When you hold that tiny bundle for the first time, you’ll wonder how you’ll ever care for something so impossibly small and fragile. You’re sure baby will break if you’re not careful. But trust us—despite how fragile your infant seems, within the first few weeks baby’s already working on key muscles s/he’ll need in order to meet one of life’s first milestones—baby head control. But when do babies hold their heads up? And what you can do to help baby achieve this point of development?
When Do Babies Hold Their Heads Up?
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 tummy. By 2 months old, baby head control increases, 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 control of their head.
Baby Head Control 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 heads 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 heads up at all. They need to be cradled and have some sort of neck support for feeding, burping and while being held. Despite this, it is recommended that you start doing “ tummy time” for your infant as early as 2weeks old. The American Academy of Pediatrics says “doing this regularly will help strengthen the muscles in [baby’s] neck.” At this age, it’s perfectly acceptable to lay baby facedown on your stomach or chest rather than putting baby down on the floor. Doing this is a double win—bonding with baby and tummy time!
1 – 2 months: After the first month, muscles 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 tummy. At this point, baby should be able to turn his or her head. If you haven’t tried tummy 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…