Baby Sitting and Posture Development – Advice from a Pediatric Physical Therapist

DR. EMILY HEISEY | MAY 01, 2020

Exersaucers, bouncers, and baby seats . . . Oh my!

Whether you’re pregnant, a new mom, or out shopping for your 2nd or 3rd kiddo, picking the right baby products can be overwhelming. Newer and fancier products seem to come out every year. My hope is to simplify the process and provide an objective review of Upseat’s baby seat through the lens of a Physical Therapist.

But first, it’s important to understand how your baby develops and what proper sitting looks like at different stages of development.

Baby's Physical Development Explained

All babies develop muscles starting at the center. These “proximal muscles” include the trunk, shoulders, and pelvis. Developing strong proximal muscles or muscles closest to the center of the body is crucial for proper fine and gross motor development.

By 3-5 months, your little one should start demonstrating some big changes in motor control and strength. You’ll notice head control improving and the disappearance of the bobblehead. They’ll start pushing through arms when placed tummy down and even start rolling to their back. You may even notice your little one fighting to sit up when placed in sitting.

Your Baby's Sitting Journey

So, let’s talk about sitting posture and how your baby gains the strength they need in order to sit upright. Well, it all starts on the tummy. Yep, that same position that your little one loathes is instrumental in preparing them to sit upright. Here’s the kicker, tummy time yields no benefits if your little isn’t placing weight through the forearms or hands. It is this skill that develops the necessary shoulder and neck strength for sitting.

But let’s face it, not all hours of the day can be devoted to “Purposeful Play”. There are times when dinner must be prepared, a sibling requires additional attention, or you just need a quick time out.

So, how can we take care of your baby's posture during these times? The answer is a reliable baby booster seat.

Why the Upseat is the Best Baby Booster Seat for Posture

One size does not fit all . . . Or does it?

Children come in varying shapes, sizes, and levels of function. One impairment that may impede sitting posture in children is increased muscle tone or muscle restriction. Let’s take a look at the before and after pictures above.

The BEFORE picture shows a rounded sitting posture as a result of tightness in the hamstrings.

In the AFTER picture, you’ll notice significantly improved upright sitting. How?

The Upseat design places a child’s hips in a slight anterior to neutral pelvic tilt which places a relative stretch to the hamstrings allowing for improved upright sitting and core control.

The Upseat offers a guilt free seating option that promotes proper back and hip alignment while also encouraging active movements. One of my fellow Pediatric PT’s and INSTAcollegues, Dr. Kailee Noland, shared that “The Upseat comes up high on your baby’s back, providing more support while still learning to sit.” The larger leg space not only allows for additional growth but encourages “freedom of movement”. This one design modification is huge, not only for protecting your little one’s hips but promoting strength and development even when placed in a seat.

As a clinician, I’m constantly looking for products that offer function and proper postural alignment. The Upseat is constantly modifying its design and is devoted to meeting the needs of moms and babes around the world. Here’s to proper posture and motor development!

Written by Dr. Emily Heisey

Dr. Emily Heisey is a Physical Therapist specializing in Pediatric Physical Therapy and President of KinActive Kids. Her goals with starting her company was to empower both moms and therapist with simple, reproducible and integrative interventions for ages birth -18 years old. Emily received her doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

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