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Preemies and W-Sitting

As a preemie mom, I feel like I’ve been exposed to a lot of uncommon medical terms.  (A coworker told me her nephew has been diagnosed with craniostynosis and I immediately knew what she was talking about.)  However, the first time one of Addie’s therapists mentioned “W-sitting,” I was a little taken aback.

“What sitting?” I asked.

The therapist pointed out that Addie’s legs were in a W formation as she played on the floor—and told me that “W-sitting” is a no-no for preemies.

http://www.preemiebabies101.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/015-300x450.jpgAccording to pediatricservices.com:

“When in the W-position, a child is planted in place or “fixed” through the trunk. This allows for play with toys in front, but does not permit trunk rotation and lateral weight shifts (twisting and turning to reach toys on either side). Trunk rotation and weight shifts over one side allow a child to maintain balance while running outside or playing on the playground and are necessary for crossing the midline while writing and doing table top activities.”

Addie was actually a late walker—she started the day before her second birthday (21 months adjusted).  The main reason for the delay was a tightness in her pelvic region, which could have a direct correlation to her sitting in the W formation when she was younger.

If you notice your child prefers to “W-sit,” you may want to bring it up with your pediatrician or therapist.


  1. Thanks for the tip! I had NO idea 🙂

  2. This is interesting! Sometimes I wonder how my head hasn’t popped off from all the things I have to remember for my preemie to do and not do. My daughter (9 months – 6 months adjusted) is not quite sitting yet, but I will definitely keep this in mind when she does – since she is getting so close!

  3. my son is only 5 n half months (3 months corrected) so i dont have to worry just yet but wont be long as hes already weaning!!
    i sit like this alot but i have hip displasia and osteoarthritis so only way i can sit low on the floor to play with my son

  4. My preemie is now 6 and he STILL W sits. 3 years of Physical Therapy couldn’t cure this! We still try but at this point are just so grateful for all that he has overcome!

  5. Very interesting. Going to keep my eye out for that. On my last visit to the NICU followup clinic they also said exersaucers are no no’s for preemies. Luckily we never really got into using one. So much to know about these little miracles!

  6. My triplets would be 2 in october 2010 and they were born at 27 weeks and 4 days. i never used walkers for them and two walked at 12 months and my third triplet walked and 14 months. I was told that walker’s are no no’s for preemies

  7. Thanks for all you inputs. I work in a daycare/kindergarden where we have preemies, along with the full term kids. Not being a mother to one but only helping out… there are meny things one doesn’t always think about. I will visit this website often, I think…

  8. hi! my daughter is a preemie and she has been sitting like that. she is an extremely late walker, she’s already three now. still not walking yet. her therapists (in hospital and school) have warned me about this.

    i was told to constantly get her to sit cross-legged, of course with my help. i’m just afraid that this could be the crook that made my daughter a late walker.

    i dunno.

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