Back Neck and Spine
Babies
Muscular System

At what age does an infant's neck muscles become strong enough to support its head?

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2007-07-04 01:32:56

Newborns

Your baby's neck muscles are fairly weak at birth, so she'll rely

on you to support her head and neck for at least the first month or

so. Perhaps it's nature's way of ensuring you lots of face-to-face

interaction. As you cradle her in your arms, enjoy the chance to

gaze into her eyes -- it'll help you bond and make her feel

loved.


One to two months

By the end of her first month, she should be able to lift her head

briefly and turn it from side to side when lying on her stomach. At

around six to eight weeks, if she's especially strong, she'll raise

her head while lying on her back. When you carry her on your

shoulder, she'll have enough control to hold her head up shakily,

but not for long. She'll also be strong enough to hold up her head

in a car seat, infant carrier, or babysling, but she's still too

wobbly for an off the road buggy or a backpack. Wait to use these

until she can hold her head up steadily without any support from

you. Right now, you can probably put her in her bouncy seat and she

will watch the world go by.


Three to four months

You'll notice a definite improvement in head control by this time.

She's able to raise her head 45 degrees while lying on her stomach

and keep it up steadily. For a fun game that also develops her neck

muscles, place your baby on her back and slowly pull her up by her

hands to a sitting position. Slowly ease her back down, and repeat.

At this age she should be able to hold her head in line with the

rest of her body as it's pulled up. Your child may be ready for an

off-the-road buggy at four months, but stick to the pavement for

now.


Five to six months

By six months, she'll be able to hold her head steady and erect,

and she'll flex it forward when she's pulled into a sitting

position.


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