I’m sure you have noticed, babies like to stand up! With that being said, I still hear parents coming into my office who say, “I am scared to let my baby stand up as my mother (grandmother, father, uncle) tells me that letting a baby put weight on their legs will cause bow-legs! How is it possible that this myth is still being passed on to the next generation?
If you look at a baby’s legs it is easy to see how they were “folded” so that they fit inside the uterus. Those little legs don’t get “unfolded” until after delivery.
A newborn baby’s legs continue to stay bent for awhile and you can easily “re-fold” those legs to see how your baby was positioned in utero. Almost like doing origami.
So, how do those little bent legs get straight? From bearing weight. If you hold a 3-5 month old baby upright they will instinctively put their feet down and bear weight. A 4 month old likes nothing more than to jump up and down while being held. They will play the “jumping game” until you become exhausted. That little exercise is the beginning of remolding the bones of the leg, while straightening the bones.
If you look at most toddlers many do appear bow-legged as the bones have not had long enough to straighten.
Over the next several years you will notice that most children no longer appear bow legged. For most children the bow legs have resolved by the age of 5 years. I child’s final gait and shape of their legs is really determined by about the age of 7 years.
Next time you hear the adage about bow legs, you can politely correct the myth. Standing up is going to make that baby have straight legs!
That’s your daily dose for today. We’ll chat again tomorrow.