I was busy holding my little girl this morning, standing on my lap/tummy while I lay on the couch and I started to analyse just how good this is for her, so I thought Id share it with you all!
This is aimed at young babies who have just started to bear weight through the legs (around 2-3 months of age).
Here's my list of reasons why babies should stand when supported by you, rather than on the floor or in various forms of entertainment stations:
1) here the pressure through the feet is on a soft but dense surface, which helps with arch development and provides support for the entire sole of the foot. Something hard (like the base of an exersaucer or the floor) cant move under the foot nor can it support the entire surface area of the sole, causing stretching of unsupported muscles and ligaments. A soft pillow doesn't have the density our bodies do, so it isn't quite tough enough to fully support the foot either.
2) here they have the ability to bend and straighten legs with their own control (and mostly this happens through reflexes) which helps to develop strength an coordination. When positioned in a seat they aren't able to bend and straighten their legs in this way, and the seat is giving the hips full support so it limits normal movement of the legs.
3) her entertainment station is my face - which is also coincidentally about 30-40cm away from her, and perfect for her current visual capacity development. I pull faces at her and talk to her constantly, I taught her to pull her tongue out at me and she can focus on my face and learn emotional expression (something like this cannot be gained from a colorful toy which, to be honest, she wouldn't really be able to grasp yet or explore with anyway, and would probably overstimulate her). In an exersaucer, they are too small to stand in such a way that allows their hands and arms to move in order to reach and try grasp things, and most of them sit with their tummies against the front of the seat anyway, so they really can't move much at all.
4) I can choose where to provide support when she seems to tire out. I often hold her at the hips initially. This frees up her hands and she tries to grab at and touch my face. At times I hold her hands only, which gets her tummy muscles working really hard, and other times i hold her around the middle for support when she is just enjoying standing and looking at me. She sometimes looks down at her legs and feet too, which she wouldn't be able to do in an exersaucer.
5) When she gets tired, I bend my knees and let her sit and rest lying on my legs. From this position i can hold her hands and she can pull herself up into sitting, and from there up into standing (my favorite exercise, its like baby sit-ups!)
I love the quality of the time spent with her in this position and i get a workout too - she stands on my tummy and I have to activate my muscles so that she balances and is upright! Win-win situation, right?
Just another reason to play with your baby instead of giving them something to play in!