About two or three weeks ago, my baby Clarisse showed me she was capable and strong enough to grab hold of my hand and pull herself up to standing position. And a week later, she could even release one hand and balance herself with just one hand holding onto mine. That’s when I thought I should help her stand up independently.
Is your baby ready to stand?
Eventhough the signs are obvious that she’s ready to stand up, I’m still having doubts. At 8 months plus, are her legs and bones strong enough to support her weight? Is she ready to stand up at 8 and a half months?
From the day baby Clarisse discovered she could stand, which is around 5 months, my mom often warned me not to place her in a standing position for too long. This is to prevent any stress to her soft and immature bones which could lead to risks of getting bow-legged and spinal problems. On the other hand, there are disputes saying that it’s totally not true that a baby who stands early in age will risk getting bow-legged later. These are people who believes that if your baby initiates and willingly stands up, she’s ready to stand irrespective of how old she is. As simple as that.
At around 5 months, my baby Clarisse loves to be held and have her feet touch the ground as though she’s standing. She also love to bounce her feet around on my lap. Due to my mom’s concern, I make sure her entire body weight doesn’t push down on her legs. But that’s just me always being safe than sorry.
According to published references on baby development milestones, 8 months is just about right for a baby to learn to stand. And if they are actively getting up on their feet and enjoying themselves, it’s a good sign that their legs are physically strong enough to bear their weight. At 8 months old, there is nothing to worry about. Parents may even start them exploring upright positions at an earlier age without risks of any detrimental effects.
Regardless of starting them upright early, you’ll find that all babies have legs that look slightly bowed and it straightens out as they grow up.
Putting my worries aside, I no longer restrict her standing time.
Preparing your baby to stand up
This involves strengthening her arms which is used to pull herself upright. Legs to push her body weight upwards. And hand grip which is to hold onto supportive fixtures to aid her standing up. Ideally, emphasis should be placed on strengthening your baby’s legs as standing requires sufficiently strong leg muscles.
Hold your baby’s hands while she’s sitting down. Make sure she’s grabbing your hands firmly. Raise her arms slowly above her head to lift her up to standing position. Let her remain standing for a few seconds, gently lower her arms and your baby will sit back down. Do this a few times a day and this action alone will strengthen her arms, legs and hands.
Spend a few moments daily to bounce your baby on your lap. By placing your baby’s legs on your lap, encourage her to bounce up and down. Most babies love it.
Learning how to stand independently is a huge prerequisite to walking. Some parents may have bought walkers, bouncers or exersaucers with the intention of encouraging their babies to spend more time upright on their feet. You don’t really need those to help your baby develop standing and walking skills. Instead, all you’ll need is to expose your baby to more unrestricted floor time and she’ll learn to stand sooner.
Make upright moments enjoyable and safe
Baby Clarisse enjoys her upright moments tremendously and I believe that is important to her physical development to enable independent standing.
The crib is often the first place your baby practise standing up as soon as she wakes up so lower her crib’s mattress to prevent her from toppling out. In fact, to play it safe, lower it before your baby is capable to pull up to a stand. You’d never know when your baby suddenly decides to pull herself upright. To be safe, lower the crib as soon as your baby can grab hold of the rails and position herself in a kneeling position. In no time, she’ll be trying to stand up.
When baby Clarisse is sitting in her crib, I play hide-and-seek with her. First I’d get her attention while she’s sitting. Next I’ll go into hiding just beside her crib saying “Can you find mommy?”. It never fails to get her excited and pull herself up the rails to spot mommy. Always draw a laughter from her even when she knows I’m hiding there all the time.
Moving out of the bedroom, Baby Clarisse would grab hold onto anything within her reach – a sofa, a chair, a recliner, a couch – and try to pull herself up to stand. When she’s crawling about in the living room reaching out to things that would help her get upright, we are keeping a watchful eye on her just in case she falls and knock her head. Most times, her legs would buckle, falls back onto sitting position and within seconds reach out to pull herself back on her feet again. An available hand is always in need to help her maneuver herself back down to sitting gently. It may seem easy to you but it’s tough for a baby to go from standing to sitting.It is advisable to let babies challenge themselves physically so that their excitement and confidence grow. Parental supervision prevents them from falling and hurting themselves. If it’s painful enough the shock might discourage them from trying to stand again for sometime.
Standing up means a baby’s reach is extended and a glass vase on the coffee table or the drawer chock full of hazardous stuff, for instance, is within reach. So becareful and take the necessary precautions.
It may be her inquisitive and playful nature that my baby Clarisse doesn’t require much encouragement to stand. For babies who aren’t so enthusiastic about standing up, perhaps some toys placed on top of a chair or a low table might be tempting enough to get them to stand and reach out. Make sure whatever props your baby is leaning onto is sturdy and free from sharp edges. Some toys are designed specifically to help babies stand up. Generally, the idea is pretty similar to placing toys on an elevated level so that babies are encourage to stand up and reach for it. Just like this PlaySkool toy table we got a few days ago.
Also, I’ve heard good things about the baby-see-baby-do approach. If you have a day-care center nearby, perhaps you could drop by and have your baby watch and play with other babies. It would be beneficial to your baby to watch other babies who are learning or managed to stand up on their own. Perhaps even those who are walking. Babies often imitate what their peers are doing – both good and bad things unfortunately.
Everytime your baby manages to pull herself up on her feet, give her a sense of accomplishment by complimenting her with a smile, a clap and a few words of praise.
What goes up should come down gently
Chances are it might take a couple of weeks for your baby to learn how to lower herself down from a standing position to sitting. Teach her how to sit down gently.
Whenever your baby is upright, hold her and try to bend her knees slightly. Guide him downwards and forward until she’s just a few inches above the floor. You may now loosen your hold and let her tush fall naturally to the floor.
Do it a few times everyday and eventually she’ll get the idea.