Strengthening Your Baby’s Muscles

I have a 9-month-old who isn’t bearing weight. Can you recommend some exercises or activities that can encourage my daughter to bear weight?

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Supporting the child’s muscles, so that you or something else is doing part of the work, is often the best way to encourage learning new skills. Holding her hands or under her arms while she bears weight can be the easiest and most fun.

Some types of infant walkers slow development–those where babies sit inside and toe walk, for example. But others can help–those toys that babies stand behind and hold onto, and also “Johnny-jump-up” toys, which kids bounce in. If her legs just buckle, it would be wise to have her pediatrician check her legs to be sure that her muscles, nerves, and bones are all strong and growing correctly. Her buckling may just indicate that she isn’t interested in bearing weight yet. Some kids aren’t.

Usually there is a well-baby visit at about 9 months. One of the main reasons for this one is to assess this kind of gross motor development and to see where babies are on finding ways to move across the floor.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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