This article was updated and lightly expanded in 2019. You find all of our best kid and baby movement articles gathered in the article More Movement for Babies and Kids.
Our sedentary culture is continuously developing ways of avoiding movement (drive-throughs, cars, hand-bags, strollers, convenience stores) in order to get more done. "Getting more done", in this case, typically refers to sedentary activities like working, so while it seems like we are doing more, we're actually doing less. (Read more about this in Movement Matters.)
Nature is wise and has a way of supplying the situations necessary for human growth. Until recently humans have always carried their children, which is great, because lifting and carrying them makes you stronger and better at lifting and carrying them and plus they're constantly getting heavier so if you want to be able to carry them tomorrow, carrying them today is your training program.
There are lots of devices to help with carrying but here I am talking about in-arm carrying, as it supplies not only the environment for baby strength development, it also provides an opportunity for parents and alloparents to peak their upper body muscle strength. P.S. I carry not only for the use of the arms; carrying moves the areas around the breast area, and breast movement plays and important roll during baby-time.
And your arms end up looking pretty awesome too.
There are many barriers to baby-holding; this article addresses the most physiological of them: a lack of carryingstrength. (There's also the reality that you’re going to have to get less "stuff" done. I’m typing this at 4:40 AM because I won’t be able to later as my arms might be occupied.)
Now, even if you're not doing the bulk of your baby transportation in your arms, your still lifting and holding your baby a lot. When arm strength isn’t there yet, we use all sorts of tricks to “help” hold the weight of the baby, but then suffer the consequences of tight necks and shoulders, achy hips and low backs.
Because I love you, I made this video to give your baby-holding an alignment makeover:
And, I wanted to share what is perhaps the best photo ever:
In case you couldn’t tell, this is a picture of a leopard slug sliming up my leopard garden boots.
I can only imagine that mating conversation:
Slug: Heeeey bay-bee. Heeey big girl. I haven’t see you around these parts before...
Slug: You play-in’ hard to get? How bout a big kisssssssssssssssssss.