Q&A: 7 Month Old Not Putting Weight on Legs

CME WebsitesChild Development, Infants 3 - 12 Months

blockquote_bgMy son is seven months old. He rolls over, can lift his head and seems to have pretty good control. He cannot sit by himself, but can sit supported. I am concerned because when I am holding him he won’t put any weight down on his feet on my legs. I see other children younger than him bouncing up and down. He is barely pushing down on his feet. Should I be concerned?

Even though you see babies younger than your son bearing weight and bouncing, most children are able to bear weight on their feet somewhere between 7-9 months of age, so your son may just need a bit more time to complete this skill. Since he is actively rolling and lifting his head, as well as sitting with support those skills sound within normal limits. Since crawling comes before walking, you can practice skills such as placing your son over a roll made of blankets or your lower leg and work on weight bearing on his hands and knees first, gently rocking him back and forth to encourage weight shifting. Place toys to the left and right sides to encourage him to lift one arm and bear weight on the other hand. To work on weight bearing on his feet you can sit him straddling your lower leg or thigh so his feet rest flat on the floor and rock back and forth encouraging him to bear weight gently on one foot then the other, and as he gets stronger encouraging him to pull up into a standing position.

You can also sit him on your lap facing away from you, and sing a song, as you rock him side to side and gently apply some downward pressure to his knees (make sure his bare feet are flat on the floor under his knees-he should always be placed so his body is in alignment). You could also sit him on a small ball, small enough so his feet are flat on the floor when seated and do the same exercises, supporting him at the trunk/hips as needed. I would also mention your concerns to your pediatrician at his next well baby visit. Depending on the advice of your pediatrician, if you are still concerned about his motor skills and your son is not bearing weight and starting to bounce by around 9-10 months of age you may wish to have a physical therapy evaluation through your local Early Intervention provider.