Babies are like little acrobats when they’re in the womb, and this certainly doesn’t stop once they’re out in the world!
Finding your little one in an unfamiliar position for the first time can be equal parts cute and alarming, but most of these quirky behaviors – such as looking between their legs – are perfectly normal. But why do they do this?
What does baby looking between legs mean? According to body language experts, babies often look between their legs because they are working on their as-yet undeveloped depth perception. They also get into this position to explore, use new muscles, imitate others, and simply entertain themselves.
Everything is brand new to your little munchkin, so getting into strange positions like this one is a sign they’re exploring their world fully and with healthy curiosity!
It can also be seen as a way of predicting a sibling is on the way (according to old wives’ tales at least!).
Let’s look at the different reasons why your baby looks between their legs plus bizarre superstitions about pregnancy and baby behaviors.
Baby Looking Between Legs
Babies get into all sorts of odd positions as they explore the world around them, and peering between their legs is just another healthy (and adorable) form of experimentation.
Some attribute this position to an old wives’ tale, but like most things babies do – they do it because they can!
Why Do Babies Look Between Their Legs?
There is often no one reason why your little one looks between their legs, but here are the likely explanations for this quirky behavior, ranging from attention-seeking to self-expression…
1. To Enjoy Seeing Things Upside Down
Babies lack depth perception, and it is not until around 5 months that they start to see the world in the way we do.
So bending over to view their world upside down helps them flex their spatial recognition of things – it’s also pretty fun to look at familiar things in a completely new way!
Babies love to stretch. We see this a lot after a long nap, and they love to do so in their waking hours too.
Bending over in this position gives them a chance to use their muscles in a new way and helps them learn what their body can do.
3. Being Silly
Children have an incredible imagination, and in addition to the fun toys that encourage their play, babies are pretty good at making their own fun!
If you spot your little one sporting a silly grin while looking between their legs, it’s a good bet they’re indulging in a bit of silliness!
4. Copying Others
Babies are keen imitators, so chances are they have seen a sibling do the same, seen a parent bend over to pick something up, or have possibly watched you in a downward-dog yoga pose!
5. To Get a Reaction From Parents
The whole “Mom, look what I can do!” phase begins long before they can speak. Getting into this funny position is a big feat for your baby and makes them happy, so naturally, they want you to know about it too!
6. Normal Brain and Physical Development
When your baby’s world is inverted, they are developing new muscle memory, new cognitive skills, and exploring a different perspective.
Each aspect associated with this upside-down position creates new pathways in your baby’s brain, making connections about holding up their weight, the muscles that control the head, coordination, and so on.
Old Wives’ Tale
In a bid to explain away this adorably odd behavior, age-old superstitions about looking between the legs have made their way down the generations, prompting older relatives to attribute a supposed special skill or power in your baby!
What Baby Looking Between Legs Is Said To Mean
The myth is said to suggest that if a baby is looking between their legs, they are looking for a sibling to play with.
If they don’t yet have a sibling, this position supposedly means they are expecting a sibling, therefore predicting that pregnancy is on the horizon!
How the Tale Got Its Start
This old wives’ tale is believed to have come from the fact that a woman is usually fertile again by the time her baby can get into this position, so this is a signal from your little one that another pregnancy is possible (whether they wish for a sibling or not!).
Like the myth behind looking between the legs, there are dozens of superstitions surrounding your baby’s behavior and the circumstances of your pregnancy.
You have likely heard that eating certain foods or displaying a specific “bump type” is an indication of your baby’s gender!
Take a look at some other strange baby-related superstitions…
1. More Babies Are Born During Full Moons
This is believed to date back to a time when lunar cycles were used to predict a woman’s fertility. One study in North Carolina attempted to find a correlation between moon phases and births. Spoiler: it was inconclusive.
2. Acne/Skin Issues Mean It’s a Girl
While baby boys are said to induce a pregnancy “glow,” the opposite is apparently true of girls as they are thought to “steal their mother’s beauty,” causing acne breakouts and greasy skin.
The reality? A boatload of hormones producing extra sebum oil is responsible.
3. Baby’s First Steps Will Predict His/Her Future
This Bulgarian myth stems from a well-loved tradition involving a ceremony in which a toddler walks toward a table of different items indicating different professions.
Items may include a toy screwdriver for engineers, a ball for athletes, a toy syringe for medical careers, etc. Whichever they pick is said to decide their future!
4. Wait Seven Days Before Celebrating Birth
A tradition in Egyptian culture sees some families hold a form of baby shower or rite of passage known as El-Sebou (the seventh) a week after the birth.
But unlike your traditional baby shower, a Sebou entails deliberately scaring the baby to instill bravery and scattering salts around the home to deter evil spirits.
Can Toddlers Sense Pregnancy?
Toddlers cannot sense pregnancy, but they can certainly detect changes.
Babies and toddlers can pick up on “second-hand stress” felt by mothers and can display behavioral changes such as irritability, sleep disturbances, tantrums, or clinginess as a reaction to the sense that something new is happening.
Can Dogs Sense Pregnancy and Become Protective?
Dogs are able to detect pregnancy in the sense that they can respond to changing hormones in your body.
A rise in hormone levels can change your scent while pregnant, and dogs can sense this, causing some to become more attentive, affectionate, and even territorial of you, increasing their protectiveness.
In summary, your baby will look between their legs for lots of reasons such as getting attention from you, stretching, or being silly.
Seeing them do this is a sign of healthy brain and muscle development as they learn to hold their body weight in a unique position.
Old wives’ tales would like to have parents believe that this peering-through-legs behavior is actually a sign they are “searching for their sibling” and sense pregnancy is imminent!
Whatever you believe about this cute baby behavior, just know that you are witnessing a normal and healthy part of their growth.
Mom of three (including identical twin boys), wife, and owner of Parents Wonder. This is my place to share my journey as a mother and the helpful insights I learn along the way.