Creating your shopping list and gift registry when you are expecting a new baby can be fun, exciting, and overwhelming at the same time. What is essential and what is not? We all know the basic essentials: diapers, breast pump, bottles, burp cloths, cute clothes, baby books… just to name a few!
One product that is commonly purchased or gifted that is neither essential nor beneficial to your child is a baby jumper.
While in a baby jumper, your baby sits in a suspended seat and uses his or her toes to push off the ground. The attraction of these contraptions is that they can be convenient entertainers for your baby, allowing you two free hands for a few moments. Most babies are delighted in the jumper and will laugh and smile while in it. However, the posture and movements while using these products are very stressful on your baby’s body and can delay their development.
We do not recommend putting babies into positions that they cannot get into or out of on their own, as they are not mature enough to control their own body movements, especially while jumping. In a baby jumper, the entire pelvis, sacrum, hips and spine of a non-weight bearing infant are placed under abnormal stress leading to muscle imbalances and delayed neurological development.
An infant’s hip joints are underdeveloped and the repetitive stress of jumping unsupported can lead to hip dysfunction later in life. A baby’s hip sockets are not ready to support their body weight until the child is walking on their own. In addition, babies tend to lean forward in the jumper putting stress on the frontside of their pelvis, which is a part of the body that is not designed to be weight-bearing. With their body thrusted forward, it makes it difficult for them to engage their gluteal and hip muscles, causing them to put abnormal stress on pelvic ligaments.
Babies that spend time in a jumper who have not yet learned to roll, sit, and crawl are bypassing nature’s neurological sequence of development by experiencing jumping on their feet prior to rolling, sitting and crawling. Muscle imbalance is further accentuated by pushing off with their toes, in a motion called foot plantar reflex. With prolonged use of the jumper, this can cause foot deformities in your baby. Also, jumping on their feet, when they cannot see their feet, is confusing to their brain and inhibits neurological development of motor skills.
If you need your hands free for a few moments, tummy time is the best position to place your baby to allow them to develop their core postural muscles, learn to play in their environment and become comfortable with being independent.
At Pure Light Family Chiropractic, we are always here to support you and educate you on the many choices of parenting, especially when it comes to matters of your children’s health, safety and well-being. We always encourage making informed, conscious parenting choices. All children, especially those who have used baby jumpers, should be checked and adjusted by a trained pediatric chiropractor on a regular basis. A healthy spine and nervous system will ensure your baby’s proper development during every stage of their life.