When should my baby be able to hold her head up?

Article first published on Clicks Health Hub on 1 November 2016.

Babies are all different, but there’s a range of what specialists consider normal. If your baby seems outside it, don’t stress – take her to her clinic sister or paediatrician for a check-up. Remember that premature babies may reach their milestones later.

Newborns

“Newborns lack muscle strength and are fragile,” says Dr Diana du Plessis, an independent midwifery consultant and researcher in Gauteng. “They need you to gently cradle and support their head and neck when you lift, hold or carry them.”

By one month

Baby should be able to raise her head a little for a moment or two while lying on her tummy or being carried on your shoulder. Lie her on a quilted or foam mat. Get down next to her, and using a toy held just out of reach, encourage her to lift her head.

Newborns lack muscle strength and are fragile, they need you to gently cradle and support their head and neck when you lift, hold or carry them.”

By two months

She will try to raise her head to about 45 degrees, and turn it when lying on her tummy. “This indicates her neck muscles are getting stronger,” Dr Du Plessis says. “She will also be able to hold her head in line with her body for a few moments if you pull her up very gently by her arms when she is lying on her back. And she will be able to hold her head upright for a few seconds if you hold her upright with your hands around her chest.”