If your baby bends over and peers at you from their newfound upside-down world, you may feel slightly panic.
Not because it’s a dangerous pose; it actually looks pretty adorable and a baby falling over is the worst thing that can happen.
You may feel a surge of panic, however, if you’ve heard the old wives’ tale associated with what it means to see baby looking between legs. But must you even be alarmed or can you just join in the fun?
Baby looking through legs
When your baby, usually at a little over one year old, bends over and looks through their legs, they are generally quite proud of themselves and give you that big goofy grin that says, “Hey, Mom! Look what I can do!”
On the other hand, you may wonder why they’re doing it.
Babies bend in all sorts of weird ways, and sometimes, it can seem like they don’t have any bones with the odd positions they can get themselves into.
But once baby bends over and looks through their legs, they seem to fixate on this cool new pose, and before you know it, you’ll see baby bending this way over and over again. Babies love it.
Old wives’ tales
Old wives’ tales have been around for centuries.
Generations upon generations of people have passed down these old superstitious things, giving meaning to something that seems entirely unrelated to the predicted event.
A baby girl steals their mother’s beauty in utero, so if you have a lot of acne outbreaks or especially dry or greasy hair when pregnant, it’s supposed to be a sign that you’re having a girl. That’s just one example.
They go on and on and on, and one doesn’t make any more sense than the next.
The old wives’ tale associated with a baby bending into this specific pose, however, can send a mom into a bona fide panic because there are actually many women who swear that it’s true.
The story goes that when a baby stands in this fashion, it’s because you’re expecting again.
If your child just turned one year old, that can be quite an unexpected shock.
Another way it is phrased is that baby is looking for a sibling.
But before you run out of the house to pick up a pregnancy test from the pharmacy, maybe we should talk about what it means when your baby bends this way.
What does it mean when babies stand on their heads?
Most pregnancy superstitions have to do with how something looks or, at one point, didn’t make any sense to the casual observer.
Seeing a baby bending this way probably didn’t make sense to women back in the days before these things were closely studied and before we knew much about the brain development of young toddlers.
Before we get too deep into what it means, you may be wondering if your baby has been doing this or if this is something that other babies do while some babies don’t.
What exactly does this baby’s bending position look like?
Well, it’s pretty simple. Some call it standing on their head, while others simply call it looking through their legs. But it all comes down to the same position.
Much like a downward dog yoga position, this pose involves bending over at the waist, dropping the head, so it’s even with the spine, and looking between the legs.
A baby bending this way, much like in the downward dog position, has an upside-down view of what looks like a whole new world and often makes a baby smile.
Bending over and looking this way is fascinating for a baby because everything looks completely different.
If you bend over and look between your own legs, you may be surprised at just how different the world around you may seem.
Once the baby learns this trick, looking between their legs becomes the cool new thing to do.
What does a baby looking between legs mean?
So if it’s not an old wives’ tale, what does it mean?
No medical professional will ever give a diagnosis over an old wives’ tale, so it makes sense to look for a logical reason rather than one rooted in folklore, right?
Let’s dive into what the real cause of this fascination of bending over and looking with a different perspective on the world can mean for your baby.
Is it a sibling on the way? Are you pregnant? Is your family about to grow?
Let’s get to the bottom of this mystery.
The following reasons can cause your child to start looking between their legs.
Your child may be trying to look through their legs simply because they have seen other babies bend this way.
In the classic case of “monkey see, monkey do,” it simply looks like fun, so a toddler or baby will also start to do this to see what the big deal is.
Once your little one gets into this position, it becomes a cute game of getting their mother to look at them and make her think it’s also fascinating.
Little ones are great when it comes to imitating what they see, and a lot of the time, this behavior is nothing more than that.
While being dizzy is not precisely most adults’ idea of a fun time, babies love the head rush.
Most of us can’t even imagine getting situated as babies do to achieve this effect is a comfortable position!
The head rush that comes with getting down for a look through their legs and straightening back up is new, and babies seem to think it’s fun.
No need to worry that they’ll hurt themselves with the head rush or that they are in any pain.
If your son or daughter starts to do this pose, it’s likely not at all uncomfortable.
They’ve just seen other kids do it, and they like how it makes them feel a bit wonky afterward.
3. A whole different world
Our babies are little explorers who marvel at the world around them. They spend most of their energies climbing, crawling, sliding, and jumping. As parents, we invest in toys and play things – from baby jumpers to playgrounds. Sometimes, children just love being silly on their own.
There can be several other reasons that children love this pose, but if you see a toddler bending over and looking between their legs, it’s probably got to do with how the world seems when things are all different and upside down.
Babies aren’t born with great depth perception, so when they bend over and look at things in this new way, the child can start to develop a sense of what is around them without the familiarity of their normal view.
It’s a great way to sort out how far things are.
Everyday items look like different things, until the child can realize what objects are.
It’s a great way that babies learning spatial recognition can flex this new ability.
4. Their Being Nosy
Parents may notice that their little one starts to do this more and more to check out what is happening behind them in a more fun way than just turning around to see life moving regularly.
A friend following behind looks different and fun when a baby bends like this and looks back at them, and it’s good for a laugh.
Kids are nosy and want to see what’s happening around them.
5. Attention seeking behavior
If your little one does this in most cases only when parents or other children are around to see, they may simply hope for some extra attention.
Laughing loudly, around one year old, usually gets a sibling or the mother to stop what they are doing and watch what the toddler is doing.
Cause for Concern
One great thing about little ones striking this pose is that mom can get a great view of their back. More specifically, the spine.
Do you remember when some of us were in grade school, and we’d get tested for scoliosis by the school nurse? You had to bend down, not completely unlike a toddler who has recently discovered this pose.
If your toddler gets into this pose and you notice anything that seems off, you should remember to bring it up at your next doctor appointment or check-in for your child.
So when should you worry? Let’s break it down.
If there is an unnatural spine curving when the baby gets down like this, or you notice a bump or hump in the back or the shoulders, it may be wise to mention it to your child’s doctor.
Nearly 5 million cases of scoliosis a year are diagnosed in the US.
It can cause discomfort or even pain and needs to be treated as soon as someone can get it diagnosed for the best results.
Pain in legs or other body parts
Most babies don’t have any issue getting upside down, as long as their age fits their developmental stage.
If you notice that your child is trying to look between their legs and it hurts to do it, then you need to remember to bring it up to their doctor.
Issues with the legs, hips, or even the brain and the parts that control balance can be off and should be diagnosed and treated appropriately by a medical professional.
Your baby and their upside-down fun
While it probably doesn’t mean that pregnancy is imminent, it can mean something when babies introduce this new trick to your life.
Most meanings are silly, harmless, and completely normal to your kiddo’s development.
Now that your little one has seen it from this new vantage point, what seemed normal just last week can be new and unfamiliar territory.
They may be doing it because they saw someone else do it. They may be doing it because they like the way it feels.
They may just be doing it because they can. And they also do it to get your attention.
Slow down and laugh
If you see your little one in this pose and see them smiling and laughing in hopes you’ll join in, do it.
While you may not be able to get into the same pose (and if you can, go you!), you’re still slowing down and for even a few minutes, living in the fantastic world of a toddler.
You’ll remember these days, even though your baby won’t, and they’ll be some of the best memories to cherish.
They don’t stay adorable little ones for very long.
Take the opportunity while you can to stop and join in the silliness. You won’t regret it.