What if Your Baby Doesn’t Want to Lie on Her Back?

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Baby Stories |

Discovering what is needed for each baby’s development:    

Heather lifted her baby with grace, bringing Juliet’s chest to her own.   Her 4-month old baby was happy in mom’s arms.  We sat on the floor and Heather held Juliet to sit her lap.  As we talked Heather brought her baby to stand.  She held her up and Juliet’s feet were tilted on the floor, unable to fully connect or bear her weight.  I asked her to bring lay her babe on the floor.  She lay her on her back while saying: “She doesn’t like it.  Juliet wants to sit.”  She did cry, protesting, increasing loudly.  Heather brought her baby to sit on her legs and Juliet became more settled.  I asked Heather to try again and she brought her to the floor.  She began to cry.  She brought her hand to her mouth.  I pointed out to mom that is positive –  a wonderful way to sooth herself.  After a moment she fussed again.  What can we do for her if she fusses each time she’s placed on her back?  I placed my hand on her chest, gently talked to her and slowly brought my face close to hers.  She stopped crying and brought full attention to my face and my mouth as I talked to her.  I moved my tongue in a circle around my lips.  She held a quiet attention.  I said: this is my tongue and she began to show her tongue in communication.  This is part of the beginnings of speech development.

Mother fed her and she became all smiles.

I touched her and felt the arrangement of her posture was primarily extension: the arching we do when we lie on our front and lift the head to look upward.  I asked her mother if Juliet liked lying on her front.  She said she spends time on her tummy each day.  I began to roll her toward her front and she immediately rolled onto her elbows.  She did, indeed, enjoy it.  I slid my hand, over her head and down her spine (for her to feel the shape) as I talked with her – letting her know that I was here behind her.  I gave her gentle pressure to help her to feel the floor and where she was stabilizing.   I bent each knee, bringing her feet in the air, one at a time, flexing and extending them.  As her legs released their stiffness, they began to move with ease.  I slid one knee to the side.  I slid my hand under her shoulder for support as I brought her through her side and onto her back.   Again, I brought my face close to her as I made soft sounds and she watched my mouth.  I moved my tongue and she started to stick her tongue out.  She was imitating me.

I guided her bent leg across herself and to the floor, letting her come onto her side.  She rested there, contented.  Her mother said she sleeps on her side.   She came to rest on her back, again contented.

I felt tightness in her belly and Heather confirmed that she had trouble with gas.  I showed her mother how to touch the belly to relieve gas.  Her mother practiced this technique.  I brought Nina’s foot toward her eyes to see it.  She touched her foot with her hands, then with both hands.  She brought her foot to her mouth.  Seeing her feet, playing with them, and even bringing them toward the mouth is an integral part of the developmental process.   Heather and I were happy to realize that she was now on her back for at least 10 minutes and thoroughly enjoying herself.  She began spontaneously grabbing her feet.  This was new for Juliet.  Her mother played with her, tapping each leg.  She delighted in being part of Juliet’s new game: playing with her feet, seeing them and touching them.  She is beginning to sense that her feet belong to her.

Now she can enjoy time on her back as well as her on her front and side.  I left mom and babe enjoying their playtime time together.  When she is comfortable in different positions on the floor: on her front, side and back – she will connect them and come to roll and eventually come to sit on her own.  This is how she prepares her balance for sitting.


Let your baby bring their hand to their mouth for self-soothing.  You can even guide their hand there at times when they need it.

Bring your face close to baby’s and make sounds, moving your lips slowly.  Baby may focus very attentively.  Circle your tongue around your lips.  Touch your baby’s lips, as if looking for her tongue.  The baby may articulate the tongue in response.

Bend your baby’s knee toward their belly.  Bend and point the foot slowly and clearly with the knee bent.   Bring your baby’s foot close to their eyes so they can see it.  Say: this is your foot!  Your baby may want to touch their foot.  Encourage it.  This hand – foot connection is important for their movement.

If your baby fusses in a position such as on their back, side or front, patiently explore gentle ways to make it comfortable for them through touch, tapping, singing, talking.  Listen for their rhythm.