When Do Babies Hold Their Heads Up?

Babies head upPeekaboo- I see you! The first time you hold that bundle of joy, so many thoughts rush through your mind.

Nonetheless, the most common thought is always about how you will care for something so miniature and delicate to the point that they become independent.

For sure, you won’t break the baby but you may injure them if they can’t control the head motion.

As a parent, it is important to know when babies hold their heads up. This knowledge helps you check the growth of the baby and monitor their development. It also helps you know when you needed to take action.

When?

Holding their heads up is a crucial development that lays foundations for movement such as sitting and walking gradually during the first year.

At birth, babies have little or no control over their head since their neck muscles and motor skills haven’t developed.

Most babies probably lift up their head up when they are about a month old. Gradually their necks become strong and the baby is able to hold their head in a sitting position at four months.

The baby’s neck muscles and head control kicks in strong and steady at six months [1].

How to teach babies head control

Despite the fragile sight newborns portray, their muscles are working round the clock to achieve the baby’s milestone- head control. So how can you help achieve this milestone?

Newborn

A newborn baby relies on their parent to support their neck and head for the first month.

This is the time where nature conditions you to gaze into each other’s eyes as you bond and cradle the baby in your arms. Babies need to be cradled and supported during feeding and burping.

At this phase, it’s recommended that you introduce baby to tummy position at two weeks of age. Therefore is advisable to lay the baby face down on your stomach. This increases bonding and creates time for the tummy session.

One to a two-month-old baby

After the first month, a baby is capable of titling their heads briefly and turns it side to side especially when they are lying on the stomach [2].

The muscle begins to develop to a point where the baby can turn their head in about 45-degrees when placed on the mum’s tummy.

In case you haven’t started the tummy time, this would be another chance to start. At this age, babies start to notice brightly colored and black and white patterns.

In this phase, you can do the following exercise to strengthen the muscles on the neck, upper arms, and shoulders.

  • Cross the baby arms and prop the baby chin on the folded arms. This is a very crucial natural position that aids a baby’s head control.
  • It’s a safe time to lay the baby tummy down on a mat or on the floor adjacent to you. Subsequently, Take time to observe how the baby lifts the head and turns to any sound in the vicinity.
  • Introduce an exercise ball. This is a useful substitute for the tummy time. The variance with the experience ball is that you get to lay the baby across the baby across the exercise ball. Then slowly roll it back and forth. The baby enjoys this movement as it also helps with gas pains.

Three to four months

In this phase, the baby has transitioned from the newborn stage to a serious movement stage over the past several months. In this phase babies, lift their head to 90 degrees.

Fast-growing babies will even lift their chest off the ground. It is the phase where the muscle is rapidly growing like those of a miniature bodybuilder as they gear up for crawling.

In this stage, you should have trained your baby’s neck until its firm. To strengthen their neck, you can do either of these exercises:

  1. Lay the baby on their back then gently pull the baby by the hands. Hold them in this position for a second, and then lower them to the ground. Though the head may lag, that is perfectly normal.
  2. Engage your baby in sit-ups, this helps build the neck muscles nicely.
  3. Sit the baby on a bobby pillow. The pillow provides support and cushions landing spot if they fall.
  4. Sit the baby on your lap as you play with them.
  5. To develop the muscles further, hold the baby facing upward or lay them over your forehead.

In five to six months

At this advanced phase, the baby is able to hold their head up and probably without assistance. They can sit with or without proper support.

Let’s not forget that each baby develops at different paces hence these are general guidelines for babies. However, if the baby isn’t doing following these phases, there is no need to worthy will catch up.

For example, if by two months the baby doesn’t lift her/his head during tummy time, you should tell your doctor.

However, it doesn’t indicate that something is wrong. Just recognize that a delay in reaching this first stage means a delay in sitting and walking.

Photo: Pixabay

References

  1. https://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-milestones-head-control_6579.bc
  2. https://www.kidsimplified.com/baby-moving-head-side-to-side-rapidly/
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