Attachment Parenting

AP and baby strength?

My first is almost 7 weeks old (ignore my ticker- it won't update!) and I've been pretty AP with her since birth. She tends to sleep on one of us at all times: on Spouse's chest at night, tummy to tummy with me in the mornings, up against me (in whatever position that is) when she falls asleep nursing, and sometimes in the k'tan for naps. Occasionally at night we lie her down, swaddled, in the bed with us- we have an angled crib mattress (she has reflux so we can't lie her flat) in the bed- but even then she is right up against one of us. The only time she sleeps alone is when she falls asleep in the car seat during a long car ride. In addition, she spends most of the day being held by one of us. I really only put her down to eat and go to the bathroom, or when she's getting her diaper changed. If we put her down (and we aren't right there) once she's asleep, she either wakes up right away or will stay asleep for only a few minutes and then wake up. 

I do try to remember to do tummy time with her at least once a day (though it definitely doesn't happen every day), but that's only for a few minutes at a time and I'm right there. I usually put my face there and talk to her instead of putting toys out (which is another thing my mom keeps saying, that she needs things (toys) to look at). But she doesn't really like tummy time much so when I do try to do it, she doesn't last long. And she tends to go all over the place since we have to use the angled mattress thing so when she moves she squirms and ends up sliding down.   

My mom called me today and the baby was napping on me, which I told her when she asked what the baby was doing. She started to give me a hard time about how I never put her down and how that isn't good for her and how important it is for her development. I kind of brushed her off, so she sent me this message later on: 

"I would never tell you not to hold her, she needs all the love and attention you can give her, but she also needs to grow and get strong and learn, and she can't do that in your arms. You've never done this before, please listen to me, lying down is also important and believe it or not teaching her how to be independent and self reliant. Its not to neglect her but to help her grow." 

The independent/self reliant thing I know isn't an issue, and that attached children end up more independent and self reliant, but the other part has started to concern me. Am I really impeding her growing and getting strong by not letting her use her muscles because she's always being held?! I never considered this and now I'm worried. Especially since last time we saw the pediatrician, she told us we need to make sure she starts looking and resting her head to the right, because she prefers her left side and has full range of motion on that side but not the other. So we've been coaxing her to look at us when changing her diaper (we are on her right side when she's on the changing pad) and holding her on our left side so she has to look right to look up at us. 

Honestly, I've been feeling like I put her down too much as it is. And now I don't know what to do or think. Help?  

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Re: AP and baby strength?

  • I am very much the same w dd, she is 5 1/2 months. She gets plenty of strength training when I play w her. She uses her legs, and her arms and interacts appropriately at her age. At 7 weeks I would NOT be overly concerned w this. Maybe its just me but if your instincts tell you that you're doing the best thing for you and your baby, then by all means do it. Not everyone is going to parent the same way. As lo g as you are playing w her as she begins to interact more, she will get the exercise she needs. My dd is down in her crib for the first time tonight, she too normally sleeps on my chest and nurses on command. I'm not liking her notbeing in bed w me. Keep doing what you feel is best for you and your LO. GL
    ~Misty
  • At 7 weeks, I wouldn't worry too much. I think people get really religious about tummy time. If she doesn't like it much, do it for those brief spurts, or start doing it more on your chest. Also, wearing baby counts as tummy time to some degree, since they gain strength in their neck and shoulder muscles while looking around in the carrier. 

    I think you'll find some days she would rather be let alone to kick and squirm, and some days she wants to only be in your arms. It sounds like you're doing a great job, and should go easier on yourself :) 

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  • I never did tummy time with either kid and wore them almost all day at that age (and whenever they wanted to be held as they got older) - both were on the early side for motor milestones.  There's actually some research that suggests babywearing in particular is excellent for baby's motor development as it baby has to constantly make small adjustments as the wearer moves - plus it gives them exposure to movement and stimuli (looking around as they get older) they wouldn't get otherwise.  In cultures where babywearing is the norm and mothers are constantly working/moving (so baby has to be worn to stay safe), children tend to be early on motor milestones.

    Short answer, there's no need to worry :)
  • Oh and one other thing....she doesn't "need toys to look at" when she has your face which is far more important and interesting!   Not that there's anything wrong with toys but baby's do just fine without them.  Human interaction is FAR more important ;)
  • I agree with PP about the toys thing. Human faces are much better for her development, and she'll like them more!

    Also, any time she's laying tummy down on your or SO's chest counts as tummy time! That's all she needs!

    Lastly, swaddling is meant to make babies think they're being held when they're in a separate sleeping space. It's not very safe for bedsharing, because it inhibits their ability to alert you when you're too close by squirming or patting you, and it prevents them from wriggling away. I would encourage you to not swaddle when you bedshare if LO let's you. :D

    Babies who are held more often are typically more independent and develop at faster rates than babies whose independence is forced. They feel confident to strike out on their own and explore sooner than their peers, because they know and trust in the safe haven that is you. Good for you for following your instincts!

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  • At 7 weeks she does not need to be independent at all. I look at it this way, at this age she was designed to rely on you 100%. As she grows up she will rely on you less, thus becoming more independent (like feeding and going potty.) She'll tell you when she is ready!

    As far as tummy time, being worn counts! When she is in the k'tan belly to chest, that is working her muscles and pretty much doing the same thing as being on the floor. HTH! 

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  • Really, wearing her counts? Huh. I never would have thought. She seems so tight and secure in there she doesn't move much usually, especially since most of the time she's asleep!

    Regarding swaddling I actually started off NOT swaddling her, but found that unless she was on one of us directly she would keep startling herself awake and it was affecting her sleep. So when she's on the bed, even if she's right next to us, she'll startle. I wasn't getting any sleep those nights because I was trying to hold her arms so she didn't do it. And it wasn't really successful either. She even startles in the football position when she has what I call a "boob blanket!" Lol. So that's why I started doing it. Some nights I don't and make sure one of us is holding her the whole night but if there's a chance we will want to put her down we will put her in the swaddle. Thank you for telling me that, it never occurred to me. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can keep her from startling when she's not swaddled so we can all still get some sleep?
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  • As she gains neck and core strength, she'll start looking around more from the carrier. We were also total tummy-time slackers and DS did great with all his milestones. I wore him a ton. The only thing your kid is missing out on is a flat head from too much time in the crib/carseat/bouncer.

    She will outgrow the startle reflex fairly soon, likely, but it is kind of a choice. If swaddling works best for now, you might want to try letting her sleep on a seperate-but-close place like a bassinet, pack n play, or arm's reach. 

  • I was just like you...holding and wearing my baby all the time and I never did formal tummy time. His neck got strong from being upright in my carrier for several hours a day and as he got older and more interested in his surroundings, I'd let him hang out on his activity mat. My mom said the same stuff to me and just last week I put him on his belly and he rolled over : I was so shocked!
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  • Startling is a reflex that your DD will have to outgrow. All babies do this, and swaddling can actually delay her from outgrowing the reflex. She has to develop better muscle control/strength. It comes with age.

    Swaddled babies actually take longer to stop startling because they're never able to do it...so if you do leave her arms and legs out, she will startle and she'll gain better muscle control sooner.

    That said, if swaddling is something you need to do in order for your family to get the sleep you need, then you might decide that it's right for you. You should just consider the pros and cons and decide what works best for your family. :D

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  • Other posters already said it well, just continue on wearing your LO :) Sounds like you know your baby best. We rarely remembered to do tummy time, it was usually on DHs chest. I wore her most of the day, and she was stimulated by things in our walk or even chores. She liked watching me fold laundry. I would talk about the colours and fabrics. She had great head/neck strength early on, and has been early on rolling and sitting. Once she started playing with things I put her down for floor play more and more. At 7 weeks the comfort and security of your closeness is more important. 
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  • image starshineamator:
    Am I really impeding her growing and getting strong by not letting her use her muscles because she's always being held?! I never considered this and now I'm worried. Especially since last time we saw the pediatrician, she told us we need to make sure she starts looking and resting her head to the right, because she prefers her left side and has full range of motion on that side but not the other. So we've been coaxing her to look at us when changing her diaper (we are on her right side when she's on the changing pad) and holding her on our left side so she has to look right to look up at us.

    First off, you need to take a deep breath and relax.

    Second of all, if she's starting to have a head tilt, please listen to the doctor and get it taken care of. DS1 had years of therapy bc of torticollis. Part of the reason he was in therapy for so long was bc he wasn't diagnosed with it until after six months, but also because he hated tummy time. We didn't really push him to do it, and it ended up being a problem. Not that all kids will develop torticollis if they don't spend enough time on their tummies, but the ones who are predisposed to it are the ones who really need tummy time. The meme that babywearing = tummy time is a myth, quite frankly. American babies sleep primarily on their backs, so no matter how long they are being worn, tummy time is a good idea. 

    I used a small pillow to prop under DS2's chest during tummy time for him, and it made a huge difference. He was able to see more (I could lie by him, or show him toys ::GASP::, or even use a mirror), and didn't get as frustrated. 

    If yourbaby isn't crying while she's out of your arms, it's okay to let her hang out. Even if she's tiny. AP isn't about holding your baby 24/7, it's more about responding to a baby's needs when they need something. hth

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  • Your baby will let you know when she wants independence. That will come with time. For now, your baby has been held by you 24/7 since conception and even something like 18 hours a day of wearing would be a huge departure from that. So, don't sweat wearing her too much. All of that contact is good for you, her, and her body's systems as they learn to regulate. As for tummy time, I am in the camp that TT is a new idea that makes little evolutionary or biological sense (really, how weird is plunking helpless baby on the dirt with snakes and bugs, etc. if you think back to how people have lived for most of time). I think the need for "formal" TT comes out of cultures of laying babies on their backs or in devices for long periods of time. So, it does have value for what medical folks teach the mass of people, but for families who babywear as a lifestyle, baby is going to strengthen those muscles in a more organic way: baby will hold up her head more and more and look around, she'll wave her arms, and kick her legs with time, the stomach and back strengthen in an upright position just like she'll use for the rest of her life. 

    With DS2, we never did deliberate TT, though--of course--we would sometimes play on the ground together. He rolled at 7 weeks.

    As for toys, those are a new invention. YOU and your world are perfect stimyuation.

  • image nosoup4u:

    image starshineamator:
    Am I really impeding her growing and getting strong by not letting her use her muscles because she's always being held?! I never considered this and now I'm worried. Especially since last time we saw the pediatrician, she told us we need to make sure she starts looking and resting her head to the right, because she prefers her left side and has full range of motion on that side but not the other. So we've been coaxing her to look at us when changing her diaper (we are on her right side when she's on the changing pad) and holding her on our left side so she has to look right to look up at us.

     The meme that babywearing = tummy time is a myth, quite frankly. American babies sleep primarily on their backs, so no matter how long they are being worn, tummy time is a good idea. 

    I

    I disagree.  Worn babies aren't on their backs and they do have to use their muscles while being worn.  There's nothing magic about tummy time; it was invented because American babies spend the majority of their day on their backs and in swings/bouncers/etc on their backs (in addition to their nighttime sleep hours).  If they are worn the majority of the day; they are spending the majority of their day not on their backs.  In cultures where babies are worn all day, there's no such thing as tummy time and babies don't have the problems many American babies do with flat heads, etc. 

  • I find the idea that how my baby spends 15 or 20 minutes is more important than how he spends many hours very strange.
  • image ncbelle:
    image nosoup4u:

    image starshineamator:
    Am I really impeding her growing and getting strong by not letting her use her muscles because she's always being held?! I never considered this and now I'm worried. Especially since last time we saw the pediatrician, she told us we need to make sure she starts looking and resting her head to the right, because she prefers her left side and has full range of motion on that side but not the other. So we've been coaxing her to look at us when changing her diaper (we are on her right side when she's on the changing pad) and holding her on our left side so she has to look right to look up at us.

     The meme that babywearing = tummy time is a myth, quite frankly. American babies sleep primarily on their backs, so no matter how long they are being worn, tummy time is a good idea. 

    I

    I disagree.  Worn babies aren't on their backs and they do have to use their muscles while being worn.  There's nothing magic about tummy time; it was invented because American babies spend the majority of their day on their backs and in swings/bouncers/etc on their backs (in addition to their nighttime sleep hours).  If they are worn the majority of the day; they are spending the majority of their day not on their backs.  In cultures where babies are worn all day, there's no such thing as tummy time and babies don't have the problems many American babies do with flat heads, etc. 

    We'll just have to agree to disagree, then. Even a cursory search on Google brings up no actual studies about baby wearing being as good as tummy time. (http://tinyurl.com/lycu5de). It's all internet talk from baby wearers about how it's the same.

    And the OP said that her baby has a head tilt. I wouldn't be encouraging her to skip tummy time simply because of that reason. DS1 was worn constantly as a baby, had a head tilt, and ended up spending years in therapy bc of it. If we had done more tummy time with him, I'm sure it wouldn't have been as serious as it ended up being.

    Don't get me wrong, I think the typical American baby is on its back too often. And considering how much babies sleep, even fully AP babies are going to be sleeping on their backs a decent amount of time (not on their tummies). I just don't think tummy time is some scam promoted by American physicians, and I don't get the TT hate in this thread.


    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • image nosoup4u:
    image ncbelle:
    image nosoup4u:

    image starshineamator:
    Am I really impeding her growing and getting strong by not letting her use her muscles because she's always being held?! I never considered this and now I'm worried. Especially since last time we saw the pediatrician, she told us we need to make sure she starts looking and resting her head to the right, because she prefers her left side and has full range of motion on that side but not the other. So we've been coaxing her to look at us when changing her diaper (we are on her right side when she's on the changing pad) and holding her on our left side so she has to look right to look up at us.

     The meme that babywearing = tummy time is a myth, quite frankly. American babies sleep primarily on their backs, so no matter how long they are being worn, tummy time is a good idea. 

    I


    I disagree.  Worn babies aren't on their backs and they do have to use their muscles while being worn.  There's nothing magic about tummy time; it was invented because American babies spend the majority of their day on their backs and in swings/bouncers/etc on their backs (in addition to their nighttime sleep hours).  If they are worn the majority of the day; they are spending the majority of their day not on their backs.  In cultures where babies are worn all day, there's no such thing as tummy time and babies don't have the problems many American babies do with flat heads, etc. 

    We'll just have to agree to disagree, then. Even a cursory search on Google brings up no actual studies about baby wearing being as good as tummy time. (http://tinyurl.com/lycu5de). It's all internet talk from baby wearers about how it's the same.

    And the OP said that her baby has a head tilt. I wouldn't be encouraging her to skip tummy time simply because of that reason. DS1 was worn constantly as a baby, had a head tilt, and ended up spending years in therapy bc of it. If we had done more tummy time with him, I'm sure it wouldn't have been as serious as it ended up being.

    Don't get me wrong, I think the typical American baby is on its back too often. And considering how much babies sleep, even fully AP babies are going to be sleeping on their backs a decent amount of time (not on their tummies). I just don't think tummy time is some scam promoted by American physicians, and I don't get the TT hate in this thread.


     

    May be :)  It's true it's an understudied area.  But there is strong evidence that "flat head syndrome" became prevalent during the "back to sleep" campaign (and not saying back to sleep is wrong!).  Tummy time was developed in response to that as before back to sleep, babies spent more time on their tummies since that's generally how they slept.

    If baby has torticollis, tummy time isn't the fix (and not arguing that babywearing is either; just that it accomplishes what tummy time does as far as core strength and keeping baby off her head).  Torticollis requires other therapy - as you know - since even in tummy time a baby can favor one side or the other if she has torticollis.

    I don't think tummy time is "bad" just addressing the OPs concern that her child's strength has been impacted by being held/worn instead of set down.  


     

  • If OP is concerned that wearing LO isn't providing the best tummy time, but her LO hates being set down on his/her tummy, she could lay flat with LO on her chest. That's a fair compromise, right? ;D

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  • Tummy time on your chest def. counts, particularly at 7 weeks.  And babywearing gives you a chance to try to fix her torticollis - when you are wearing her, if she falls asleep (or if she lets you when awake), try to force her to turn her head to her non-preferred side and tuck it in under the wrap.

     But, independent time isn't actually horrible for your child as well, should you choose to put her down for more than a minute.

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  • cpmichcpmich
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    I pretty much never put my kiddo down when he was tiny. He blew all milestones out of the water by being early and super strong. Our main tummy time was napping in a recliner with him chest down on my chest.

    Now at 2.5, he is the most happy and independent kid on the playground... I still wear him for hours on occasional hikes but he is super strong and can outrun and outendure most peers. I chalk it up to his baby carrier workout. Lol. Even sitting in a carrier works coremuscles pretty well...

    Follow your instincts.
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  • we did some ap, and other stuff mixed in, but until our DD learned to sit up more, and started cruising did we really 'let' her down. we put her down plenty. she learned to sit up, roll over, cruise, and started walking around 11 months old, and now at 13 and a half months she can walk/run like a champ.

    if you think you are giving your LO enough time on the floor, then go with your gut feeling.

    now that DD is more mobile she is incredibly independent.


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  • image cpmich:
    I pretty much never put my kiddo down when he was tiny. He blew all milestones out of the water by being early and super strong. Our main tummy time was napping in a recliner with him chest down on my chest.


    Now at 2.5, he is the most happy and independent kid on the playground... I still wear him for hours on occasional hikes but he is super strong and can outrun and outendure most peers. I chalk it up to his baby carrier workout. Lol. Even sitting in a carrier works coremuscles pretty well...

    Follow your instincts.


    I love this answer!
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  • http://www.janetlansbury.com/2011/08/the-case-against-tummy-time-guest-post-by-irene-gutteridge/

    I didn't do forced tummy time with my second DD and she was up on her knees at 5 months and crawling at 6 months.  I think if you are wearing your baby on a regular basis and following your babies cues about tummy time, your baby will do great. 

     

     


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