what age can baby support own neck safely? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 12-23-2009, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hello everyone,

i'm new to the mothering forums so i hope that this board is an ok one to post this question in.

i tried searching around on the internet for an answer but i might not be searching for the right terms.

my question is: at what age can babies support their own neck safely? i realize that the age will be different for every baby but a general age would be helpful. for example, with newborns it seems pretty obvious that its a good idea to support their necks/heads. but later they start to gain some control of their neck but are still a little unstable. at what point is it ok for their head to be moving around a little bit while you hold them (isn't the little movement helping to build their muscles?)

i'm quite a beginner at all of this. i am not a mother to any humyn babies- although i am a mother to 2 felines- but lately everyone in my extended family is having babies so i've suddenly been holding lots of them. i like to lean towards the side of caution but some guidance would be nice.

thanks in advance!

doula. folk herbalist. activist. forest lover. autoimmune. animist. spoonie. library worker. and more...

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#2 of 13 Old 12-23-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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This link is a good general guide. http://www.babycenter.com/0_mileston...ths_1496585.bc It is a general milestone chart. Of course there is no exact age. Some babies are born already having a bit of neck control, some babies take months. When in doubt, always have your hand ready to support them! Hope this helps.
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#3 of 13 Old 12-24-2009, 01:02 AM
 
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I think the average is 3-4 months.

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#4 of 13 Old 12-24-2009, 04:27 AM
 
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I think for my kids it came slowly, between 2 and 4 months, although DD1 could lift her head up some when she was lying on her belly, and look around a bit, literally from birth. My other two took longer to be able to do that, and DS was still struggling with it at 2 months.

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#5 of 13 Old 12-24-2009, 09:51 AM
 
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I have 3 kids but right now my youngest is 3 mos and she is doing pretty good with supporting her head and neck on her own although she's still wobbly and floppy of course. I think 4 months is going to be about the right time for her.

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#6 of 13 Old 12-24-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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i wouldn't think there would be a need to "help them build their neck muscles" by letting their heads flop around as you hold them

i would let an infant work on their head support by giving them tummy-time, letting them rollover etc to work on their muscles at their own pace

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#7 of 13 Old 12-24-2009, 08:49 PM
 
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they are all different but as the PPs said usually by 4 months they have fairly good control. My DS had the floppiest neck ever but by 4 months he was fairly good. My new baby has had a very strong neck ever since she was born, even my MW commented on it, and at 3 months her neck is about as strong as my DS's was at 4 months.

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#8 of 13 Old 12-24-2009, 11:36 PM
 
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My DS2 is 4.5 months and has good solid control 90% of the time. I don't remmeber for sure, but I'd say DS1 did too by the same 4ish months, though they both had surprisingly strong necks from birth as I recall
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#9 of 13 Old 12-25-2009, 12:21 AM
 
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It also depends on the time-- my 3 month old ds can hold his head up when he's up and focusing. When he gets sleepy his little head just droops all over the place!

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#10 of 13 Old 12-25-2009, 12:39 AM
 
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This was (one of) my biggest concerns when DS was a newborn... And I can't fully explain why, although I think it has something to do with all of the lifeguard training when I was in college...I somehow had it in my head that his neck/ head should be supported in a sort of spinal injury head vice hold LOL! (and they totally don't need to be supported in quite this manner)

It amazed me when I realized that DS was a head control champ. He was fully supporting his head a little before 3mo (except when he was super sleepy) congrats Mama!

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#11 of 13 Old 12-25-2009, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for all the replies so far!

millifiori,
that link is helpful. i was looking for something like that. whenever i was trying to google what i was looking for, all that was coming up was places to purchase those little baby neck support pillows

chel,
Quote:
i wouldn't think there would be a need to "help them build their neck muscles" by letting their heads flop around as you hold them
no, i don't think so either. i hope i didn't make it sound like i thought letting them flop might be good for them. i was more worried that by constantly holding their necks when they don't need that extra support i might be in some way keeping them from experiencing the little movements that they need to become stronger.

GreenGranolaMama,
thank you for mentioning that. that's something that i had in mind with my original post. one of the little ones i was holding was 3.5 months old and i was sort of worried that i might be "overprotecting" their neck and not letting them move enough for the level of their abilities. i didn't want to be "holding them back". i tend to over-think things but will likely learn to trust myself as i get more hands-on experience.

and everyone else so far,
the ages that you've mentioned are what i was thinking as well. i have quite a bit of "book knowledge" about babies and parenting so far (i love reading about birth and attachment parenting and the benefits of breastfeeding, etc.) but i hardly ever get to interact with babies in real life! thanks for the input, all.

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#12 of 13 Old 12-25-2009, 10:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
My DS2 is 4.5 months and has good solid control 90% of the time. I don't remmeber for sure, but I'd say DS1 did too by the same 4ish months, though they both had surprisingly strong necks from birth as I recall
my DD had a strong neck from birth too. everyone who held her commented on how strong her head control was. she started lifting up from laying position while changing her diaper at 2 months old. she would get frustrated so I'd pull her up in to a sitting position and hold her to make her happy.

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#13 of 13 Old 12-25-2009, 06:57 PM
 
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It seems to me that my DD was closer to 4 mo before she could really support her head very well on her own... like if you put her in a sitting position or if she was in the Moby wrap. But DS is only 2 months old and is super-good with his head, he held his head up looking all over in the Moby wrap while we were last-minute-shopping yesterday morning. I do still hold one hand behind his head, not touching it, but close enough that if his head flops I can catch it.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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