Baby Q&A: Why is he not sitting or crawling?
Q: My son is going to be eight months old soon. He is a very sociable and healthy baby, but he has shown no inclination to sit or try to crawl yet. Is this normal?
A: Samantha responds: Every baby is born with pre-programmed developmental milestones: to roll, sit, crawl, walk and run. Your son will move through these at his own pace. He seems to have developed at a fast pace in the social area and is coming along in the movement area a little more slowly. This is normal. Babies tend to develop in two styles: some choose to actively work on their next milestone for weeks and weeks, while others choose to wait until their body is ready and only then engage in achieving it. Your son needs to strengthen his back and neck muscles to be able to maintain the upright position required to sit. This action helps your son develop his muscle tone. He needs this to be sufficient to create effective movement. The muscles in his neck and back, as he sits upright, make small movements to maintain his posture. Your son is taking the steps he needs to strengthen his body for the next exciting milestone achievement. You can help facilitate his development by providing regular tummy time activities, particularly ones that encourage him to lift his head and shoulders off the ground. You can place a mirror in front him to look into or pass him his favourite toy so he stretches up and reaches for it. Another idea is to sit in front of a full-length mirror and place your son sitting supported between your legs, with his back to your stomach. Open his legs in a “V” to encourage a bigger base of support for balance and to indicate to him how to sit. Hold toys in front of him in the centre of his body that he can easily reach for and throw down. Being in the sitting position helps to educate the brain about what it needs to get the muscles to do so he can learn to maintain it. If he hasn’t started sitting by nine months, which research shows is the time frame by which most children will be able to sit independently, it would be advisable to have him assessed by a therapist to obtain support. YB