Like many young moms, Jessa Duggar Seewald has been filling her Instagram feed with pictures of her growing family.
Earlier this week, reports Cafe Mom, the “Counting On” star posted a new picture of her two-month-old son, Henry Wilberforce, as he held onto her husband’s hands.
“Ya know, a month old, and already takin’ my first steps,” Jessa joked in the caption.
But her fans on Instagram didn’t think it was very funny.
Immediately people started commenting that babies shouldn’t stand until they are older or it could injure their legs:
But other commenters pushed back and argued that standing a baby on his, or her, legs is healthy for physical development.
They brushed off the angry commenters and told them their claim was unfounded:
So, which is true?
According to Children’s National Hospital, most babies are born with bowlegs due to the way babies sit in the uterus.
The baby’s legs typically straighten as he or she learns to walk. The bowleggedness should disappear by the time the child turns two or three years old.
If the legs remain bowed, they are usually impacted by one of several different disorders including rickets, Blount’s disease, bone fractures, lead or other poisoning, abnormal bone growth, or other factors.
Parents should contact their doctors if they notice abnormal development in their child’s legs.
In an interview with Independent Journal Review, Dr. Laura Jana, pediatrician and author of “The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow,” said she regularly fields this question from new parents.
She said parents don’t need to worry:
“Many babies like to be in that upright position. They often extend, or stiffen, their legs a bit to give the perception of standing, and may even seem to take steps, both with adult assistance, and sometimes as a matter of reflex. This has long excited some parents, and caused others concern about whether this does any harm. The answer is that helping hold an infant upright in a supported standing position is not a problem since they are clearly not having to hold up/support their own weight.”
Children generally take their first steps between nine and 12 months, and start walking soon afterwards.
Parents should be wary of their baby’s development as the child continues to learn motor and muscle control.
Last month, Jessa posted a picture of baby Henry with red spots all over his face, which were later identified by commenters as baby acne.
It appears that with each new family portrait, the “Counting On” star is inadvertently teaching new parenting tips and debunking old myths about raising children.
Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication to include comments by Dr. Laura Jana.