image001 Soon after birth, a newborn baby has lesser control on his head due to weak neck muscles and under-developed motor skills that are responsible for supporting the head. But in just a few months, the baby acquires this ability. The vital skills develop in the newborn gradually and in a step by step fashion that lays the foundation for upcoming movements such as walking and sitting in his first year.

It is important to know when babies hold their head up to gauge the growth of little one so that you can monitor the child’s development and take action if necessary.

When Do Babies Hold Their Head Up?

At the age of 1 month, the babies usually start making the gesture of lifting head (though most attempts are unsuccessful until the baby is 2 month old). By second month, you will start noticing that your babies try to slowly pop up his head during tummy time, initially for few shaky seconds. If babies do not like tummy time, do not stop the practice as this is vital for the development and growth of their upper body and neck muscles.

The baby’s head support and stability will improve steadily within next few months but he may still need the support in holding head (especially while feeding, playing and cradling). Most of the babies do not require much head support at or around 4 months of age. At this time, the baby will likely to raise the head while lying on back and may try to prop up on elbows during tummy time just like a mini cobra. By the end of baby’s six month the head control and neck muscles are fairly strong.

How Does Babies’ Head Control Develop?

Knowing when do babies hold their head up is not enough, it helps to know how baby's head control develops so that you can do the right thing to encourage him/her to hold up his/her head. 


Newborn babies totally rely on mothers to support their necks and heads in the first month of life’s journey. Perhaps it is a nature’s way to keep mothers and children closer and allow more frequent time sharing to establish a closer bond for life.

1 to 2 Months

After the completion of first month, the baby briefly tries to lift his head and turns it side to side during tummy time. It is also observed that coordinated and strong babies (at the age of 6 to 8 weeks) can also raise their head up during tummy time.

While being carried on the shoulder, they try to hold and control the shakiness of head but this is not for long time. The babies will also try to hold their heads while sitting in front pack and car seat. If you want to use a backpack or jogging stroller for your babies, it is preferable to wait until they properly learn to control their head and do not require your support. However, while carrying your babies in sling, do make sure that their faces are visible as the little ones cannot move their heads properly for easy breathing.

3 to 4 Months

When your babies reach to this age, you will notice improvement in controlling head. They can also raise their heads during tummy time to 45 degrees and can keep their heads up steadily. For making the neck muscles strong you can play game with your babies by placing them on their back and pulls them up slowly, with his hands, into sitting position. Now slowly place them down again and then repeat. You can also carry your babies in backpack when he reaches to the age of 4 months.

5 to 6 Months

6 months babies can easily hold their heads in erect posture. They can also flex the head forward while pulling to sitting position. You can use jogging stroller for your babies at this age.

What Can You Do in the Development of Babies’ Head Control?



Be careful

You cannot encourage much to control the development of babies’ head, but you have to be very careful until it is established properly.

Be supportive

You might eagerly be waiting to interact with your child to share your bundle of joy but be careful while dealing with his floppy head which requires support until he gains total head control. Support your child’s neck and head by using your hands or by crooking your arm and avoid completely any jarring movements in his initial months.

Encourage child during tummy time

A newborn has a natural instinct of raising his head and neck to get a complete look of his environment. Do not get alarmed when your child fusses in his tummy time as most of the babies do not take any interest in doing extra work but this is necessary for your child’s development.

Play neck-strengthening games

Shake a rattle on both the sides of your baby’s head. This will encourage the baby to turn head on both sides. Using flashlight can also help you baby in moving head side to side. Encourage the head movements by gently stroking the baby’s cheek with fingers

Make your baby sit

When your babies reach the age of 6 months, they will become ready to saw the surroundings from a new perspective. It is important at this age and you should let your babies sit by using any supportive seat such as Bumbo. Do not leave your babies on an elevated surface. You can also let your babies sit on your lap.

When Should You Be Worried?

1. What If Babies at 3 Months Try to Lift Their Heads Slightly up?

If you notice that your babies at 3 months are struggling in lifting their heads (even if slightly); make sure to discuss with a pediatrician on next visit. Every baby develops their skills differently; some develop quickly while others take time. However, premature babies take time in every stage of development as compared to their peers. If you are worried, consult a pediatrician.

2. What If 3 Months -plus Babies Can’t Lift up Their Heads?

If a newborn does not show any signs or attempts in lifting the head, discuss with the pediatrician at next child’s visit.