How many times have you wondered how to help your child to move in a certain way or how to help them meet the next milestone faster or just meet the expected ones you know your pediatrician is going to ask you about at your next appointment?

There is so much pressure on parents to help their child develop quickly and meet certain milestones early or “on time”. The pressure is there from before they are even born—calling babies “late” when they go past their due date or early if they come before it! Social media doesn’t help either. When you see a friend who had a baby after you post a video of their baby rolling over, you start to feel the pressure to get your child to do it too. People are constantly asking parents how old their child is and if they can {sit, crawl, walk} yet. That pressure to make sure you can answer so your child looks ahead of the curve or, so you look like a rockstar parent, is huge.

Let me try to take some pressure off…

Most typically developing children will move through all the movement milestones when their body is READY—especially well-adjusted babies where interferences are being addressed. The body is hardwired to move, and babies innately listen to that. The internal drive is motivating them to move forward and progress. I would say we are asking the wrong question–

The question we should be asking is, “how am I hindering my child from moving and reaching those milestones?”

The biggest hindrances to your child learning to move their body in their innate way, is by placing them in any device that restricts them from moving or that puts them in a position they can’t get into on their own yet. This includes Bumbos, jumpers, exersaucers, rock & plays, and even car seats for long periods of time. Each one of these devices limits a child’s ability to move freely and can create their own set of issues such as torticollis, plagiocephaly, or hip dysplasia. Let’s look at Bumbos and see how it inhibits a child’s innate desire to move.


Bumbos, or any device that props a baby to sit, are designed for use with children who cannot sit on their own yet. The hope is that it helps them learn to sit by the 6-month marker, but this position teaches them incorrect postural alignment where their back is rounded, and the head leans forward. They are restricted from movement by being stuck in one position the entire time they are in the seat. When they try to move, the chairs can even tip over. The age that these types of devices are used (3-7 months) is a time when babies are developing the muscular strength to roll over, crawl, and eventually get into sitting on their own. When you place a child in a Bumbo, or other seated device, before they are developmentally ready for sitting, it can interfere with the natural progression of movements.

The milestone of sitting is about more than just being in that position.

It is about the movements of getting in and out of that position that are important for eventually learning to walk. If you allow children to get into sitting on their own, most children will crawl before getting into the seated position. When children can get into sitting themselves, they are safer there and more functional from that place. By functional, I mean they can lean from side to side, get in and out of the position unassisted. They can reach for things and get back into sitting if they’d like to.

We don’t need to show children how to sit–they will get there when they are ready to move functionally in that position.

So, what can you do to help your child reach this and other developmental milestones? Place your baby on the floor. Keep them out of containers and devices as much as you can. Allow them to move freely and observe their movements. As the days and weeks go on, you may start to notice their progression of movements as they gain coordination, strength, and confidence. Trust their innate ability to move and enjoy watching them grow without the pressure of trying to get them to do things on our cultural schedule.


By Abigail Hopkins

Abigail Lennox Hopkins is an infant family specialist and the founder of Little Humans. She founded her company on the belief that parents are the most empowered when they view their children as “little humans,” or active participants in their own development who are entitled to their own thoughts and feelings. Equipping parents to tackle everything from pre-birth preparations to new sibling socialization, Abigail brings both hands-on experience from classrooms and private nannying along with her research-based knowledge from the forefront of early childhood studies.