Eliza Parker, Specialty Nanny

Developmental Support

"It's amazing how quickly he's learned [walking, running, & kicking].  I talk to friends with similar aged kids, and they all talk about a much longer learning process and many more problems with balance. I really think he's as agile and balanced as he is because of your work with him.  You've made a big difference in his life!" -Mom in NC

What is developmental support?

It is play-interaction focused on supporting optimal development. The developmental milestones build the foundation for all the movement we do as adults, as well as our emotional patterning. All of the milestones are important. I engage Baby in ways that encourage her highest potential for movement, connection, self-image, and self-expression.

Who is it for?

It is for typically-progressing babies, those experiencing challenges, and even grown-ups.

Many babies follow an expected progression. There are still ways caregivers can support their movements and sense of safety. Every baby benefits from simple handling tips and having caregivers come down to their perceptual level.

Many babies show "unique" ways of moving or experience challenges, such as discomfort in Tummy Time, not using a limb, or scooting on the bottom. Through non-invasive play-interaction, I gently assist them in finding the missing movements for themselves.

Developmental movements are wonderful for adults! Rebuilding this foundation can provide comfort, grounding, and recuperation. They can improve daily movement, brain function, concentration, and problem-solving, just like they do for babies.

Why is developmental support important?

A baby's comfort level in movement affects all aspects of her daily life. 

  • It is intertwined with brain development, balance, coordination, and learning habits
  • It greatly influences self confidence, the ability to self-soothe, her feeling of security, and her ability to adjust to new people, locations, and experiences 
  • It affects her ability to modulate emotions  

Most importantly, it is not just about physicality! Each pattern has emotional, psychological, and spiritual correlations. The quality of a baby's movements influence her sense of self and her means to move in the world and get what she needs.  

Lastly, let's consider Baby's future. Movement challenges in infancy are not simply "grown out of." Left un-addressed, they can easily become problems in childhood or adulthood, such as back pain, hip or knee instability, behavioral difficulties, and learning challenges.


Parents often find that this increased understanding and appreciation for what Baby is doing while "lying on the floor" strengthens bonding and deepens a felt honor for the child's fascinating growth process. 

So join Baby and me on the floor, and experience for yourself this amazing world of potential!

 You are your child's first teacher

Of course! Most parents realize their children will learn much from them about life. But there is much taught even in the first few months. How we handle babies plays a role in setting a child's habits of muscle tone, learning, relating, and self-soothing. The way we hold and move babies patterns their own movement and their ability to self-modulate through physical means. Through informed handling skills, we can support their comfort in Tummy Time, mimic their most efficient way of coming to sitting, transmit a feeling of safety, avoid the startle response, teach self-soothing skills, and foster good posture, balance, and comfort moving in all directions in space. This asks us to come down to their perceptive level and movement ability, rather than unconsciously asking them to come up to ours. Through sensitive handling, we can empower children to become confident, curious, self-modulating, and self-aware!

Handling Tip 

Your baby is lying on her back. How do you pick her up? You may put your hands around her ribs and pick her straight up. Notice what happens to her head; does it fall back or does she use her neck muscles to hold it? Also notice the direction she's traveling: forward. Try this: fold in her legs and arms, keeping her in a little ball, and roll her to her side. From there, either scoop her up toward you (younger babies) or bring her to sitting and then pick her up (older babies). This allows ease of movement in her neck, teaches her the pathway she'll eventually use to come to sitting, reminds her how to curl into a ball to balance all the arching she's doing while on her tummy, and moves her inner ear in different orientations to gravity. It also helps her become comfortable with the sensation of rolling, which will help her be comfortable in Tummy Time, since she'll know the pathway into and out of it.

Does sitting and walking my baby before he can do so himself help him learn how?

No, sitting or walking a child does not actually teach him to sit or walk. The human nervous system develops in a way that builds support step by step. He will learn to sit by doing all the steps that come before sitting--like balancing tone in his torso through rolling and learning how to play on his side. One day, he will end up sitting because he has done all the preparation! 

Putting a child into a position he cannot get into himself during playtime promotes unbalanced tone and compensation patterns that will make other developmental movements harder to learn. A typically-developing child will have the rest of his life (40, 60, 80, 100 years?) to sit and walk. It is well worth the extra time now to build up all the important steps!

I am told that my child should be hitting milestones at particular times. What if she doesn't?

We live in a society built largely around achievement, often without room for honoring one's personal process. There is indeed a typical timeframe and progression for movement milestones. However, within this, there is a lot of variation. If a child shows challenge meeting a milestone, she may either need more time exploring where she already is or there may be a blocked pathway in her nervous system. In the latter case, there are simple non-invasive ways to help her through play. She will also pick up on what you are feeling. It is most important to honor her timing and help her meet all the milestones without skipping ahead. The sooner play-support is given, the better; but it is never too late.

I think that "Baby Knows Best." Why, then, would she need developmental support?

Many people assume that "baby knows best" and that if she is scooting on her bottom, that is what she needs to do. Sometimes infants do skip stages. However, this was not an informed choice Baby made, but rather an unconscious compensation for a neuro-muscular pathway that is not expressing. This isn't a bad thing, it's a request for help. It can be opened gently and non-invasively through play. 

Some babies will do particular movements only on one side. Having preferences is necessary for survival; but having all options available is necessary for coordination, balanced movement through the body, and spontaneous freedom of movement and expression. 

Parents are often told that their child will "grow out of" something. Typically, instead, it fades into compensation habits. It is truly best to catch challenges as early as possible because what happens now will affect what happens later. 

If you have questions or would like to speak with me about my work, please contact me: 


Also see my blog: www.ConsciousBaby.com