The 4-month-old baby is ready for more vigorous exercises than the 2- or 3-month-old (SI, May 2 & June 6). What's more, as little Rene Pouteau shows here, the baby will respond to the awakening strength of his body with conscious physical effort of his own. This makes the exercises a time of fun for both baby and mother.
1 Elevation tests baby's progress. At first baby's legs will hang down, but as back grows stronger baby will hold legs out straight.
2 Shoulder rotation flexes and strengthens arm and shoulder muscles. Hold baby's lower arm and gently rotate it inward until palm is on floor. Then rotate outward till palm is up. Do six each side.
3 The bridge is one exercise baby can soon do on his own. Place baby's heels on your knees, then help baby arch his back. Before long, baby will raise himself.
4 The anchor is another test of baby's back strength and at the same time a good upper back builder. Hold baby's legs down gently but firmly to give baby a chance to lift his head and upper body.
5 Hip twist, like the earlier leg crossover exercise for 3-month-old, increases hip flexibility. Spread baby's legs gently and then lift right leg up and cross over left leg. Alternate legs. Do six each side.
An exercise for mother, the back arch, helps strengthen lower back. Begin on knees, lift leg up, back. Raise head. Do eight each side, repeat four times daily.