24 answers

Baby Won't Put Weight on Legs

My son will be six-months-old this weekend. He still won't put weight on his legs when I hold him up to have him "stand." He holds his legs up in the air when I hold him up with my hands under his arms/around his chest. He's been this way since he was born. My first son could put weight on his legs when he was a couple of weeks old, and by this age he was bouncing on my lap on his legs. Did anyone else have a child do this and their child turned out just fine?

Here's a little history...my baby was 10 pounds 10 ounces when he was born. He was born vaginally, and he had shoulder distocia. The doctor pulled pretty hard on his head/neck to get him out. He had to go to the chiropractor three times to have his neck adjusted. He can move his arms and legs just fine. He kicks his feet and can bring them up to his hands and face. He just won't put weight on them. Am I just worrying too much?

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So What Happened?™

Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for your responses and advice!! Everyone is just wonderful!
My son is now 8 months old. He was evaluated by his pediatrician at his check-up and by Help Me Grow. His doctor said that he will be fine. He says that he has low muscle tone in his legs, but that it is just the way he is. He doesn't think it is from a birth injury. He thinks he will just be a little slower to crawl and walk than my first son was. The Help Me Grow evaluators said he was behind in a lot of stuff like sitting up, self feeding, supporting himself some with his legs, holding himself up at tummy time. But, his doctor explained the evaluation sheet to me that Help Me Grow did, and he said that he is just fine. They were "failing" him at something that the average child wasn't even ready to do. So, I'm not sure why they were doing that!

Anyway, he is now putting some weight on his legs when I try and get him to stand on my lap. He also uses them more when he is in his exersaucer. So, he is getting stronger all the time! I'm so glad! Also, he's huge! He is now in 18-month clothes, he weighs around 20 pounds, and he is almost 28 inches long! What a moose!! :)

Featured Answers

Worrying too much!!! There are ways to work the legs muscles WITHOUT weight bearing. Bicycle them, push gently on his feet and try to get him to push back (weight bearing), open and close (more of the hip stabilizers). DO NOT COMPARE ONE CHILD TO ANOTHER! Some kids just take longer.

You can always take him to his pediatrician and have a medical problem ruled out. The exersaucer idea is great! My son didn't even sit up until he was 6 or 7 months old and was always very wobbly. His exersaucer and his jumpster (the contraption you can hang on a doorframe) helped him out tremendously!

More Answers

I would be concerned. It may be nothing but much better to be safe than sorry. He should be at least putting resistance to you standing him up on your lap, I mean where his legs can push off of you.
My daughter went to a preschool that dealt with mostly physical or developmental delays, and they would be concerned about low muscle tone.
Look into it now before it goes any farther.

Yes, you are worrying too much. Everyone develops at his/her own pace, and it is useless to compare them, even siblings. Relax and enjoy your baby!

A.:

Yes, you're worrying too much, I have much experience in this area and really 6 months is when people are just starting to put their babies in jumper chairs, etc. It's literally not too safe to be expecting him to be putting too much pressure on those legs, it's not healthy. You're overly concerned, but that's ok, you're normal and obviously a great parent! I applaud you for asking this!

Have a wonderful day,

M. G.

No, you're not worrying too much. I work for the local Health Dept. in a program for moms & babies. We do routine developmental screens and putting weight on legs is one of the things we look at around 6 months. (Maybe earlier-- I do a different job now and I rarely do the screens, but I do remember that that particular item was at 3 or 6 months.)

I recommend that you talk with your pediatrician and request a development screen. (I recommend the Denver Development Screen, it is pretty thorough, well-tested, and most doctors & nurses know how to complete it.)

If you are in Indiana, I also suggest that you look into First Steps. That is the organization that helps identify and treat early developmental delays. Most can be corrected with just a few months of therapy. Services are covered by most insurances & Medicaid and First Steps will not turn a child away because of a family's inability to pay. They do home visits and work around the family's schedule. I love their program!! Your doctor should have their phone number.

Yes, worrying is sometimes a good thing, but try not to stress too much over this. I have seen lots of babies with similar issues and all of them recovered and were caught up with their peers within 1- 1 1/2 years.

I've never heard of this and i would be worried to, BUT what does he do if say you put him in a walker or saucer? will he put his legs down? could be that he just thinks it's fun to keep them up, or he just hasn't gotten it figured out yet that legs have a purpose other than to play with and chew on. i wouldn't panic at this point he is also very young and the worst possible thing you can do is comapre children on stuff like this, even your own. ask your doc the next time you happen to be there, untill then keep letting him try and try not to worry to much.

A.,

Get you son to an othopedic specialist immediately. There is something going on with his legs and you need to find out very, very soon. Don't let it continue because he is young enough to correct it before it becomes a permanent condition. I pray that all goes well.

Nana (J. N)

He is pretty young. I'd give it some time

I was a practicing pediatric physical therapist up until 3 years ago. My suggestion is for you to get him evaluated by a pediatric physical therapist. If you live in the Cleveland area you would contact Help-Me-Grow to get this process started. It is no charge to you and could be well worth it! Especially if he is a big boy, you don't want to be carrying him forever! Anyway it can't hurt to have him looked at and they may have some great suggestions.

Get an exersaucer, babies'r'us carries them so does Target, Walmart, etc. Try working it out this way before you go crazy visiting doctors and physical therapists. My kids loved theirs. But didn't actually bounce around in it until they were more than six months,

Get him an excersaucer. It will allow him to sit when needed and encourage him to gradually put weight on his feet and begin the bouncing process. My friends child was a premie and she had to surround him with blankets, but the doctor told her to use the excersaucer to strengthen his overall muscles.
Be sure is is low enough he will want to stand.
Ask your pediatricia for more suggestions.

maybe you should take him to a physical thereipist. kids do things at different times but it might ease your mind. he may just not be ready but if there is something it is better to catch it early.

my daughter, now 2, was the same way as an infant. She did not walk until 22 months. The docter told me she has low muscle tone in her legs and suggested I contact FirstSteps for physical therapy; which we did. My daughter did not like having the therapist work with her but the therapist gave us good exercises to use at home which we did. She's now an active 2 year old.

I have 4 boys... and my youngest (now almost 16 months) has been a very late bloomer compared to his brothers. He didn't stand on his legs that early either... he was late with rolling over, he didn't crawl until a week before his 1st birthday, and he is STILL not walking (although last week he has started taking a step here and there). And ~ he's absolutely PERFECT! =) His pediatrician has no complaints and says he's just fine. If I were you, I'd bring it up at his next well baby check up, just to be safe, but I wouldn't worry until then.

Best of luck to you and your fam! =)

A.-
My son did not want to put weight on his legs at that point either. He is also my second child (his sister is 2 yr 4 mo older) and I was a little concerned because that was not my experience with my daughter. I think he didn't start putting standing up while like that until sometime b/w 6-9 months. He is now a little over one year old and is doing fine. He's not yet walking without assistance, but he cruises, crawls, bear crawls, and will walk holding onto our hands. His legs are not as strong as I know his sisters were at this point, but every kids is different right? :) I understand your concerns, especially when I would see other kids a lot younger than him standing up on their parents laps, etc I would get really worried. But (so far) everything is just fine!

Have you asked your doctor about this?
I would.
I would be concerned if it were me.
All of my children (6) put weight on their legs much earlier than this.
Does he sit up?
Does he creep at all?
Can he turn over?
What does he do during tummy time?
Do not let your doctor take your concern lightly.

Your son sounds very similar to my daughter. She was 10 lbs 14 oz, born vaginally, but with no distocia. She also did not weight bear on her feet by the time she was 6 months. She had some other delays as well - not sitting, not lifting her head off the floor during tummy time, etc. She has been diagnosed with low muscle tone. I would talk with your pediatrician about getting him in First Steps. My DD has been in the program for about 4 months now and is making dramatic improvements. She is now sitting, standing, kneeling, trying to crawl, etc. She is still a little behind where my other girls were at the same age, but she is doing great.

My six month old son is the exact same way and I have been putting him in a jumper for three months. I just think that my son is a lazy baby. I spoke with my doc about it and he said that everything is just fine. I do find it odd as well when I see other moms with their three months old standing up.

Are you putting him in a jumper? When Cody was three months, it was very difficult to get him to stay on his baby, so the doc recommended that I put him 'snugly' in a jumper. Ever since then he's gotten a lot better with his neck, back and leg strength.

My daughter has a similar story and is almost 9 months and will still not bear weight on legs. She was born with what they they was a clavicle break but turned out not to be. She uses her arms fine and she will kick her legs hard, but does not want to bear weight on them. At about 6 months she was also lifting her legs when we would hold her up. At 9 mos she will jump in her johnny jumper though and my doc says that is an improvement. We are taking her back to her Pyhssical Therapist next week though to have her checked out. Most people tell me that each kid is different and that she may just be more interested in being held. Keep me updated on your little one, but it sounds like we have kids that are very similar. I will let you know what out PT says, but at 6 mos she was still not worried about the fact that she was not bearing weight. Not sure how she will feel about it at 9.....

My son or my nephew wouldn't put weight on their legs either for quite some time. I don't remember exactly when things changed, but they were both walking in the normal time frame, around one year.

A.,

My younger daughter had a similar problem with her leg muscles. The pediatrician did not specifically put her into the "low muscle tone" category, but he did suggest that we see a developmental specialist. After two visits we were given a list of several exercises and told to purchase and exersaucer for home use. My favorite exercise was the leg stretch which is a modifide activity based on the baby massage technique. Basically all you do is take one leg at a time and rub from the hip down to the ankle in circular motions around the leg with you pointy finger and thumb (Kind of like putting on pantyhose.) When you reach the ankle put your palm flat against the bottom of the foot and push gently to make the leg bend at 90 degrees and then move it slowly to the left in a slow circle and then to the right the same way. The goal is to have a little resistance to help build up the muscle and as you progress you should get to the point where you allow the leg to straighten, with resistance, by the time you end each circle. We did this three times to each leg twice a day. Besides being great one-on-one time with my younger daughter, after about two weeks she began to think of it as a game and would gradually push more and more on my hand. I can't tell you how wonderful that felt and how worried I was until she started to participate! The good news is that she just turned four this past January and you would not know that she had any problems when she was a baby.
I wish you luck and hope this helps :)

You can always take him to his pediatrician and have a medical problem ruled out. The exersaucer idea is great! My son didn't even sit up until he was 6 or 7 months old and was always very wobbly. His exersaucer and his jumpster (the contraption you can hang on a doorframe) helped him out tremendously!

My son just turned one and still does not crawl or obviously walk. He was 9lbs and born with hip displasia. He stopped growing at month three, stopped lifting his head while on tummy, and the list can go on. We took him to several specialists and started him with first steps. He was diagnosed with hypothyroidism which contributes to low muscle tone. Since my lil one has been on synthroid and going to first steps, his progress has been amazing! Reading all the moms who have also been through this makes me feel much better. Being a teacher and knowing all kids learn differently and at different paces, it is still difficult not to compare your own child to others.
THANK YOU to all the moms who responded. It's crazy that this is a more common issue than I ever thought!! Thank you :)

A.,
What does his pediatrician say?? Chiropractor?? I'd mention your sons symptoms to a professional first then sew what happens then.
R.

Worrying too much!!! There are ways to work the legs muscles WITHOUT weight bearing. Bicycle them, push gently on his feet and try to get him to push back (weight bearing), open and close (more of the hip stabilizers). DO NOT COMPARE ONE CHILD TO ANOTHER! Some kids just take longer.

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