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Baby development: head holding – Controlling your own head is very difficult at first, and is one of the many challenges a newborn faces. This is also an important prerequisite for all further progress, such as turning, crawling or walking.

Arriving in the world: holding the head in the first 8 weeks

Shortly after birth, the neck muscles are still weak. In the first four to eight weeks, it is therefore very important to always support the head carefully, whether holding or turning your baby. This help is only necessary in a supportive way as soon as a baby can hold his head by himself. This can sometimes take as long as eight weeks. Look at your baby’s face as often as possible when holding the head. This is how you can intensify the bond with your little one and also give him a feeling of love and security.

Some children are already able to lift their head by themselves for a short time between the sixth and eighth week in the supine position. Many babies in the second month are also able to turn their head from one side to the other in the prone position. When carrying your baby on your shoulder, you will notice that he or she is slowly gaining control over holding his or her own head (although still unsteady and wobbly). However, since your baby does not yet have enough strength to sit in a back carrier or stroller by himself, you should use strollers, slings or rocking recliners accordingly, or simply place him on a crawling blanket on the floor.

Never leave your baby alone on a table, changing table or sofa during the first few weeks. Even without concrete, conscious control of its own movements, it can accidentally develop enough strength to change its lying position and thus fall down. Falling from an elevated position is one of the most common causes of accidents with babies. Therefore, never leave your baby unattended or alone. lying unsecured.

Third to fourth month: the prone position as training

More and more often you should lay your baby on his belly when he is awake. On the one hand, this prevents a flat back of the head due to frequent lying on the back, and on the other hand, it promotes stamina and strength when lifting the head.

Some babies don’t like lying on their tummy at first. In some cases, however, they quickly become accustomed to the prone position. However, there are also babies who are really uncomfortable. Just keep trying day after day. With the interest for toys, many can be inspired for a longer time for the prone position.

Fifth to sixth month: on to the next milestones

After the first 20 weeks, most babies can hold their head still, turn it themselves, and lift their head when pulled into a sitting position. These are important prerequisites for reaching the next milestones of sitting and crawling.

This is how you can support your baby

When it comes to holding your baby’s head, you should be careful to protect it. Insufficient head support in the first weeks of life can lead to pain and injury to the neck muscles.

Although it is perfectly possible to put three- to six-month-old babies in the sitting position with appropriate support (such as pillows), pediatricians and midwives advise against it. While this can help strengthen the neck muscles, the risk of injury is far too great. As with other developmental milestones, your baby will hold its head in sitting positions on its own when it is truly physically and mentally ready to do so.

You have concerns because your baby is not developing in a timely manner according to various baby advice books? Talk to your midwife or the pediatrician you trust. These can help you with their experience. Keep in mind that every baby develops in a completely individual way. And this is not always done according to the development calendar.

Babies born prematurely ("premature infants") also reach their first developmental milestones somewhat later than babies born at term.

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