Babies are in no rush to develop their head control and usually does it over about six months. Below are the stages in which your baby develops its head control.
Related: When can baby use a jumper
The muscles in your baby’s neck are quite weak when he/she is born. If you were to gently pull your baby up from lying on its back by her hands towards a sitting position her head would flop back because her neck muscles would not be able to support her head yet.
So for the first months of the baby’s life she will count on you to support her head when you hold and lift her up.
One month to two months
At the end of the first month the baby might start to try lifting her head or turning it to one side or the other when lying on her belly, but she won’t be able to hold it for long as it will fall back to the starting position.
Somewhere between 4 to twelve weeks some babies are able to raise their heads when lying their bellies in a way that looks like a small push-up.
At week 12 your baby might be strong enough to keep her head upright in a sling or car seat.
Related: Baby jumper safety
Three months to four months
When holding your baby on your shoulders she probably will have enough strength and control to keep her head up without you supporting with your hand.
To help your baby develop her neck muscles you can try this game. Lie your baby on the floor with her back down. Gently pull her upwards into a sitting position by pulling at her arms, the slowly lower her back down and repeat. The goal for her is to hold her head approximately in line with the rest of her body.
Five months to six months
By month 6 your baby should have a strong enough neck and body controll to keep her head steady when she is upright. When you pull her up to sit the head should be inline with the rest of her body and nog lag behind.
How to help my baby to hold her head up?
Your baby does not need much encouragement to develop her neck and head control as babies will work on this them self all the time when they are playing and moving around. But you need to be there and support her head and neck in the first months. When picking her up always cradle your baby’s head and neck in the palm of your hand.
Having your baby spend time on her belly from day one is a great way to get off to a flying start in developing her neck and upper body. Even if your baby doesnt like being on her belly in the beginning it is worth doing as it encourages her to move her arms and legs.
If she doesn’t like being on her belly there are a few thing you can try to make it more fun:
*Place your baby on your chest or in your lap for more closure so she feels safe.
*Have a few toys around and make it playtime
*Put a rolled up towel under her arms so she gets up a little
Always remember to never leave your baby on her own during tummy time.
Somewhere from three to six months you can start to prop your baby up on a sofa or bed, this will make it more interesting for the baby as she will get a better view of what is going on around her. Always be there and keep the baby in the middle of the bed or sofa as far away from the edges as possible.