As much as I am a believer that what your child really needs is you, food, clothing, shelter, and your love and attention (and not all kinds of fancy contraptions), but I remember my sons early years and there are certainly some contraptions that can make your life as a parent a little easier! However, when it comes to using baby gear, we want to ensure is that they are in fact offering benefit and not creating any harm. Considering these suggestions can ensure your wee one grows healthy, strong, and straight!
Before you read any further, I suggest you read this post about the basics of infant development, it will help you understand your baby’s growth and make better choices for using all types of baby gear.
Bumbo – I find these highly useful, but only for a very short period of time. When I’m adjusting infants it can be convenient to have them sit in these little seats, and surely parents find them helpful at home too, especially when starting to introduce foods. This is an important timing consideration: when infants are ready to start solid foods, typically around 6 months, they are often ready to start sitting on their own too, and this is precisely when a bumbo seat can be useful, once they have started to exhibit signs of sitting independently.
If you rush this, and place your child in a seated position before they are able to sit on their own, it can impede the development of necessary muscle tone for sitting, creeping and crawling. Many babies will develop bottom scooting (not ideal) to try and get where they want to go, which is not good for joints or development of lower body and torso tone.
Children are unique, so it’s important to watch your child! Once they have started to sit with some assistance (4.5-6 months) it’s ok to use a supportive device like a bumbo, but I don’t recommend them before that milestone.
Jolly Jumpers –Placing infants in an upright position before they have gained the strength in their core, hips and legs to do so on their own can lead to instability within the spine and hip joints. This is main reason why the majority of Pediatric Chiropractors do not recommend infants be placed in jolly jumpers prior to this developmental stage, if at all. The premature stress they place on the hip joint can lead to problems in the spine and nervous system later in life – many of which we see in our practices and need to correct!
Now if you think jolly jumpers are the most fantastic thing in the world, we encourage you to either wait until they can hold their head up and have complete neck support; or even better, consider waiting until they are crawling until introducing them. Remember that children should be no heavier than 28 lbs when in these devices, they must be securely attached as per the product guidelines, and infants should certainly never be left unattended while in them.
Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for development issues in children.