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Expert Advice

When will my baby hold her head up?

From birth, your bub starts learning skills to gain head control. Here are some milestones to expect...

By Fiona Wright
There are different stages of head control that your baby will gradually master as they get older.
Here's what you can expect during your baby's first six months…
First weeks
Your baby's motor skills take off within the first days of her birth, starting with her gaining head control. She may move her head from side to side when placed on her front, or bob it against you when you hold her close to your chest.
2 months
At two months she may be able to lift her head up at a 45-degree angle when placed on her tummy.
3 to 4 months
By three to four months your baby has almost gained complete head control, but her body still wobbles when you pull her into a sitting position – a pose she loves being in. She has also discovered her hands and likes to touch everything.
By four months your little one has gained almost complete head control. Nice work, bub. (Image: Getty Images)
5 months
Your baby is discovering how much her body can do for her. You may be struck by her strength and trunk control as she starts to master rolling over. She can now also sit propped up for longer periods of time, and may even try to sit up by herself.
6 months
At six months, your little one will have full control of their head. She will be able to bear more weight on her forearms. When lying on her front, she can push herself up, arch her back and raise her head. She may also reach for toys from this position, often overbalancing.
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One way to help baby hold up their end is to ensure they have supervised tummy time. Tummy play will help muscle development in the arms, neck and back and prepare babies for crawling.
Red Nose recommends the following advice for safe tummy time:
• You can begin offering supervised tummy playtime as soon as baby is born, making sure baby is awake and not too tired, at least 3 times a day.
• At the beginning baby may be unsettled and only able to stay on their tummy for a minute or two during playtime.
• There are a few ways to achieve tummy playtime, such as carrying baby over your arm, shoulder, chest (only while you are awake) or lap, as well as tummy play on the floor, where baby can play on a comfortable firm mattress or bunny rug.
• Using a rolled towel or nappy under baby's armpit and chest will give baby more support (make sure to remove rolls before baby is placed to sleep on the back). Baby can lift up their head more easily if propped on their elbows.
• Never leave baby alone or unsupervised on the tummy, as it is dangerous if baby falls asleep or their airways become covered.

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