Babies and Balance

Balance is a fundamental part of a baby’s development. Even in the womb, a baby needs to know whether its head is up or down. This is especially important during birth, when a baby's head ideally turns down to engage in the pelvis before delivery.

Our balance system is an integration of three parts; the semi-circular canals in our inner ears, our eyes, and the feedback from the muscles and ligaments in our body. The biggest influence on balance comes from our inner ears, accounting for roughly 70% of the information that we need.

Because these centres are located in our head, learning of head control is an important part of a baby’s developing balance system. Bearing in mind that newborn babies have a poor visual system, and are still developing their muscular system, they will probably rely to a much greater extent on information from their inner ears.

Can I lie my baby on its front?

Due to a misunderstanding of the ‘Back-to-Sleep’ programme, some parents are reluctant to lie a baby on its front. However, ‘tummy time’ is an important exercise for a baby’s muscular development, and can help protect them from plagiocephaly, or ‘flat head syndrome’.

You can visit my Can Babies Lie on Their Front page for more information.

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Clifton,
Bristol
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