Stability Versus Mobility

During this month’s BOTM classes, we had a great opportunity to see kiddos moving along with their motor skills (pun intended). As babies grow, they develop strength in their muscles and begin to explore new developmental positions. When they are learning a new skill, babies are simply focused on staying up – or having the stability to be in that position. For the newborn, this may mean that they lay on their back with their legs curled up and arms tucked in to their body, or even flat on the surface which can support them. As they get older and stronger, your baby starts to reach his arms out and kick his legs, playing with new-found mobility. When he begins to sit, he may keep his legs wide apart, giving him a larger base of support which makes him more stable in a sitting position. He may also keep his arms out to the sides to help him balance. While this position with his arms and legs out makes him more stable, it limits his ability to play and move out of this position. As your baby gets stronger, more confident, and has more practice in this new position, he starts to bring his legs closer together, use his hands to reach for toys both near and far, and allows himself to move his body in different directions. This transition from stability to mobility is important, and we see it happen in each position that a baby masters. For some babies, this step between stability and mobility can be tricky. It may be that he doesn't feel comfortable with the idea of moving, or is just unsure of how to get there. Some babies keep their legs out wide even after they have been practicing sitting for a while. They may need extra encouragement or help keeping their legs closer together to make moving over them easier. Once your baby learns that she can move from her sitting position, she starts to explore getting from sitting onto her tummy or even her hands and knees. As she gets onto hands and knees or up on her feet for standing, the process of moving from stability to mobility starts again. With each new position that your baby explores, she will first work to master the ability to just be in that position.  Once she masters staying in the position, she is on to moving while in the position, and eventually on to the next position!