You must lie down before you can crawl
From the very beginning, babies need to be placed on their stomachs when they are awake. It is from the stomach that large parts of their motor development start, like rolling, sitting, and crawling.
The first big task for your new-born baby’s development is to become strong enough to hold its own head. Therefore, the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back must be strengthened. To exercise those muscles, your baby should lie on its stomach as much as possible. Lying on the stomach strengthens the child’s back and neck muscles and thus the ability to carry its own weight in the arms and around the hip.
Unlike the back position, which is passive, the stomach position is active, and this is where the child has the opportunity to start rolling and later crawl and stand up. The prerequisite for crawling is that the child is stable in its arms and can support its own weight. Therefore, you will often see that the little one uses its hands to push off from the floor and lift the head and upper body. This ability you can support by placing the little one on their stomach on the floor and give the child a solid surface and non-slip socks, so it has something to stand firm on.
You will probably also find that after some time your baby lifts the bottom in the air and pulls the knees up under itself. The baby does this to be able to get up and stand on all fours, which is the first step in the crawl training, and you will soon be very busy running around after the baby.
Tips for getting your baby to lie on the stomach
- Get the little one used to lie on its stomach already after the first few weeks. Start with a safe environment and place your baby on your stomach, on your thighs, in your lab or on your arm in a prone position.
- It’s not about overstimulating or training your child to the extreme. Actually, the good advice is that you rather should place the child on the stomach many times for a short time than a few times for a long time. You could place the baby on the stomach after each nappy change. 10-20 seconds is often enough for the smallest babies. Then they get tired of lying on their stomachs and start complaining. And that’s fine.
- Lie down on the floor and let the baby lie on your stomach. It will automatically lift its head to find your eyes and feel completely safe.
- Place a pillow or a rolled-up towel under baby’s chest, so it feels easier to lie on the stomach until the child has got used to the position and hold the baby on the bottom for extra security.
- Find some toys or other thing that the baby finds interesting to look at. Something that keeps the attention – possibly a mirror it can see itself in or a toy that can move a bit. It is a good idea to put a few toys out at a time and change the toys regularly, so that the child has new things to look at, investigate and discover.
- You can help the child’s joy by lying on the stomach by pushing their hands towards each other so that they are almost holding hands and have their elbows slightly out to the side. Then it is easier to lift the head than if the arms are stretched out to the side.
- Remember to listen to the child’s signals and needs. The child should not be upset. It should be cosy and fun.
Train stomach position together with motor skills exercises – watch our motor skills videos for 3-5 months here.