Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let Your Baby WALK

Let Your Baby Walk - The Importance of Walking

"There is nothing that God hath established in a constant course of nature, and which therefore is done every day, but would seem a miracle, and exercise our admiration, if it were done but once."
John Donne, 1627

Walking is so important for your baby.

Sometimes it is easy to forget how important it is for our little one because we see it so often, so it doesn't seem so extraordinary or important.

Often times it is easier to just snatch our baby up and carry him, or to strap him into a stroller or backpack, and simply not have to worry about him getting into trouble or about slowing down our pace.

But dear parents, resist the urge to do this.

It does not mean never use a carrier. It does not mean never use a stroller. The Doman philosophy says if your baby can walk a little, let him walk a little. Then carry him a ways. If he can walk a lot (which all babies can after such a short time from learning to walk), then let him walk, walk, walk.

Because it is worth it. Walking is so incredibly important, especially for your little baby.

When your baby walks, he is growing his brain. The brain grows by use, and the more you use it, the more it grows.

Walking grows, organizes, and builds your baby's brain in a beautifully orchestrated symphony as he coordinates both sides of his body to work together in the most elegant of motions only ever performed by the homo sapiens.

Many animals can stand or even move in an upright position, but it is only humans and, yes, your little baby who has only been out of the womb for a few months, who will ever be able to walk in an upright position in a true cross-pattern, with opposite limbs moving together simultaneously (right arm and left leg, left arm and right leg).

It seems so simple because we see it every day. It is not so simple. There is so much going on in your baby's brain.

He is building countless neural connections, stimulating the senses, and strengthening the bond between the left and right hemispheres. He is making his brain healthy by giving it more oxygen. He is making his lungs healthy by giving them more air, which in turn makes his breathing more regular and helps his speech and language develop.

He is learning about gravity and balance and stimulating the vestibular portions of his brain. He is strengthening almost every muscle in his body, strengthening his bones and sending extra blood to all of his organs. He is becoming more capable and independent and being curious and exploring.

Let that take place.

Let your baby walk.

He is driven to walk. He is driven to develop, grow, and progress.

Take a stroller with you, by all means.

Pack your carrier.

And when your baby gets tired, carry him for a while. But by all means, let that little one walk.

He has lots of learning and developing to do.

Damien, in picture, was 11 months old


  1. I mostly agree.
    As an avid baby and toddler “wearer” I’ve heard of the criticism “they won’t learn to walk if you always hold them!” and “they need to become independent!”, and I think both those are a red herring or not really true.

    I use a carrier many times a day even though my son is 16 months old (there is a recent post about it on my blog) and I think there are many benefits. A child being held or carried is learning, just different things than he or she would be if they were walking. For example, when my son rides in the ring sling to check the chickens, he gets to see inside the coop with me. I’m more likely to have a pleasant conversation with him about what we’re seeing/doing than be pulling him out of something he shouldn’t be getting into (compost, chicken feed). I do let him walk often as well, even when it is slower or he might get into stuff or make a mess.
    Some babywearing advocates say that balance and core muscles are developed through babywearing more than by riding in a stroller. I haven’t had the time to actually research that assertion, but it makes sense and my sons walked at 8 and 9 months of age after spending lots of time being “worn” so maybe it is true.

    2013/03/26 at 7:44 pm

    Anyway, walking and exploring are great for kids! So is being close to mom (or other caregiver) to observe and converse, rest, see a different view, etc. I know that you were in no way criticizing or discouraging people from using a carrier, but I just wanted to give some input on the benefits…wouldn’t want people to be scared off from holding or wearing their baby often!

    1. 2013/03/26 at 10:32 pm

      Thank you for your insightful comment! I agree that “baby wearing”, when done right, can be very beneficial to a baby, and I certainly don’t want anyone to misunderstand me as discouraging that. I think the only problem can stem from when it is sometimes misused, for example a parent just carrying around their baby without interacting with them simply because it is easier than having to pay attention to them, or sometimes people might wear their baby/toddler for nearly every waking (or even sleeping) moment, which of course in my opinion is a bit out of balance. But I do also agree that baby wearing can be very good for babies both physically, intellectually, and emotionally, when done with thought and in balance. Maybe I should write a post about it. Again, thank you for your contribution to the topic!


Thank you for your comments!