When Do Babies Hold Their Hᴇᴀᴅs Up New Mum To Know
By the end of baby’s first month of life, your child may be able to lift his or her head slightly when placed on their ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ. By 2 months old, baby head ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴏʟ ɪɴᴄʀᴇᴀsᴇs, and baby can hold his or her head at a 45-degree angle. At 3 months, you’ll see those adorable mini push-ups as baby rises to a 90-degree angle in preparation for crawling. And by 6 months old, you should see your child have complete ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴏʟ of their head.
Baby Head ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴏʟ Milestones by Month
Of course, every baby develops at a different pace, so these guidelines are just that: guidelines. But in general, if you’re wondering when do babies hold their Hᴇᴀᴅs up, here’s what you can expect month by month:
0 – 1 month: In the first month of life, infants are unable to hold their Hᴇᴀᴅs up at all. They need to be cradled and have some sort of neck support for Fᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢ, ʙᴜʀᴘɪɴɢ and while being held. Despite this, it is recommended that you start doing “ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ time” for your infant as early as 2weeks old. The American Academy of Pediatrics says “doing this regularly will help sᴛʀᴇɴɢᴛʜᴇɴ the ᴍᴜsᴄʟᴇs in [baby’s] neck.” At this age, it’s perfectly acceptable to lay baby facedown on your stomach or chest rather than ᴘᴜᴛᴛɪɴɢ ʙᴀʙʏ ᴅᴏᴡɴ on the floor. Doing this is a double win—bonding with baby and ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ time!
1 – 2 months: After the first month, ᴍᴜsᴄʟᴇs begin to develop that will allow baby to lift his or her head to about a 45-degree angle when placed on his or her ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ. At this point, baby should be able to turn his or her head. If you haven’t tried ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ time with your child yet, this is a great time to start as, at this age, babies can begin to appreciate brightly colored (or black and white) patterns like those on an activity mat. Here are some activities you can do with baby to help build muscle strength in the neck, shoulders and upper arms:
- During ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ time, cross baby’s arms (the way you would fold your arms on a desk) and gently prop baby’s chin on them. This position
naturally lends itself to practicing baby head ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴏʟ in your 1–2 month old.
- Lay baby ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ-down on an activity mat and get on the floor next to your infant. Notice how baby lifts head and turns toward the sound of your voice when you talk to baby or share toys. Do this for two- to three-minute intervals and gradually increase the amount of time each week.
- Try using an exercise ball as a variation on ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ time. Lay baby across an exercise ball and slowly roll it back and forth (while keeping a hand on baby at all times, of course). Baby will enjoy the gentle motion, and it may even help with newborn gas ᴘᴀɪɴs too.
3 – 4 months: Baby’s probably able to lift his or her head to about a 90-degree angle and may even be lifting his or her whole chest off the ground. At this age, your tiny bodybuilder is ɢᴇᴀʀɪɴɢ ᴜᴘ Fᴏʀ—ʏᴏᴜ ɢᴜᴇssᴇᴅ ɪᴛ—ᴄʀᴀᴡʟɪɴɢ! Sᴏ ɪF ʏᴏᴜ ʜᴀᴠᴇɴ’ᴛ ʙᴀʙʏ-ᴘʀᴏᴏFᴇᴅ yet, you’ll soon need to. If baby’s not yet doing this, that’s perfectly normal too, and rest ᴀssᴜʀᴇᴅ that it’ll come very soon. However, if you’d like to help baby along, here are some things to try:
- Lay baby on his or her back and gently pull baby up by the hands, hold for a second or two and lower baby to the ground. It’s normal for there to be some “lag” in baby’s head at this age, so go slowly. These baby “sit-ups” are an excellent way to build baby’s neck ᴍᴜsᴄʟᴇs.
- Sit baby upright in the middle of a Boppy pillow to provide some support and a safe landing spot should s/he fall backward. Always supervise this position.
- Sit baby upright in your lap as you play and read together. Holding baby facing outward or laid over your forearm can also help develop strong neck ᴍᴜsᴄʟᴇs.
5+ months: about 5 or 6 months old, baby head ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴏʟ should be mostly established. Baby should be able to keep his head aligned or even crane his neck forward as you practice the baby pull-ups, and many babies are able to maintain a fully upright seated position at this age as well. Aside from pull-ups, try the following exercises with baby to continue developing the ᴄʀɪᴛɪᴄᴀʟ neck ᴍᴜsᴄʟᴇs that your infant will need to meet upcoming milestones.
- By this age, babies are becoming much more engaged with their sᴜʀʀᴏᴜɴᴅɪɴɢs. Lay baby ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ-down and put a toy that lights up or makes noise just out of reach. When baby lifts his or her head to investigate, slowly lift the toy off the ground, which in turn will encourage baby to lift his or her head even higher.
- Sit baby upright as much as possible during awake time, either on your lap or in a Boppy pillow. Talking, reading and singing to baby are great ways to get baby engaged with the sᴜʀʀᴏᴜɴᴅɪɴɢs, making it more likely that baby will want to lift his or her head and get ɪɴᴠᴏʟᴠᴇᴅ.
- At this age, hold baby upright against your shoulder when carrying, which will naturally encourage baby to hold his or her head up.
- If you’re concerned about baby head ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴏʟ at this stage, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician. Your doctor can give additional exercises to perform with baby.