As a new parent, you may have noticed that your baby has little control over their head and neck movements. This is perfectly normal and is a sign of your baby’s development. Building your newborn’s neck strength is one of the most important things you can do for their overall health and wellbeing. With the right guidance and support, you can help your baby build the neck strength they need to explore the world around them! In this article, we’ll discuss why baby head control is important, tips for strengthening your baby’s neck, common challenges, and when to seek help.

Understanding Baby Head Control

Developing the muscles of the neck is essential for a child’s growth and development. Baby head control is a natural progression that most babies go through in the first few months of life. As babies gain more control of their head and neck, they are able to interact with their surroundings, helping them to learn and grow. Stimulating their reflexes, engaging them in tummy time, and helping them to learn how to support their head are all important steps in helping your newborn gain head control.

It’s important to remember that all babies develop differently. Some babies may gain head control faster than others, while some may take longer. There is no need to be concerned if your baby isn’t developing as quickly as you expected. However, it is important to ensure that your baby is getting plenty of tummy time to help strengthen their neck muscles. Tummy time can help babies practice lifting their heads and eventually learn how to balance themselves. Additionally, it also helps them to further develop their motor skills and encourages them to explore their environment.

Helping your baby to develop strong neck muscles is key to establishing their head control. You can do this by providing plenty of tummy time and stimulating your baby’s reflexes. By doing this, you will be giving your baby the best opportunity to develop their neck muscles and help them gain the head control they need to interact with their environment.

Why Is Baby Head Control Important?

Understanding the importance of baby head control helps you create a strong foundation for your child’s physical development. As your child grows, they will need to be able to control their head and neck to help them develop healthy sensory integration and motor skills. When your baby is born, their neck muscles are weak and they have limited control over their head. Therefore, it is important to create an environment that encourages and helps your baby develop strong neck muscles.

How Tummy Time Can Help

Tummy time is an important activity that helps babies develop their head control and strengthen their neck, shoulder, and upper body muscles. It involves placing the baby on their stomach while they are awake and supervised.

Here’s how tummy time contributes to building up babies’ head control:

  1. Strengthening neck and upper body muscles: When placed on their tummy, babies need to lift and turn their heads to look around. This action engages and strengthens the neck, shoulder, and upper body muscles necessary for head control.
  2. Developing postural control: Tummy time allows babies to work on their postural control, which is the ability to maintain a stable position against gravity. As they push up with their arms and prop themselves on their forearms, they learn to balance their head and control its movements.
  3. Promoting sensory and motor development: During tummy time, babies experience a different sensory perspective and engage in various motor activities. They explore their environment, reach for toys, and eventually learn to roll over and crawl, further enhancing their overall development.
  4. Preventing flat spots on the head: Regular tummy time can help prevent or reduce the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome. Spending time on their stomachs reduces the constant pressure on the back of their heads, allowing for more rounded skull growth.

It’s important to start tummy time from the early days of a baby’s life, gradually increasing the duration as they grow. Begin with short sessions of a few minutes a few times a day and gradually extend the time as your baby becomes more comfortable. Always supervise your baby during tummy time to ensure their safety and make the activity enjoyable by interacting with them, using toys, or getting down to their level for face-to-face interaction.

Common Challenges

With the right guidance and support, it is possible to develop your baby’s head control and prepare them for the next stage of development; however, common challenges can arise. It is important to recognize the signs of difficulty and be prepared to adapt strategies to make sure progress is being made. Learning the signs of difficulty and recognizing milestones in the development of your baby’s neck strength and head control can be difficult. Every baby is different and has their own unique learning style, which means you may need to adjust your approach to best fit your baby’s needs.

The most common challenges parents face when building their baby’s neck strength and head control are lack of consistency, incorrect technique, and not adapting strategies when needed. Inconsistency can lead to delays in progress, as babies need frequent practice to build strength and coordination. It is also important to make sure you are using the correct technique when assisting your baby’s neck and head. If not, it can cause additional strain on your baby’s neck muscles, which can lead to pain. Finally, adapting strategies when needed is essential to ensure your baby is progressing. If your baby is struggling with a certain exercise, take the time to observe and modify the technique to better suit your baby’s needs.

Developing your baby’s neck strength is an important part of their development, and it is crucial that you take the time to learn the signs of difficulty and recognize milestones. With patience and a little guidance, you can help your baby reach their developmental goals.

When to Seek Help

If you are having difficulty helping your child develop their neck and head control, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Delayed development of a newborn’s neck and head control can be concerning for parents, and infant care specialists can provide assistance and guidance. Infants between the ages of 0-3 months should be able to hold their head up when in a sitting or standing position, as well as turn their head from side to side and rotate it from side to side when lying on their stomach. If your child is having difficulty meeting these milestones, it is important to talk to your pediatrician or an infant care specialist about strategies and therapies that may be beneficial.

Many times, the infant care specialist will recommend simple exercises and activities that can help to strengthen your child’s neck muscles, such as positioning them on their stomach for tummy time and encouraging them to reach for toys. They may also give you tips for how to support and hold your baby in a way that encourages them to move their neck and head. Additionally, they can provide advice on how to adjust your child’s sleeping position and environment to help facilitate their development.

Seeking help from an infant care specialist can be beneficial in helping your newborn develop their neck and head control. It is important to pay close attention to your child’s development and reach out for assistance as soon as you notice any delays. With the right guidance and support, your baby will soon be on their way to reaching their milestones.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age should parents start strengthening their baby’s neck?

When it comes to strengthening your baby’s neck, it’s important to start early. You can begin tummy time from the first week. Start with 1 minute sessions, 2-3 times a day. If they start to cry, then take a break, and try again later. Holding positions, tummy time, and body position are all excellent ways to get your baby used to head support.

Are there any specific movements that should be avoided?

When it comes to building your newborn’s neck strength, it’s important to be mindful of certain movements that should be avoided. Supporting your baby in a posture that is safe and comfortable is essential. This means avoiding any sudden, jerking motions that may destabilize your infant and cause discomfort. Instead, focus on building your baby’s confidence with slow, gentle movements that help them to develop control and strength in their neck muscles. Above all else, safety should always remain paramount when engaging in any baby neck exercises.

Are there any toys or products that could help strengthen a baby’s neck?

You want to help your newborn strengthen their neck muscles, but are unsure how to do it safely. The good news is that there are plenty of toys and products that can help! Look for safe positioning products like supportive pillows that provide additional stability and comfort for baby’s neck and head. Toys and products with soft textures and rounded edges are also perfect for helping to build neck strength in a safe and gentle way. Allowing baby to practice holding their head up with these products can be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family.


As a parent, you want your baby to be growing strong and healthy. Building your baby’s neck strength is an important part of making sure they reach all of their milestones. With the right tips and guidance, you can help your baby reach their head control goals. Remember to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s progress. With the right support, your little one will be ready to explore the world around them in no time!

About Author

Jaimie is a mother of two lovely children, aged 3 months and 3 years, who resides in the beautiful city of Brisbane. She cherishes spending quality time with her family and thoroughly enjoys the joys and challenges of motherhood. Jaimie's life revolves around her little ones, and she takes pride in being an involved and caring mom.