When we talk about ergonomic sleeping positions, one of the first concepts that we usually use is that of “frog position,” “M position,” or as it is technically known: “position of legs apart and flexed.”
Do we know what exactly this position is, and why is it essential to the child’s development?
Entering into a different world
Inside the maternal womb, the babies are entirely folded on themselves. At birth, they will keep their spine bowed for a long time. You only have to observe a newborn or a few months old baby: his back not only does not make the same curvature that we adults have, but it is curved outwards as if it were a C.
Over the months and years, the child’s spine will change its morphology, adapting to crawling, sitting, walking, and standing upright until having an adult’s motor development.
That is to say, naturally and little by little; the child will lose that form of C on his back (which is technically called kyphosis) to acquire the definitive morphology that we adults have.
Hence, the frog position is also called “legs apart and flexed”: the baby’s legs will be about 45 degrees apart and flexed, with the knees higher than the butt.
Why does the little one tend to keep his legs open and bowed whenever he is stretched? This pose is a classic newborn pose. It is the position that the child was accustomed to holding within the mother’s womb. There is always a reason.
The frog position ensures that the femur’s kneecaps are adequately fitted into the hip socket, allowing proper development of all the pelvic bones and joints. It might be helpful for the baby.
Dysplasia is an alteration in the development of the hip joint. Contrary to what has been thought for a long time, this disease is not genetically transmitted but is linked to a bad posture adopted in the uterus, which causes the hip not to mature as it should.
By the way, the frog position is very suitable for babies suffering from hip dysplasia, because precisely the harnesses that are sometimes prescribed in the most severe cases what they do is maintain this position permanently. We have only to observe, again, our children.
What happens when we release a newborn when we put him on his back? It automatically raises its legs and flexes them. They look like frogs. What happens when we pick up a baby? Children naturally adopt what we call the porting position.
They position themselves ready to be carried, with their knees slightly higher than the butt and their back correctly positioned. If we took a photo, we would have a perfect M.
An Ancient tradition
In the Andean region of South America, there is a tradition of carrying the babies using the so-called “manta Andina.” This method facilitates the baby to take the frog position while the mother is moving.
This Andean tradition stress prevents the baby carrier from forcing the child to straighten his back. Because if this occurs, the pelvis will also suffer.
Hence, the posture will be harmful to the back and the development of your hip. The hip is a ball and socket joint.
This means that the femur’s head is inserted into the hip (in what is technically called the acetabulum) employing a patella (a ball, to put it colloquially).
Helps to strengthen the baby’s legs
Curved legs are a feature that will accompany the child in the coming months until the baby begins to walk. As he strengthens his muscles, his lower extremities will become straighter. This position contributes to the muscular force of the lower body.
It is often said that babies that sleep in this position start walking faster than average. However, it is not the best position to sleep.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy babies be placed on their back to sleep (on their back), which is the safest position to put a baby to sleep.
Putting your baby to sleep on your back decreases your chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is responsible for more infant deaths in the United States than any other cause during the first year of life.
This recommendation to lay the baby on his back applies to all babies during the first year of life
However, it is of particular importance during the first six months, when SIDS incidence is highest. Yes, it is also adorable.
Despite al scientific reasons, it cannot be denied that having your baby sleeping like a frog is super adorable and could be a very likable post on Instagram.
Babies have that special je ne sais quoi that makes everything they do loveable and beautiful. So, do not worry about your baby using this position to sleep.
Enjoy the moment, relax. Always speak with a pediatrician. It is always important to consult directly with a physician. They are trained to see the details of the individual case and provide a further recommendation on whether it is beneficial or not for your baby to sleep in any given position.
Besides, they can diagnose any other physical problem your child might have. They would be your best ally in the early days to satisfy any doubt about your newborn.
This position helps to guarantee the healthy development of the spine. Its natural curvature must be respected. The older the child, the less arched his back will be: it is a natural process in which we must not intervene.
Artificially straightening your back produces not only a detrimental effect on the spine but also your pelvis.
Moreover, sleeping like a frog contributes to guarantee the healthy development of the hips and legs. It is advisable for the baby to adopt the frog position (legs apart and flexed). Avoid the positions of extension and tension of the joints as much as possible.