Last week I posted this article The One Thing Standing in the Way of Your Baby Walking on our Facebook page.
I do suggest that you read the actual research article Go naked: Diapers affect infant walking. You can find the full version embedded within the first article in this post or via the researcher's site, referenced below.
From the study: "It seems that in the search for a pure, context-free description of developing motor skills, it did not occur to researchers that something as non-biological and culturally dictated as diapers might influence locomotion. Whereas biomechanics are the domain of the movement scientist, exotic clothing and toileting practices are considered the realm of anthropologists."
There are actually lots of things we do as parents that fall outside of "natural child development." As ancestral health and evolutionary medicine My Kids are almost entirely device free, but even we can't seem to escape the dreaded bucket car seat. The bucket slouch (hey, are you doing one right now?) is the rearrangement of bones to balance the geometry of the body in lieu of stabilizing the spine through core muscle activation. The bucket slouch usually involves a tucked pelvis.
We tuck when we're weak in the abdomen, yes, but it is likely that you began tucking first due to forced and static positioning in your earliest years. The weakness is the result of habits established way back on your personal timeline.
Because I know musculoskeletal-shaping habits are starting now, I try to offset the car seat and slouchy in-diaper sitting as best as I can. Below is a video of me taking some of the "bucket seat" out of Roan's pelvis. This gentle nudge helps aligns her core musculature with the gravitational load. This will optimize her core muscle recruitment needed for crawling and standing. (There is also a quick lesson on Elimination Communication as interpreted by Mr. Finn.)
You can try this yourself too, although you have many decades of habit-induced tension which will oppose the motion of the pelvis. Roan's pelvis is like buttah. She hasn't had time to set in long-term habits.
I actually don't encourage harping on your child's alignment, but gentle and subtle corrections early on in conjunction with changing the environment (fewer buckets) can improve the outcome. Kids develop beautifully with minimal intervention -- they key is recognizing when we are intervening (with diapers and buckets) without realizing it.
Like all parents, I face the reality of parenting in the modern world. What we have found works well for our family is:
1. Lots of naked time. (Which is followed by lots of carpet cleaning time.)
2. Elimination Communication (EC). I'd like to say, publicly, that we are totally half-assers when it comes to EC, but even the little we use it saves us messes and diapers.
Seriously, isn't this the MOST PERFECT LITTLE POO you ever saw?
3. Variability...to everything!
As in all things alignment, I'd like to stress that there isn't really an incorrect position for a human, meaning it's OK for a baby to tuck his or her pelvis when the tucking occurs naturally, without external facilitation. The issue is our children are likely to be presented, repeatedly, with devices and technology (yes, a chair is technology) that will force their bodies to adapt to the repeated shape.
Moving in all sorts of ways is one of the human body's defining features. We are simply living in a time where the unnatural frequency of single positions or ranges of motion (and the buckety-bucketedness of everything) is leaving an imprint on the pelvis and hips (and spine and knees and then feet) that lasts a lifetime.
Find other publications by Dr. Adolph here (click). Do not even THINK of clicking on that link unless you have nothing else to do for the next seven hours. You've been warned.
P.S. I'll be talking on this (and other biomechanical outcomes of early and natural childhood development) at the Ancestral Health Symposium this August in Altanta!