Why do you sit me up?

Source: Moverse en Libertad
26 may, 2013 by adminfreeimage-2155693-highI never liked the idea of sitting up babies early in life. In the beginning my reasons were more related with musculoskeletal issues, specifically to avoid stress in bones and joints that are still developing and consequently not prepared to support weight. Today I still advocate against sitting up babies but my reasons have changed, and now I think more about emotional and cognitive development, sensory nutrition, and growing up as active human beings. Let me explain further.

fuente autobiografia.blogspot.com

Sitting up our babies early in life is not a new practice in our society. Back in the 1950s the paediatrician Emmi Pikler already described how unnatural this common practice was and how those babies who were exposed to that posture early in their life showed a completely different posture in comparison to those babies who were raised up following the freedom of movement concept. She found that those babies were more likely to be tense and look as they had “swallowed a broomstick”. This kind of muscle tension is an understandable reaction to an unbalanced situation where the trunk is expected to keep a vertical position even though it has not had much time exercising antigravity muscles in previous postures such as tummy time (when the baby is rolling by himself). Thus, adults impose a posture that the baby is not able to achieve on his own and, in consequence, interfere with the normal developmental sequence of that child.

A couple of years ago, I did a lecture in Chile about the “Freedom of movement and Emmi Pikler’s approach” to physiotherapists, early childhood teachers, and students. I asked: When do children sit up by themselves? There was a range of answers: some of them said between 4 and 5 months, others said 6 months and some said 8 months. The only clear thing about the answers was that it was not clear at all. To answer this question, we need to start by asking if we all have the same understanding of what it means to “sit up”.

I can sit!

We need to analyse what we mean by “sitting up”, because there are significant differences between keeping that posture and reaching that posture. Let’s examine this further. When a baby manages to keep sitting up when an adult puts him in that position, it is because he has experienced this posture several times and is able to sort out the imbalance and keep the position. Nevertheless, if that baby falls over, he is not able to regain the position on his own. On the other hand, when sitting up is a posture that babies build from their own motivation and sensorimotor resources derived from exploring with their bodies, it does not require practice or teaching and is part of a chain of milestones that are inherent in our genes as a species. In general, a baby sits up by his own after rolling, twisting, and crawling, and this usually happens around nine months.


Therefore, respecting the developmental process of our babies means that we support and encourage their self-motivated exploration and avoid listening to the comments of other adults who will not hesitate to judge this practice as delaying our child’s development. From my professional and personal experience, I truly believe that a child who is not made to sit up by an adult in his early days and is, to the contrary, able to explore the world at his own pace, is a baby who will develop active movement earlier. He will be able to roll and become aware that if he rolls two times he can get something he likes, so he will be ready to move around a long time earlier than starting to crawl or walk. At the same time, and as a direct consequence of not being put in a position he is not able to keep, we have a child who feels secure and content in his own body and builds the awareness of active embodiment in space. As a result he develops more and more complex relationships with his environment and becomes an active explorer of the world.

When a child is made to sit up by an adult early in life, his exploration abilities are restricted by the imbalance and he will probably need constant assistance during his play; someone who will give him the toys and also give them back when they fall from his hands. Moreover, he will probably complain more often, reacting to what happened in his environment. A baby who explores from his own motor abilities will not need this constant assistance as he is able to do things by his own or is flexible enough to change his mind if he is not able to reach something he wants. That is probably why Emmi Pikler called one of her books “Peaceful babies, contented mothers”.


In addition, if a baby is made to sit up early, his legs become a static part of the posture rather than being active as in rolling or crawling, skipping some very important milestones in his life. This lack of activation contrasts with the active and flexible legs of a baby who moves around, and a brain which is receiving constant sensory information from muscles, joints, touch and vestibular system. As a result, the baby who is in movement will have a more complex map of his body in his brain.

fuente www.waldorftoday.com

We could go on with many more reasons about why we should avoid sitting up our babies early in life, but perhaps another important thing we should keep in mind is… What is the rush? If we think about how much time this baby will spend sitting in his life, it will probably, similar to our own experience – i.e., too much time. So again, what is the rush?…better to give them the opportunity to actively discover the environment that surrounds them. As adults, we do not need to teach them how to move, we just need to trust in their own abilities and observe them unfold their full potential.

*Many thanks to David Moore from The School for FM Alexander Studies in Melbourne who generously edited my first translation.

Some Shocking Facts About Cot Death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS )

There has been a BBC story doing the rounds on Facebook about why Finland has such a low cot death rate (also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS). It got me thinking about the global statistics of SIDS and how/if it’s different for each country. I was really shocked at what I found.Below are the statistics for SIDS from a 2004 WHO report. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to find any other up to date global statistics on SIDS. Interestingly (and annoyingly) the report ranked each country by the number of deaths per year. Obviously the USA, with such a huge population, ranked as the highest place for babies to die of SIDS (China and India were not included). But when I compared the number of deaths per country by the birth rate and how many babies are born there was a completely different picture.I was totally shocked to find that New Zealand ranked number one with the highest rate of recorded SIDS in the world! In fact babies are nearly twice as likely to die in New Zealand than they are in America! What is it that this peaceful, developed country is doing that makes it so much more dangerous for babies to sleep compared to El Salvador with all their drugs and gang related problems where they have the lowest recorded SIDS rate in the whole world?

I was also really surprised to see that in 2004 the UK was the safest place for babies to sleep in the western world at a 0.004% SIDS death rate. However, according to a BBC article, in 2010 254 babies died of SIDS. That’s 222 more babies dying than just six years previously. I wonder how correct all of these statistics are?

According to the WHO statistics more than 99.8% of babies all over the world will NOT die of cot death (SIDS). I always believed the rates were high and every baby was in danger. However, looking at the statistics below I really can’t figure out what is actually making the difference. How can there be such a big difference between all these countries?

Going back to the BBC article about Finland we can see that actually in 2004 babies were six times more likely to die there than in the UK. There is such a huge difference in the size of the population so when you look just at the numbers of deaths you can be very misled about the real picture. What is it that the UK is doing so much better than all the other westernised countries?

Looking at the statistics you will also notice that the poorer the country the safer babies sleep. Could this be to do with CoSleeping, breastfeeding, vaccinations, toxins in the water, the family unit, or maybe even genetics? But maybe all or none of these?

There is still a huge debate about what causes a baby to die in their sleep. It’s possible that for every baby that dies there is some one thing that has actually caused it no matter where in the world they are. We just don’t know yet. It does seem that the UK is doing something right, maybe something as simple as lying a baby on their back will stop the trigger from causing their death. Maybe it’s something else.

If you have more up to date statistics please will you let me know as I would like to do a more recent analysis.

Take a look at the summary table below and see just how much difference there is in a country’s ranking when considering their population… What surprises you most about this?

Table of Statistics: Rate of SIDS including population and birth rates 2004 (pdf)

Rank by Birth Rate
Nationmaster.com Rank by number of deaths
Amount of Cot Deaths (SIDS) 2004 Percentage of Cot Deaths
# 1 # 15 New Zealand: 62 0.114%
=2 = 32 Latvia: 17 0.074%
=2 = 42 Belize: 6 0.074%
# 4 # 8 Chile: 144 0.064%
# 5 # 1 United States: 2,523 0.063%
# 6 # 2 Germany: 429 0.062%
# 7 = 50 Barbados: 2 0.059%
# 8 = 23 Uruguay: 26 0.057%
# 9 # 49 Luxembourg: 3 0.056%
# 10 # 16 Paraguay: 56 0.053%
# 11 = 50 Malta: 2 0.049%
# 12 = 44 Qatar: 4 0.047%
=13 # 5 Argentina: 303 0.045%
=13 = 19 Austria: 32 0.045%
# 15 # 10 Australia: 103 0.042%
# 16 = 44 Bahrain: 4 0.041%
# 17 = 29 Norway: 20 0.040%
# 18 # 9 Canada: 121 0.036%
=19 # 3 Japan: 363 0.034%
=19 # 31 Denmark: 19 0.034%
=21 # 22 Sweden: 28 0.030%
=21 # 35 Kuwait: 14 0.030%
=21 = 36 Croatia: 13 0.030%
=21 # 39 Lithuania: 10 0.030%
=25 # 21 Nicaragua: 30 0.029%
=25 = 44 Estonia: 4 0.029%
# 27 = 53 Iceland: 1 0.026%
# 28 = 13 Ecuador: 65 0.025%
# 29 = 36 Finland: 13 0.024%
# 30 # 28 Hungary: 22 0.023%
=31 # 11 Korea, South: 87 0.021%
=31 = 53 Bahamas, The: 1 0.021%
=33 # 7 South Africa: 164 0.020%
=33 # 27 Israel: 24 0.020%
=35 # 12 Spain: 70 0.017%
=35 # 34 Czech Republic: 15 0.017%
# 36 = 29 Kyrgyzstan: 20 0.016%
# 37 = 25 Netherlands: 25 0.014%
# 38 # 6 Mexico: 261 0.013%
# 39 # 41 Slovakia: 7 0.012%
=40 # 4 Brazil: 318 0.011%
=40 # 18 Poland: 43 0.011%
# 42 = 32 Dominican Republic: 17 0.010%
=43 = 42 Costa Rica: 6 0.009%
=43 = 44 Puerto Rico: 4 0.009%
=45 # 40 Cuba: 8 0.007%
=45 = 44 Moldova: 4 0.007%
=47 # 17 Colombia: 45 0.006%
=47 = 53 Slovenia: 1 0.006%
=49 = 23 Venezuela: 26 0.005%
=49 = 25 Peru: 25 0.005%
=49 # 38 Romania: 11 0.005%
=52 = 13 Egypt: 65 0.004%
=52 = 19 United Kingdom: 32 0.004%
# 54 = 50 Panama: 2 0.003%
# 55 = 53 El Salvador: 1 0.001%


The pillow that gives you the most comfortable night’s sleep. Ideal for CoSleeping, breastfeeding while side lying and anyone with lower back and hip pains. www.mumanu.com

Do You Have Sciatica Hip Pain?

Man suffering from sciatica
Source: Low Right Back Pain HQ
Photo from Boots.com
23rd May 2013The largest nerves found in the human body are the sciatic nerves. Measuring approximately the same size in diameter as a little finger, the nerves exit the spinal column in the lumbar region, travel behind the hip and continue down through the buttock and the back of each leg to the foot. The length and size of the nerve creates a host of symptoms unique to sciatica hip pain.

Sciatica Symptoms

Unlike common lumbar pain, sciatica hip pain typically begins toward the hip region and travels down the affected leg, sometimes down to the foot. Depending on the impingement, the pain varies from annoying to disabling. The sensation ranges from tingling or burning to a deep, sharp shooting pain. The painful sensation often originates or worsens with movement or position changes that include standing from a sitting position. Coughing, laughing, sneezing or having a bowel movement often also intensifies pain.

Some individuals also might experience pain in one region of the leg and numbness in another. Some may experience a weakening in the leg or foot accompanied by sciatica hip pain. The weakness may become so severe that mobility becomes difficult.

Sciatica Causes

The discomfort begins when the nerve sustains compression or irritation. The pain may begin suddenly after lifting a heavy object or moving quickly. Sciatica hip pain also begins when various physiological changes occur.

Herniated or slipped discs remain the most common contributing factor. The discs lie between each vertebra and consist of a tough exterior and a gel like interior. Approximately the shape and size of a common checker, the discs provide shock absorbing cushioning. If the outer covering of the disc ruptures, the gelatinous interior oozes through the disc and compresses the sciatic nerve.

Spinal stenosis often occurs during the normal aging process and involves a narrowing of the vertebral space that surrounds the spinal column. The excess bone applies direct pressure to the sciatic nerve. People suffering from spinal stenosis often experience bilateral sciatica or discomfort radiating toward both hips.
Other aging factors that contribute to the condition include osteoarthritis or fractures caused by osteoporosis.

Spondylolisthesis refers to the condition involving a vertebra shifting out of place and over the adjoining vertebra, which compresses the sciatic nerve.

Piriformis syndrome describes the circumstance when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or trapped by the piriformis muscle of the buttock.

Though rare, blood clots, systemic infections or tumors might also create the condition.

Seek Medical Attention

Individuals suffering sciatica hip pain should seek medical intervention under the following circumstances:

* Symptoms persist longer than three days or become progressively worse.
* Anyone younger than 20 or older than 55 experiencing sciatica for the first time.
* If currently diagnosed with cancer or have a history of cancer.
* If recently experiencing severe weight loss, unexplained chills or fever accompanied by back pain.
* Have a diagnosis of HIV positive.
* Use IV drugs.
* Experience difficulty bending forward for more than one or two weeks.
* Unexplained and increasing leg weakness.
* Inability to feel sensation or move the legs or feet.
* Unbearable pain not relieved by OTC medications or other first aid treatments.
* The pain occurs after a traumatic injury.
* Experience numbness in the genital region, lose bladder or bowel control.

Home Treatment

Avoid positions that increase pain. Lie on your back with a Mumanu support pillow under the knees, or assume a side lying position with a Mumanu support pillow [under the top leg] to maintain hip alignment. However, remaining immobile for extended periods of time often exacerbates the condition. Take OTC anti-inflammatory medications per label instructions unless contraindicated if also taking prescription blood thinning medications. Apply an ice pack to the area. Alternate using ice packs with moist, warm heat. You may also check out these [stretches for sciatica]

Sleep deprivation causes men to over perceive women’s sexual interest and intent

Source: Business Standard, ANI | Washington
June 1, 2013One night of sleep deprivation leads to an increase in men’s perceptions of both women’s interest in and intent to have sex, a new study has suggested.

Results showed that when they were well-rested, both men and women rated the sexual intent of women as significantly lower than that of men.

However, following one night of sleep deprivation, men’s rating of women’s sexual intent and interest increased significantly, to the extent that women were no longer seen as having lower sexual intent than men. Sleep deprivation had no significant effect on variables related to commitment.

According to the researchers, sleep deprivation is known to cause frontal lobe impairment, which has a negative effect on decision-making variables such as risk-taking sensitivity, moral reasoning and inhibition. However, this is the first study to investigate the impact of sleep deprivation on romantic and sexual decision-making.

“Our findings here are similar to those from studies using alcohol, which similarly inhibits the frontal lobe,” said co-principal investigator Jennifer Peszka, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., who led the study along with her colleague Jennifer Penner, PhD.

“Sleep deprivation could have unexpected effects on perceptual experiences related to mating and dating that could lead people to engage in sexual decisions that they might otherwise not when they are well-rested. Poor decision-making in these areas can lead to problems such as sexual harassment, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and relationship conflicts which are all factors that have serious medical, educational and economic implications for both the individual and for society,” she noted.

The study group comprised 60 college students who completed the Cross Sex Perception and Sex and Commitment Contrast instruments, developed by Martie Haselton and David Buss, before and after one night of sleep deprivation.

Participants rated level of agreement with a series of statements on 7-point Likert scales regarding sexual interest, sexual intent, commitment interest and commitment aversion for a variety of targets – themselves, and men and women in general.

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP, and Peszka will present the findings Tuesday, June 4, in Baltimore, Md., at SLEEP 2013, the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.