Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/My baby stiffens his legs all the time!


Hi, my 9 1/2 month old baby boy stiffens his legs all the time, I cant really pinpoint when because he does it when hes happy, excited, sad, mad, you name it. For some reason he just stiffens his legs like boards. I brought it up to his pediatrician when he was maybe 4 months old and she said he probably just likes to have his legs straight and not to worry. However lately every time I change his diaper he stiffens his legs and when i try to bend them (the position I'm talking about is in the picture attached) he either laughs as though it tickles, and then starts grumping a little as though it hurts or is uncomfortable. And then sometimes he doesnt even laugh and goes straight to grumping. But it's hard for me to get in the cracks if I don't push his legs up this way when he's poopy or something. I am wondering if something could be wrong with his legs or maybe his hips or something? At his last appointment at 9 months the pediatrician said he still has an umbilical hernia which should go away on it's own and she says is nothing to worry about, but I'm wondering if this could be what may be causing the discomfort? I don't know, he seems happy the rest of the time and not in any pain. Please help!

Hi Denee,

I understand that you are concerned about your child's comfort and it is natural as a parent,but there is nothing to worry about this since the baby is happy- rest of the time.

Also, this could happen because of the developmental need of the child to move from a lying down/ sitting position to the standing position. However, you could try putting the child at ease keep talking to the child, massaging the legs and helping the child to relax taking away his attention so as to make your job easier and less painful for the child.

Take Care


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Neha Aggarwal Vakil


I am working as a consultant in Child Development and Education. And can answer questions pertaining to the development issues of children aged 0-8 years. The answers will be pertaining to the long term benefit of the children and the family on the whole. More doable by parents themselves, with little perseverance and will.


I have been working in various capacities with children both directly as well as indirectly. My major research area has been early childhood care and education.

Indian Government based research organisations.

Presented papers on various National and International forums for Child Development on parent child interactions, parenting practices and providing appropriate stimulating environment.

Master's in Child Development, TA 101

Awards and Honors
NCERT fellow (a national apex body of government of India; Member Home Science Syllabus review Committee,NCERT

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