'w' sitting in a 14m old? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 57 Old 03-12-2006, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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cross-posted in 'life with babes'.

i took my 14 m old for a baby well check up last week, and in the dr's office he sat on the floor the way he usually sits (kneeling, with his bum between his legs, the legs and the bum forming the 'w') -- the dr termed it 'w' sitting, and told us to correct this, as his legs won't develop properly.

any truth to this? anyone had babies who sit this way? anyone had any problems?

it just seems to me that if he sits this way naturally, this just can't be bad. but of course i don't want his legs to be deformed!

anyone who 'discouraged' this at this age? how long did it take? how consistent you had to be?


thanks

anna
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#2 of 57 Old 03-12-2006, 01:30 PM
 
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The ped that we had when my dd was a toddler told me that yes it can cause problems if done all the time as they get older but typically children will outgrow that phase around 5-6 years of age and that i shouldn't worry at all.My dd is actually 8 now and occasionally sits like that but not so much.My 12 month old babe sits quite a bit like that but i'm not worried.Apparently it comes about from hip dyplasia that occurs in some children but corrects itself around 5-6 years of age but on rare occasions needs surgical correction.I wouldn't worry so much but maybe attempt to help him sit other ways just for stretching purposes.
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#3 of 57 Old 03-12-2006, 01:39 PM
 
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occasional sitting in the "w" position is ok- most kids do it. if that's his typical sitting position, he could develop complications from it. try to encourage legs folded to the side, 1 foot in the "w" & one out in front, etc. as he gets bigger & stronger, he may naturally rely on this method less & less but it's worth keeping an eye on.
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#4 of 57 Old 03-12-2006, 01:42 PM
 
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Ds's dr told me the same thing. He didn't have hip dysplasia but that was his preferred position. The one problem he would run into is if he sat that way for too long, he would cut off the circulation to his leg. Because of this, I would suggest he sit differently so that wouldn't happen. I didn't worry about it, though. He has started sitting cross-legged more recently.

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#5 of 57 Old 03-12-2006, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you everybody. i just googled it too, and found some stuff. i am not too worried, but i am glad she pointed this out, as i would have never thought this was a problem. we thought the way he sat was super cute.

anna
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#6 of 57 Old 03-12-2006, 01:49 PM
 
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My DD did have hip dysplasia - diagnosed at birth & then treated & corrected.

She was discharged from the care of her orthopedic surgeon at 15 months old as 'cured'.

She loved to sit in the W position - in fact her 2 yo portrait is in that position.
I asked the doctor several times about this - he said it's very controversial but it is normal for my DD & as long as their hips have been checked (normally at birth or shortly after) it's completely fine.

Please try not to worry!

-Pica
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#7 of 57 Old 03-12-2006, 03:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annabanana
cross-posted in 'life with babes'.

i took my 14 m old for a baby well check up last week, and in the dr's office he sat on the floor the way he usually sits (kneeling, with his bum between his legs, the legs and the bum forming the 'w') -- the dr termed it 'w' sitting, and told us to correct this, as his legs won't develop properly.

any truth to this? anyone had babies who sit this way? anyone had any problems?

it just seems to me that if he sits this way naturally, this just can't be bad. but of course i don't want his legs to be deformed!

anyone who 'discouraged' this at this age? how long did it take? how consistent you had to be?


thanks

anna
Honestly? I think that is baloney.
My brothers and I all preferred to sit that way since we began sitting. We still often sit that way as adults. We have no problems resulting from it.
My son also prefers to sit on his lower legs.
Different people are comfortable in different positions, naturally.

What does he want you to do about it, anyway? Are you supposed to "correct" the child every time they sit they way they are comfortable? This reminds me of all the lefties that were "corrected" into using their right hand.
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#8 of 57 Old 03-12-2006, 04:53 PM
 
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My DD sits this way very consistently and has for a long time. I have a friend who is an occupational therapist and she is the one who alerted me to the fact that it is considered a problematic way to sit. We have taught DD to "fix her feet" and she will do so if we ask, but 5 minutes later she's sitting that way again. I do correct her occasionally, but haven't been very religious about it.

Well, we just noticed that she is toeing in on one side when she runs. This isn't a huge problem, but it is supposed to be one possible result of persistent W-sitting. So...we are going to work on it more.

Also, my friend has told me that constant w-sitting MAY be a sign that the child has some weakness in the trunk muscles (w-sitting helps stabilize the sitter). We do think this may be an issue for DD, and we are working on it. I don't know how often this is the case, though.

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#9 of 57 Old 03-13-2006, 02:19 AM
 
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Hhi I liove in Japan where sitting this way is common. In adults it is considered the *proper* way to sit, but with your bum on your feet, knees together. I didn`t grow up sitting this way and have a HARD time with it, esp. at events like funerals where I want to adhere to local customs.
Funny story.
When I first started teaching children one of the 5 year old boys was confused about my gender, he thought I was a woman until he saw me sitting crossed legged on the floor... he had never seen a woman sit that way. It is considered OK for men, but not for women. LOL. His aunt told me the story, she was one of my adult students.
My feet do fall asleep, even people who have been doing it a lot have this trouble. After a funeral or other ceremony you often seem people taking a long time to stand up, or start walking. Everybody is waiting for circulation to be restored to the feet.
I can`t say it is a good way to sit, but that everybody here does it.
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#10 of 57 Old 03-13-2006, 02:31 AM
 
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My dh sat that way until he was 9. He had a major problem with his hips. They are shaped funny and they caused his feet to be pigeon toed. He sat that way because it was the most comfortable. When he was 9 the doctors said the only way they could fix his legs (he was unable to run because of his problem) was to break the thigh bone and turn it a little and set it with pins. He had the pins removed 2 years later. He has huge scars going down his legs. But I'm sure his 'w' sitting didn't cause this. I'm sure he was born with his problem. So are the doctors.
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#11 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 02:32 AM
 
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"w" position, or reverse tailor sit, is not possible unless there is an underlying issue of low muscle tone. From an orthopedic standpoint, it places stress on the knees and hips and internally rotates the femur. From a developmental and functional standpoint, it provides stabilization for the trunk and compensates for weak core musculature. It decreases active trunk rotation and crossing of the vertical midline axis of the trunk. Basically, it is a compensatory position that you want to discourage your child from assuming so that they can fully develop postural control (and later fine motor abilities), good respiratory capacity and function, reaching and balance skills, and overall dissociation of shoulders and hips.
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#12 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 02:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cropofmoss View Post
"w" position, or reverse tailor sit, is not possible unless there is an underlying issue of low muscle tone. From an orthopedic standpoint, it places stress on the knees and hips and internally rotates the femur. From a developmental and functional standpoint, it provides stabilization for the trunk and compensates for weak core musculature. It decreases active trunk rotation and crossing of the vertical midline axis of the trunk. Basically, it is a compensatory position that you want to discourage your child from assuming so that they can fully develop postural control (and later fine motor abilities), good respiratory capacity and function, reaching and balance skills, and overall dissociation of shoulders and hips.
I'd have to completely disagree with this... It is possible. I sat this way all the time as a child, and right up through high school. I was not a fan of chairs and spent a lot of time on the floor. People always commented on my "w sitting" I remember it clearly. My mother said I always sat that way...
The only reason I stopped was that I was gaining weight in college and it became uncomfortable. On top of that sitting on the floor during a lecture was... frowned upon. lol Now I'm heavier AND not as flexible as I used to be, so I no longer sit in the W shape. When sitting on the floor I do still tend to sit on my legs.
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#13 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 11:14 AM
 
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DS sits like this sometimes, he has several sitting positions. We go to regular well baby visits and the Dr. never mentioned anything about it. His hips are fine. I can see how this could be problematic if it is done all the time though. I'll keep an eye on it. Oh, and I can sit this way if I try to and I don't have any muscular problems.

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#14 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 11:39 AM
 
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Honestly? I think that is baloney.
My brothers and I all preferred to sit that way since we began sitting. We still often sit that way as adults. We have no problems resulting from it.
My son also prefers to sit on his lower legs.
Different people are comfortable in different positions, naturally.



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Originally Posted by cropofmoss View Post
"w" position, or reverse tailor sit, is not possible unless there is an underlying issue of low muscle tone.
Nope. Sorry, don't buy it.


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I'd have to completely disagree with this... It is possible. I sat this way all the time as a child, and right up through high school. I was not a fan of chairs and spent a lot of time on the floor. People always commented on my "w sitting" I remember it clearly. My mother said I always sat that way...
yep.

I sat that way often as a child. I think this new idea of it being terrible is hogwash personally. I've not seen any research that convinces me.

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#15 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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DS did / does the same, and i was told that it is not that he won't develop properly, but that this position *could* be indicative of poor muscle tone in the abdominals, which in turn *could* be indicative of other problems.

when i first heard it, i was 100% convinced that it was baloney. then i found some articles that sort of confirmed this.

half of the time i tell him to straighten his legs. half of the time i don't. i've never worried about it.
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#16 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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DS1 sits this way a lot, and I never noticed it really or thought anything of it until his nursery school teachers commented about it to me. They said they remind him to do "criss-cross applesauce" (which I gathered was supposed to mean "Indian-style" as my family always called it). This discussion is showing me there is a lot of conflicting advice on this! Now I'm wondering if it is a problem, or is the result of a problem, or will become a problem if it's not now. I don't sit like that anymore, but I'm able to very easily. I usually sit with one foot "in" and one "out", a half-W, I guess. Come to think of it, I have a bit of a hip problem sometimes that I've been meaning to see a chiropractor about for 10 years now. Related?? Sigh~ should I be correcting his sitting?
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#17 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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My 13mo DD W sits. It seems natural to me. She crawls, stops to see something/play, and sits back on her heels. Then when she's done (usually after about a minute) she leans forward into crawling position and takes off. She also sits in other more correct positions.

Sometimes I correct her if she looks like she'll be sitting for a long while (not likely, she is constantly on the move). If she still does it a lot once she starts to walk I may pay more attention.

This is a girl who didn't sit up consistently until 8 or 9 months because she couldn't get from crawling to sitting by herself so she preferred to lay on her tummy. Once she could transition easily she never looked back.

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#18 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 01:52 PM
 
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I'm in the baloney camp.

I don't doubt that in some children, sitting this way might cause, or perhaps more likely be a symptom of, other problems. But to say that a child will never sit that way unless there are problems is nonsense. My 3 1/2 year old sits in all kinds of positions, and often that one is the one that is comfortable for her.

When she was 18 to 24 months old her OT (for minor feeding and speech issues) used to give me all sorts of hassles about it. I took the long view, and sure enough there's absolutely nothing wrong with DD as a result of her being comfortable sitting that way. She walks and runs and climbs and dances and sits and moves just fine, with no issues at all ever.

I say that if there are no other signs that something might not be right, you should leave the child alone and let him sit any way he is comfortable.

JMHO, of course.

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#19 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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Underlying issue of low muscle tone? Um, no. My kids ALL sit this way often, DH does too...I see where they get it. While *I* wouldn't be comfy sitting that way...I certainly don't care if they do nor would I want to stop them.

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#20 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 02:43 PM
 
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Just because someone can provide anecdotal experience of how something didn't harm them, doesn't mean it is baloney ~it just means it was not true in your case.
W sitting is different than the Japanese way of sitting on yourheels.
I remember a thread on another parenting forum some time ago (to meet anecdote with anecdote) about 'w' sitting and it was amazing the number of adults who chimed in,not knowing this was an issue and related how they sat that way and then related their hip and knee issues.
My sister could drop from standing into a 'w' and had surgery on both knees at age 12 for her congenital knee issues.
There is a large body of evidence which points to that fact that while 'w' sitting may not *cause* issues, it is often a sign of underlying conditions. Not always, but the bottom line is it is not a good position for knees, hips or back.
My dd did this around 14 months for a couple months. All I had to say was 'bum please' and she happily dropped back onto her bum. She still sits like sometimes~ when you drop down and want to check something out, it is a great position, but usually pulled up, not with the bum on the floor (it is the bum on floor, w legs that is at issue). So yes, it is actually super easy to correct. I know our occupational therapists and child workers in our provincial system also ask kids to fix this all the time.
Like everything, you do what is right for you. FOr me, there is enough evidence that this may be harmful for us to choose to make an easy correction
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#21 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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My son often sits like this and my dh pointed out that it reminded him of how his sister often sat as a child. I never worried about it. If it was the ONLY way he sat on the floor then I might get concerned. But I don't believe occassionally moving through play sitting in such a way is abnormal or a sign of any problems.

When I googled "w sitting" I only got a handful of hits but this seemed to be the most clear.

When in the W-position, a child is planted in place or "fixed" through the trunk. This allows for play with toys in front, but does not permit trunk rotation and lateral weight shifts (twisting and turning to reach toys on either side). Trunk rotation and weight shifts over one side allow a child to maintain balance while running outside or playing on the playground and are necessary for crossing the midline while writing and doing table top activities.

It’s easy to see why this position appeals to so many children, but continued reliance on W-sitting can prevent a child from developing more mature movement patterns necessary for higher-level skills.

Who should not w-sit? For many children, W-sitting should always be discouraged. This position is contraindicated (and could be detrimental) for a child if one of the following exists:

-There are orthopedic concerns. W-sitting can predispose a child to hip dislocation, so if there is a history of hip dysplasia, or a concern has been raised in the past, this position should be avoided.
-If there is muscle tightness, W-sitting will aggravate it. This position places the hamstrings, hip adductors, internal rotators and heel cords in an extremely shortened range. If a child is prone to tightness or contractures, encourage anther pattern of sitting.
-There are neurologic concerns/developmental delays. If a child has increased muscle tone (hypertonia, spasticity), W-sitting will feed into the abnormal patterns of movement trying to be avoided (by direction of the child’s therapist). Using other sitting postures will aid in the development of more desirable movement patterns.

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#22 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 09:09 PM
 
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Just because someone can provide anecdotal experience of how something didn't harm them, doesn't mean it is baloney ~it just means it was not true in your case.
Well, yeah, but what the PP said was "w" position, or reverse tailor sit, is not possible unless there is an underlying issue of low muscle tone." If someone says it's not possible, all I have to do is find an example where it WAS possible, and I've disproven the assertion.

And yeah, I'm just arguing now for the sake of it, so I'll stop.

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#23 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 10:15 PM
 
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My mother and her siblings all sat in the w position quite regularly. So did all of my cousins on that side, my siblings, and myself. I've been completely unsurprised and unconcerned to see my daughter sitting this way often as well. There is absolutely no history of hip or knee issues among my mother's generation or mine. My maternal grandmother also has no knee or hip issues. She has lots of health issues, but none there.

So, I can't say that it's never a problem, but in the case of my daughter I'm not at all concerned.

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#24 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 10:27 PM
 
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We used to do this as a stretch in phys.ed. I guess times have changed!

I can sit like this if called upon to do so, although I wouldn't choose it for fun! I don't have any muscle, joint, or other issues.
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#25 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 10:31 PM
 
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Are you all talking about squatting with flat feet? I'm totally confused about what "w" sitting is

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#26 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cropofmoss View Post
"w" position, or reverse tailor sit, is not possible unless there is an underlying issue of low muscle tone. From an orthopedic standpoint, it places stress on the knees and hips and internally rotates the femur. From a developmental and functional standpoint, it provides stabilization for the trunk and compensates for weak core musculature. It decreases active trunk rotation and crossing of the vertical midline axis of the trunk. Basically, it is a compensatory position that you want to discourage your child from assuming so that they can fully develop postural control (and later fine motor abilities), good respiratory capacity and function, reaching and balance skills, and overall dissociation of shoulders and hips.
I also disagree.

I love to sit this way now; I even love to sit that way and recline. It is a very popular yoga pose. I don't know anything about it medically, but considering how my almost two year old has a yogi's dream flexibility, I am not at all surprised that many children can sit this way comfortbly.

FYI, the yoga pose is called virasana. Here are some of the benefits:

http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/2033
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#27 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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When I was a sp ed teacher the OTs told us not to let the kids sit like that. My friend's little boy sits like that, even after I told her that he shouldn't. As a toddler he fell down a lot and his feet always seems to be flinging out (hard to describe sorry). Now he's 6yo and he legs still kind of fling out when he runs. I'm wondering about what his knees will be like as he gets older.
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#28 of 57 Old 03-18-2008, 11:44 PM
 
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My brother sat like this, and required knee surgery about age 8.

My daughter sits like this, and is seriously toeing in. If you look at her footprints in the sand, they cross with every step. If we tell her "walk straight," she can do it (till next time.) Her running looks okay to me. I plan to take her to the dr soon. She is almost 4 and I first noticed it a year ago, but all the nurses in our family said it wasn't bad, just watch it.

That said... I am not convinced that W-sitting CAUSED these problems for my daughter or my brother. More likely, W-sitting was comfortable them because they already had some abnormalities. I'd like to see a definitive chicken/egg study.

I say this because I was constantly being told to "sit up straight" before a doctor told my parents I had scoliosis. All the slumping in the world did not cause my scoliosis, and all the corrective exercises the doctors prescribed and made me feel guilty for failing at, could not fix it.

So I tell my daughter "walk straight" and "don't sit that way," but I'm not sure any of it is right. :
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#29 of 57 Old 03-19-2008, 01:15 AM
 
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I used to sit like that as a kid, still do sometimes. Its comfy to me. I've seen dd sit like that before, couldn't say how often.. its never been "on my radar". Didn't know it had a name! I could swear we did that pose in yoga, too. Hmm. I'm curious now. Who knew a sitting position could be so controversial? Now I'm going to have to ask my chiro about that.

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#30 of 57 Old 03-19-2008, 01:25 AM
 
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I work with children with disabilities and have seen first hand the issues that they deal with due to their lack of muscle tone and overcompensating posture. Both children I have in mind have issues with walking/have to use a walker. Their body is so used to sitting W style that they cannot physically sit on their butt with thier legs out in front of them nor crossed in front of them without support.

Now I'm not saying that W sitting caused their condition, I believe that it was due to their disabilities, but it certainly didn't help the physical situation that they are in now as young teens.

Personally, I would not correct my dd if she did it once in awhile, for brief periods of time. But if I saw her sitting down to play something on the floor, like she was going to stay awhile, and was W sitting. I would sit with her and correct her positioning without drawing attention to it and/or encourage a more body friendly posture.
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