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You are here : home > Child Development > Physical Development (0-3 years) > Developmental Milestones - Head Control in Babies

Developmental Milestones - Head Control in Babies


Babies have little or no control over the movements of their head when they are born. Find out how babies learn to control the head and how to help babies with head control.


Babies experience difficulty in holding their heads up.  Initially, it is a struggle for them to hold up their heads. Parents and others who hold the baby have to be careful with the head while lifting them. Of course you are waiting for your little bundle of joy to lift up his head and gaze into your eyes. Babies develop head control skills little by little during their
first year.



Development of Head Control Skills in Babies

How do head control skills develop in babies?

Newborns

You will have to hold your newborn’s head carefully as he will have little or no control over his head movements at this stage. Neck muscles are rather weak at birth so babies have no control over neck muscles.  You need to support your newborn’s head and neck as you hold them.

1 to 2 months

Development of head control skills will be better by the end of two months. He will slowly be able to lift his head and look around even if it is just for a few brief moments. Parents will need to practice patience, as babies will only be able to raise their heads slowly and little by little.

3 to 4 months

By this time, you will notice a lot of improvement and see that your baby is able to have much better control over head movements. You will notice that as you hold him or her up, you will not need to provide that much head or neck support like earlier. You should try and play games to develop and strengthen your baby’s neck muscles.

6 to 9 months

Her head control would have improved a lot by this time. Somewhere around this time, your baby should be able to sit up alone and properly without any kind of support. By this time, your baby will ideally be able to sit for long period of time and hold the head firm and upright.


Importance of Head Control

Developing appropriate head control is very important for your baby. Ability to hold and support the head properly is an important sign which indicates that your baby is developing well. It is an important milestone in development of children. Proper head control and development will help in further progress for your child. Without proper head control, your baby will not be able to do other things such as sitting, standing, walking, etc.  Developing proper head control also helps in baby’s vision development.


How Babies Learn to Control Their Heads?

Initially, you will find your baby struggling hard to move the head even a little bit. Slowly however as time passes, your baby can lift the head properly and begin moving it side by side. You will see your baby lying on its tummy and trying to pick up the head slightly. During the various stages of learning head control, your baby might even experience frustration and discomfort as it tries to turn the head or reposition it. Over a period of time, head control gradually improves and your baby will also be able to look around. With practice and effort, your child will be able to hold the head in a vertical position.


Simple Ways to Help Your Baby Develop Head Control

One important method to help babies develop head control is to make them lie on their tummy. Encouraging your baby to lie on its tummy is a good way to stimulate and improve head control. Place colorful toys around to attract child’s attention. Just like in other stages of baby’s development, do not rush or force your baby into anything. Simple acts like lifting the chin off the floor or turning the head side to side are all helpful in developing head control.

Babies go through various stages of physical development and head control is an important way of judging your child’s progress. Each baby develops slowly and at its own pace. However, if by the age of 6 to 7 months, your baby is still experiencing difficulty with head control, then you can consult a pediatrician and he will advise you on what should be done.


When do babies develop full control over their head movements? How to help babies develop proper head control?  How to find out if the baby is having difficulty with head control?
Discuss here.

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