Frequently Asked Questions
It’s recommended that a baby will be on the belly from birth while awake (in combination with other positions). In the beginning he would lift his head a little, turn from side to side, and gradually the head lifting improves and with it bringing of the hands bellow the chest towards the body’s midline. At age 3 months the hands are still not placed independently under the chest. This skill is acquired around age 4 months and on. I believe the relevant exercises are listed in the previous answer. In addition, it’s important for him to lie on his back and sides as well. It’s recommended to avoid lying in a bouncer or baby seat beyond the safety needs in a vehicle. Since you are describing a very alert baby the carrying position of cradling in a fabric sling will greatly assist as well for calming and improving lying of the belly.
I don’t see any reason to worry, only to gain tools to practice and improve your son’s learning, especially since you sense that he might experience frustration. It’s important to understand that in the baby’s development there’s much trial and error, there are challenging and not easy experiences that he must deal with, but are not necessarily frustrating but rather building ability and coping for the long term. Since we want him to have experiences of success I suggest repeating the fundamental exercises appearing in earlier answers with the addition of: 1. Any time you want to lay your son on his belly, first lay him on his back. And from the back roll him over to the belly. This way the position of his hands is more correct and lying on the belly and leaning on the elbows will be better. 2. Hold him in your arms in a cradling position (both hands brought closer to the face, bottom low, legs up). Alternately you can use a sling in a cradling position or a hammock. While cradling you can sit on the ball, this bouncing helps in case it’s hard for him to be cradled. Start with this and I’ll be happy to hear how things progress.
Since you didn’t specify details about his development until today and about the manner he crawls, I can only estimate that the reason for him not getting up on hands and knees is connected to low muscle tone. I’ll give you some exercises to encourage getting up on hands and knees, and in case you have additional questions regarding the exercises I’m at your disposal. 1. Lay the baby on his belly. Hold his calves and provide light pressure onto the mattress/rug. See that the baby straightens his elbows, lift his pelvis and stands on hands and knees. 2. Should there be difficulty with the previous exercise, and the baby doesn’t lift his pelvis, lean over him and gradually lift his pelvis upwards. By guiding the movement the baby will learn on his own to push with the hands, the knees and transition to hands and knees. 3. On a fitness ball on the belly move the baby forwards backwards to the right and to the left. With the motion forwards you should accelerate slightly and quick movements that will encourage the baby to straighten his elbows and erect his back. 4. On the ball on the belly. Parent holding on to the calves. Press the calves towards the ball and tilt the ball slightly toward the parent (standing behind the baby). That way the baby will shift weight from the hands to the knees and transition to hands and knees. 5. Later, when the baby gets up on hands and knees, on the ball, bounce in place. Move with little motions upwards downwards, forwards and backwards. I’ll be happy to hear how things go, more details etc. Tali Tzamir Levy, First Step center.
I cannot refer to specific brands since I do not know them. The foot and toes can greatly assist to the stability of standing and walking. The mobility of the foot is important and can help the general movement. At times shoes can prevent the mobility of the foot and toes, burden the general movement and make it clumsy. Likewise it’s important that the child will learn and know different textures like grass, sand, gravel etc. Walking barefoot (or with a specially soft shoe) allows for better balance practice on unleveled surfaces as well.
Standing at a relatively early stage usually stems from over extension of the back. It’s possible to teach the back to be less erect, relax the back muscles and round the back. Likewise it’s possible to familiarize the baby with the use of the whole foot by sensation and touch. A few exercises: -On the back, lift the legs towards the face and back. Repeat a number of times. -Lift the pelvis, place a hand under her buttocks. With one hand hold her legs and with the other roll her pelvis towards her head. That way an elongation of the back muscles is created and mobility in the spine. Repeat a number of times. -Raise her pelvis on your leg. Light patting on the chest in order to release unnecessary muscle tension. -In this position you can go along the calves and provide touch of presses along the muscle in order to release muscle tension if existent. Likewise it’s good to provide touch to the foot: patting, pressing, with a flat surface press along the foot and press and wait to feel a push. Encourage pushing of the whole foot. -Lying on the back bend her knees. Affix feet to the floor (legs hip width apart), press and wait for a pushing of the feet and lifting of the pelvis. -Baby in arms facing outward (baby’s back against parent’s chest). Hold the thighs and lift the buttocks and pelvis so the back rounds. Move toward a wall, place feet against the wall and provide resistance towards the wall. Wait for the baby to push the wall. Repeat this a large number of times. It’s possible to later place in the same position placing the feet on the floor and let the baby feel the floor, push and rise up (with support). Good luck, Tali Tzamir Levy, infant development trainer, “First Step”.
You don’t have any reason to worry. It sounds like your daughter’s development is fine. At age 8 months it’s completely reasonable to start discovering standing on hands and knees and then crawling and sitting. By the proper order of development a baby stands on hands and knees, starts shifting weight backwards and forwards right and left and discovers the ability to move forward. He continues and experiments with weight shifting backwards and arrives at sitting. Don’t expect her to sit before she experiments enough on hands and knees. It’s not recommended to sit her down, it might hurt her self learning ability, in crawling on hands and knees, and her qualities of balance. Sitting her affixes her in place and doesn’t allow her independent transition to hands and knees. Likewise sitting creates an over use of leg spreading which may become permanent as a pattern and effect walking and her stability. there’s no use in rushing her unless there’s no progress during the next month. I recommend providing clear guidance in the issue of not sitting her down. Good luck, Tali Tzamir Levy, infant development trainer, “First Step.”
The reason your daughter is trying to sit by contracting her stomach muscles is connected to being on “tilted surfaces” of a raised angle of 30 degrees for a long time. Such as stroller, bouncer, baby seat etc. A baby needs to be on his belly in order to develop correctly and with quality, to roll and crawl and so forth. Contracting of the stomach muscles makes it very difficult to restfully lie on the belly and consequently to lean on the elbows, shifting weight from elbow to elbow and to roll. The average age for rolling is between 4-6 months, but we must make sure of a number of conditions that are realized in order for the baby to be able to learn to roll: 1. Comfortable lying on the belly, lifting the head and motion of the head from side to side. 2. Leaning on the elbows. 3. Weight shifting from elbow to elbow on the belly. I recommend to first avoid using tilted surfaces and practice relevant exercises: 1. On a fitness ball, lie her on her belly, hold on to her pelvis, lean her on her elbows and roll the ball a little forwards, backwards, to the right and to the left, to practice weight shifting from side to side. Later roll the ball to the right and encourage reaching out the left hand forwards and upwards using a toy. Practice to both sides. Rolling from back to belly requires the back’s ability to round, bringing legs closer to the hands and crossing the midline. 2. On the back on the floor – raise her legs towards the face and back. Repeat the movement a number of times. Raise the pelvis and place your hand under her bottom. With one hand grip her legs and with the other roll the pelvis towards the head. This way a lengthening of the back muscles takes place, rounding and mobility of the spine. Repeat the movement a number of times. Raise your baby’s pelvis on your leg. Light patting on the chest. In order to lower unnecessary muscle tension. 3. Lay her on her back. Grip both legs. One leg hold straight, the other bend and while you do this roll her to the side and back to the back. We roll to the side of the straight leg. Do this rolling to both sides. After a number of times roll to the belly and back to the back. Practice to both directions. 4. From the back roll her to the side. Hold the upper leg bent and touching the floor. Patting on the sides of the body and shoulder blade. It’s important to teach your baby to be on her sides. In order to roll from the back to the belly there must be a familiarity with the sides of the body and crossing of the midline. 5. Lay her on her back and start the motion of rolling to the belly as you stimulate her gaze and hand using a toy to propel forwards and cross the body’s midline. The gaze and hand will lead the motion to rolling.
The reason your daughter is straggling with lying on her belly leaning on the elbows while bringing the hands to midline is derived from being on her back so much.
When a baby lies on the back a motion mold of arching the back is created, the chest remains high and rigid so the hands remain spread to the sides. When you put her on the belly her hands “escape” to the sides and it’s hard to lie on the belly like that for long. In order to lie on the belly correctly and comfortably she must learn to bring her hands to midline so she can lean on her elbows easily. It’s important to emphasize that the motion mold acquired as a result of frequently lying on the back for long effects future development with everything relating to rolling, belly crawling, and thus you should practice and lead to change. In case you practice the exercises we offer and you don’t see improvement I recommend meeting and consulting with a First Step trainer in order to teach you the exercises accurately.
With correct practice on a regular basis we witness significant improvement in similar cases. In any case I recommend practicing by this order:
- Lay her on her back, lift her legs towards her face and back. Repeat this movement a number of times. Please notice that the pelvis is lifting and the back is round.
- Raise the pelvis, place a hand under the buttocks. With one hand hold both feet and with the other roll the pelvis towards the head. This way a lengthening of the back muscles is created and mobility in the spine. Repeat this movement a number of times.
- Raise the pelvis on your leg. Light patting on the chest. In order to release any unnecessary tension.
- . Bring both legs and both hands close and move your daughter from side to side. Then roll her this way from side to side.
- On the back. Straighten one leg and bend the other. Roll your daughter to the side of the straight leg. Get to the side and back to the back. Repeat this motion a number of times, to both sides.
- Roll to the side, hold the upper bent leg. Patting on the side of the body and shoulder blade. It’s important to teach your baby to be on the sides.
- Have her lie on both sides.
- Roll all the way to the belly. On the belly make sure she is on her elbows. Patting on the shoulder blades and shoulders. Echoing of the voice into the shoulder blade and back. You can interest her with a toy or soap bubbles.
- In your arms in a cradling position.
- On a fitness ball on the belly while leaning on the elbows rocking forwards and backwards. Good luck and you are welcome to come back and consult with us. Tali Tzamir Levy, First Step trainer.
For our experience, most babies who start walking in an early age (pre 12 months) do it out of increased extension of the back muscles. When there is no balance between flexion and extension the baby’s mobility does not allow for rolling, belly crawling and sitting, and we witness babies who skip these important stages and proceed early to walking. A baby that doesn’t lie on his belly on his elbows restfully and is mainly on his back, or in an “airplane” position (arms and legs spread out in the air while lying on the belly) will mostly acquire a mold of over extension which later will most likely lead to early walking or at times to tip-toe walking. I hope I answered your question. I suggest practicing today when your daughter is young and improve her future development.
According to your description it’s unclear whether your daughter crawls on hands and knees? Does she stand on her knees by herself and lets her hands go? Does she pull herself to standing on her feet? How does her belly crawling look, opposite arm and leg or otherwise? Generally there is no point in standing your daughter up before she stands up on her own. Your daughter should practice skills of balance gradually. Many experiences of crawling, standing on hands and knees, standing on the knees at her age will strengthen her muscle tone (in case it’s a little weak) and will improve her balance. This will prepare her for standing. Standing her up now can create a dependency on you, the parents, and only lower her self-confidence and abilities. In the case she doesn’t crawl on hands and knees there’s importance in focused practicing of this subject since it’s an important stage for strengthening the balance system, the shoulders a moment before the baby moves on to standing and walking. Write me back with reference to the questions I posed, and I’ll respond as soon as possible. Tali Tzamir Levy, First Step Trainer.
According to your description you son does execute the developmental stages, a little late, but in order without skipping stages. Around 12 months it’s reasonable that a baby will begin standing and walking on his own. Your son practices and improved his balance gradually by standing on his knees. When he feels secure enough and will have good balance he can move to standing and walking. At the same time you should make sure this muscle tone is proper and balanced. I recommend focusing on exercises that will improve his balance – sitting on a fitness ball – bouncing in place, rocking back and forth and to the sides. Hold his from his pelvis so his back will be mobile and can balance his body. This practice will greatly improve his ability to balance, and will strengthen his muscle tone. On the ball sideway sitting (one leg bent forward and the other backwards) – bouncing and rocking in place. Add motion forward, backward, to the right and left. Small and gradual movement. In case there is difficulty staying on the ball you can blow soap bubbles or play music. -Let him try out the swing, slide, in free motion a lot. -Take him in your arms and lift to an airplane position, facing out, motion from side to side, eighths, light bouncing. These experiences cause the body to strengthen and will help with spatial orientation as well. -From sitting, using a pillow gentle pushes to take him out of balance so he practices balancing. The pushes should be given on the sides of the body, shoulders. Let him move by the pushes to all direction with the upper body (forward backward and to the sides). Pass the message and sensation that you trust him and have confidence in him and his movements and don’t over protect him. Best of luck, Tali Tzamir Levy, infant development trainer, “First Step.”
Your son doesn’t feel stable enough yet to let go of his hands in standing and walking on his own. A baby must establish his balance ability on his own in a gradual manner before starting to walk. Make sure your son practices balance while standing, sitting and crawling, but it’s not recommended to try and walk him. Balance is one of the important skills a baby needs to obtain in his initial months of life. A good balance in early stages (rolling, hands and knees, crawling and sitting) constitutes the basis for stable standing, walking and the other gross motor movements in later stages (climbing, jumping, skipping and so on). Balance should develop right after birth by carrying the baby in our arms and providing spatial movement. Then the balance organ in the ear comes into action. Varied movement experiences will help (swing, hammock etc). Balance is composed of efficient functioning of the balance organ in the ear and mobility of the body to stabilize itself in space. When you help him with walking you prevent him from practicing on his own, create dependency on you and an inability to detach from the “crutch”. I recommend: practice balance with your son through play in early stages. For instance: – On the floor roll him from back to belly and belly to back. Many times and rapidly (that way he’ll practice again weight shifting while lying down). – Lay him on his back and with your head solely roll him to the belly, and from belly to the back. – From sitting, using a pillow give him gentle pushes that will take him out of balance and train him to balance. The pushing should be given on the sides of the body and shoulders. Let him move by the push to all directions with the upper body (forwards, backwards and to the sides). – Sitting on a ball – sit him on the ball and hold from the pelvis and bounce in place, motion forwards and backwards and to the sides. Observe that he moves his back in order to stabilize. – Place him on your shoulders and hold from the back or shoulders and move right, left, forward and back in order for him to practice balance. – Standing, while leaning on an object stimulate using a toy for reaching a hand forward. Once with the right hand and once with the left. That way he’ll practice weight shifting and gain confidence to let go of his hands. And most important is to let him experiment freely in a protected environment but one that will allow him much independence.