Fun News Friday- Babies can anticipate upcoming cuddles

Physical therapy is all about movement, so thought this article was great to share, where they discuss how babies adjust their bodies using small movements as they anticipate being picked up. Make sure to see if your little one adjusts their body the next time you pick them up. 🙂

link to original article:

baby lying down

Highlights from the article:

Babies as young as two months can anticipate being picked up by their mothers and are able to prepare themselves by adjusting their bodies, according to a new study…


The research, which has been published in the journal PLOS ONE, reveals that infants as young as two months can determine when their mothers are about to pick them up. In turn, most babies will adjust their body postures accordingly, making it easier for their mothers to hold them.

The babies were monitored whilst their mothers chatted with them, as their mothers approached them with open arms, and as they were picked up.

“My colleagues and I studied babies between two and four months of age,” Professor Reddy replied. “By this point, they have been picked up countless times. We monitored the babies’ actions during three distinct phases: preliminary chat, the mother’s approach, and the actual pick up. When babies saw their mothers approaching with their arms out, they started to adjust their postures. This visual cue was sufficient to initiate preparatory adjustments.”

The majority of participating babies made specific postural adjustments when their mothers stretched out their arms to pick them up. Infants were observed extending and stiffening their legs to increase body rigidity and stability, and widening or raising their arms to create space for their mothers to hold them.

“The most noticeable adjustments that the babies made involved their legs,” continued Professor Reddy. “There are two ways in which the babies adjusted their legs; they either stiffened them and stuck them out, or they tucked them up into their bodies to make themselves more compact.

The team’s results suggest that between the ages of two and four months, babies hone their ability to anticipate and adapt to being held.

Professor Reddy and her colleagues believe that their findings have the potential to facilitate the early detection of certain developmental problems. The failure to anticipate and adjust to being picked up, for example, has been noted amongst autistic children in previous studies. It is possible, therefore, that these abilities could be used as early indicators for such conditions.

Refer to the original article to see a video of how the babies adjusted their bodies as they were picked up.

Here’s a link to the original research article:

Categories: Child Development, News Articles

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