Why Can't We Just 'Let a Baby Be a Baby'?
Many therapists on social media, including myself get comments on their educational posts criticizing our desire to push babies to their limits! Why can’t we just let a baby be a baby? Why do we have to make them exercise? Why do we have to ‘teach’ them how to roll over, ‘they will do it on their own eventually,’ right?
That is not what we are trying to do here. We are not “pushing” babies to hit milestones faster or do things they aren’t developmentally ready for.
If a CPA was sharing free information on the Internet about how to optimize your tax returns would you think to yourself, what is this person’s problem? There so many “rules” these days around tax deductions. Just let the government take what they want, it’ll all sort itself out anyway.”?? I’m guessing no.
A primary focus of infant physical therapy is early intervention. Some parents have concerns about development and ask the advice of their pediatrician. The pediatrician’s job is to look at the whole child and determine whether there are any overall health concerns, and whether the child is generally developing typically and healthily. There are ranges in which typical milestones of human development are expected to be achieved. If no other health concerns exist and the child is a bit late to hit a certain milestone, the provider may say “let’s wait and watch this.” This works for a lot of people and that’s okay. For some, they want to ensure they have their concerns addressed, even if just for peace of mind.
For many, there are no concerns specifically, they just want to know more about how their child is growing and developing, and how they can support this as caregivers. A lot of parents are finding the info on social media, the internet, or in local groups helpful to provide them with ways to engage in purposeful play with their children. I remember as a first time mom myself that I needed that info and guidance as well. Parents know more now than ever, and they understand that early experiences guide brain development across the lifespan. Providing meaningful, positive movement, sensory, and social experiences early on (from birth to 3 years, when the brain is most primed for neurological change and growth) has the most influence on the brain’s wiring. There are decades of research to demonstrate this.
So, we ARE letting babies be babies, because babies are the most unbelievably interesting, amazing little sponges who are ready to absorb every experience and sensation — best done with the support and loving presence of their caregivers.