Your baby doing a headstand stunt is a part of child’s play. It is also an essential part of their development. It helps your toddler discover awareness of the world around him while seeing the world upside down. It also develops their sensory and perception relative to their body position. Babies will eventually learn about the cause and effect of their actions that will influence their future movements.
Some babies may find the downward dog pose relaxing and try to assume the position as they try to wind down.
Remember how babies are in a similar position in their mom’s tummy a few weeks before birth. That is why they resume in an upside-down position to calm down.
Why do babies do the downward dog pose?
According to some old wives’ tale, when a baby stands on his head, he is sensing pregnancy.
For quite some time, people actually believed this superstition. But science has nothing to say to that, except that it is a part of every child’s development.
Why babies do that is not quite definitive, but here are a few expert explanations.
They are discovering things
One of the first things we can deduce about head standing is that the baby is just goofing up. And that is probably what this discovery is to them. The toddler is an exciting phase where babies explore many things about their bodies.
At six months, babies will lose interest in staring at moving things. They will discover their ability to prop themselves up and use their muscles.
As they move around and explore the world, they will also discover new fun things around them.
The sensation of seeing the world upside-down and getting a little dizzy can be a fun past-time for them.
They are hitting another milestone
From scooting and wriggling on their tummy, your little tot is now getting ready to stand on his legs. He will learn how to crawl and eventually pull himself up to stand.
When your child is about 6 to 9 months old, he will demonstrate the symmetric tonic neck reflex (SNTR).
The SNTR, or crawling reflex, is responsible for helping babies learn how to crawl. He will push himself up from the ground and bear his weight on his hips. Sometimes, he will also prop himself on his head in a downward dog pose to maintain balance.
They are building their sensory connections
As silly as it looks, babies standing on their heads are actually on their brain training process.
According to pediatrician Dr. Jill Creighton in an interview with Romper, brain development occurs during children’s interaction with their environment.
Being upside-down stimulates the toddler’s sensory or vestibular system. Their action and interaction with the environment build their sensory and motor connections.
It is an important aspect for developing their balance, motor movement, cognition, and body orientation.
They are practicing their gross motor skills
Aside from sensory stimulation, a baby’s headstand is important in core muscle strengthening. It is imperative in supporting their crawling reflex.
The position helps improve their postural balance and helps support their core body strength.
The baby’s skills start from the top of their body downwards, like holding their head up before crawling and walking. The development of gross motor skills includes large muscles such as the legs, arms, and trunks.
To support their weight, toddlers will need the coordination of their muscles to anchor their movement. Thus, using their head will help them hold themselves as it strengthens their neck muscles for better dexterity.
Babies do experience stress at some point in their lives. With a lack of communication, they will exhibit different body language in expressing their distress.
They will also resort to activities that can soothe and calm them down, such as standing on their heads.
Being upside-down can relax your baby as he assumes the position he had on your tummy.
It is stress management that babies innately have, similar to the calm they find in sucking on a pacifier. So, seeing your child bending and standing on his head may mean that your little one is just winding down.
Just a copycat
Children, more often than not, copy the actions that they see. So, don’t be surprised if your toddler from the daycare begins to do the head-standing antic.
He may only be copying another child or even the yoga poses you do.
These mimicries of actions are important things toddlers learn to help them master their skills. And once they do and are ready to explore the world on two feet, they will ditch the habit.
My baby is hitting himself on the head, should I be worried?
Some toddlers do hit themselves on the head as they soothe themselves to sleep. You can read more about it in this post to learn when to worry about the action.
Should I stop my child from doing the downward dog pose?
Standing on their head has a range of benefits for their emotional, physical, and neurological development.
Let your children explore the world with their own eyes, arms, and feet. But, always be there to help and intervene if you think the actions can hurt your toddler.
When should I contact the doctor about my baby bending over?
If your baby stands on his head and you notice an unusual curvature in his spine, contact your doctor. If your little one is in pain while bending over, you should also ask your doctor about it.
Toddlers do all kinds of weird stuff that leave moms with baffling questions. A child’s head standing antic is normal, but not all toddlers may practice it.
This stunt plays a role in promoting his overall development and influences his perception of the world. It is only up to you to believe if indeed your toddler has foreseen another baby on the way.
Or maybe standing on his head is just your baby doing the things that babies are supposed to do.