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    Developmental Milestone: Head and Neck Control
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    Parenting Physical development
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    Head control
    26 December 2014

    Developmental Milestone: Head and Neck Control

    3 mins read
    Physical development
    for New Born, Baby
    3358 engaged
    Head control for a baby takes place during the first 3-4 months of birth. Parents can do a lot to help a baby gain muscle strength to gain head control. Head control is a basic skill for a baby wherein he is trying to steady his head, and gain control over his neck movement. There are other larger developmental milestones which will take place over the next few months.


    Gaining Neck and Head Control

    0-3 months:

    When your baby is a newborn, his muscles are weak, and he will rely on you to hold his head and neck for him. This allows parents to have a lot of face-to-face interaction. By the time the baby is two months old, he will be able to move his head from side to side, and in some cases, hold his head up shakily when you hold him upright. Around the time he is three months old, he might be able to hold his head up when he is in a sling or on a car seat.

    How you can help:

    This stage doesn’t require much efforts from a parent as it is a skill the baby develops by the age of six months. Cradling the head and neck when your baby is just born till he is 2 months old is a must. Give the baby plenty of tummy time once his head is a little wobbly, but he is able to hold his head for some time. Place toys in front of him so that he can look up, and strengthen his head and neck muscles. Toys will also motivate your child to look up and explore.

    3-6 months:

    The 45 degree raise from the floor will happen when he is around 3.5 to 4 months old. By the time your baby is 6 months old, he would have enough strength in his neck muscles to hold his head up, and look from side to side. He might even try to roll over.

    How you can help:

    You can prop the baby up on the bed so that he can see the world right side up. Make sure the baby is supervised at all times so that he doesn’t topple over. Undertake this exercise in various parts of the house, so that he can have a good look around.

    6-9 months:

    After the baby masters the head control by 6-7 months, he would have overcome the tongue thrust reflex, and this might be a good time to introduce him to solid foods. After 6 months, your baby might start exploring the adventures of sitting up and crawling. Some babies can crawl and sit up as early as by 7 months.

    How you can help:

    Keep toys that are within reach of baby so the baby is motivated to lift his head often, turn over, try to pull up and sit and try to move by getting up on all fours.

    When to Worry?

    Regular visits and check-ups with your pediatrician can help to monitor your baby’s developmental milestones. If you are concerned that your baby isn’t lifting his head even slightly at the age of 3 months, you need to mention this to your pediatrician. While no one can say what the right time is, for some babies develop faster than others and each child is unique in terms of individual growth milestones, you should generally keep informed and keep your doctor posted on any delays. Premature babies can take longer to develop, and might not reach this milestone as quickly as full-term babies. Always check with your doctor in case you have any doubts regarding any specific developmental milestone.

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