Friday, July 16, 2010


A great part of the Pikler philosophy is the child's motor skills development. What she is saying is that you should not interact, not practice any sitting up, standing or walking, just let the baby develop in his own time.

Thankfully a lot of people agree with that even though they might not be convinced by others of her principles, but still when walking around out and about you see so many parents "walking" their children, who cannot do that themselves, having them sit on their laps for long coffee shop visits etc.... What struck me most though when I was reading about the development of the baby's motor skills on the internet was that most websites were advising to put the baby on the belly for some times during the day to help the child develop neck strength and the ability to lift his upper body. Rather listening to Pikler than those websites the only times I put our son onto his belly was during care times.

This week we had the third pedriatic appointment and the doctor put our son on his belly when he then instantly liftet up his entire upper body, basically "standing" on his hands. I had not seen this before and was pretty amazed.
During the last week he also practiced the comfortable lie on one side of his body.
We have not practiced any of this with him. He is 3,5months old so all of this is part of his normal development.

My advice contrary to most other internet advices on the development of babies is: Do less. Best practice is no practice!

Monday, July 12, 2010


... is what I often hear from parents especially those who are committed to the attachment parenting method. And I agree. But...

... you can form a habit. I haven't been a parent for long but I have met some women who carry their child around with them since day one. And most of them realised problems by putting their baby down just for a second. And I do believe that this might be related to the fact that those children are USED to be carried around.

Recently I answered a question in a parents discussion forum. The mother said that she is carrying around her child most of the day, she can't do anything in the household or for herself and the baby would start crying as soon as she would put him down on the blanket or sofa. Her relatives said she would spoil the child and so she was worried (and a bit annoyed by the fact of not being able to do anything at all). So I wrote she cannot spoil the child - that's right, but she can "help" him get used to be carried around and that she should try to just put him down day after day a little longer while staying with him and showing him her presence, comforting him when he gets upset.
Most of the women who replied to this post started then "attacking" me of accusing the mother of having done wrong. So me saying that her child got used to be carried around suddenly was the biggest problem and the whole discussion was on me. I can understand that it is tough to hear that you have done wrong and I didn't want to say that (and in words I never did). I just read her question and obviously she had a problem. And only later I figured out that the mothers attacking me were supporters of the attachment parenting method.

I am not a big fan of this myself for several reasons but I do think that this method can be taken too serious. When I mentioned that I am educating my child to Emmi Pikler's ideas I was told that I should not focus on it too much and should not follow ALL her principles. This was said by the women who think that you MUST have your child close to your body from day one. I agree that newborns need much body contact. But I also believe that it might help to watch your child and his reactions. Our son fell asleep on my or my husbands chest for the first days. We let him do so and even now he sometimes falls asleep "on me" when he is really tired. But he also needs his space, he loves lying around on his back and he always did. He likes the pram, only sometimes for short distances I carry him in a sling and as soon as I take him out and put him down on the sofa he stretches himself and laughs at me. He does not need to be carried around in this sling all day, he is not spoilt but he is not unhappy either. I believe he is still attached to me. So what I am saying is - before you have your child in a carrying device every day all day long - watch him. How does he feel on his own on the back for some time? Do not form a habit either way, just let him decide what he feels most comfortable with.

And don't take your child to the toilet in the sling or any carrying device with you (yes I hear women do that). A child deserves privacy. So do you.

I was inspired to this post by a recent blog post by Janet Lansbury - "Problems with attachment parenting" where a mother has addressed the same problem as the mother in the forum I mentioned above. Obviously Janet's advice is much more professional than I could write it.