities and the most important thing is that they are loved right where they are at without us trying to make them something they aren't ready for, just give them time and space and parental patience to grow not be first or the best- just be and be delighted in.  Well, that's what I would tell my younger self if I could.  :-)




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