I know you have seen it. Maybe you own one. As a chiropractor, I’m going to share why it is a piece of baby equipment that will not be entering our house – the Bumbo Seat….
First off, let me say, I understand why you love it.
- You finally can get some things done around the house
- Your baby can see what you are doing, so they don’t scream when you walk away for a moment
- You think it will help your child to sit upright more quickly and you want them to experience their world
- You have heard that it helps create postural trunk control and you are just trying to do your best to give your baby the best start in life
- It allows for a child to get the hands into midline play
- Or that it can assist a baby who needs to be upright after feeding due to reflux
This chair was designed to seat young babies who can’t sit up by themselves yet. From the Bumbo website, they say you can use it as soon as your baby can support their own head.
Here is the problem: When children are placed in a Bumbo chair before they are developmentally ready for sitting, it will interfere with your baby’s natural progression of skills.
Between 6-9 months, we expect typical children to begin to sit upright on the floor. By 9-12 months, they should be gaining more control in seated positions and be able to turn their trunk or grab toys placed around them.
Think about what a baby has to first learn to be able to do a complex movement like sitting. First, they have to be able to be comfortable on their tummy, be able to pick up their heads, then stabilize their heads, push up with their arms and have the strength to do so, finding their balance all the way along – all before they are able to sit with help and then sit by themselves.
Have you ever watched your child (or any child in a bumbo seat)?
Active control of the core muscles is NOT being achieved. Your Baby is placed into the seat and locked in. If the chair is working the way it is designed to, it is not allowing any muscle activation or joint movement to occur.
On top of this, your baby’s spine is in a poor position – the seat stabilizes the child into posterior pelvic tilt, facilitating lumbar flexion while also putting the head into an anterior position.
Think of yourself sitting poorly on the couch, spine rounded, while you’re watching your favourite TV show at the end of a long, busy day – we all know this is not good for us. It is no better for your baby.
So in my opinion – ditch the chair.
Put your baby on the ground for some tummy time and play or wear your baby if you need to get some stuff done around the house.
Your baby’s nervous system and surrounding spine thanks you!