Tips for head control

  • Tummy time is vital for achieving head control. There is evidence that babies who spend more time on their tummies achieve head control sooner. Remember that SAFETY is always first though so babies should sleep on their back.
  • Give babies the tummy time they need during their play times. This is most important from about 1 month of age but practicing some of these exercises, such as 1 and 3, can start getting your baby used to being in this position, even though they won’t yet lift their heads.
  • Build tummy time, don’t force it.
  • You can also help head control by holding your baby’s arms and gently lifting them to sitting every time you change their nappy (closer to 3 months).

 

What do I do if my baby hates tummy time?

  • Place your baby on their tummy lying on your chest. If they are still unhappy start by sitting up and slowly move yourself into a lying position. You can stay at a level your baby is comfortable with and move closer to lying each time you try this exercise.
  • You could place your baby over a wedge or rolled towel. Always stay with your baby as they may tire quickly and need to move out of this position
  • Place your baby over your leg
  • Carry your baby in the `tiger in tree position’. This aids colic and digestion as well as strengthening the neck. Place your forearm under your baby. Their head at your elbow, your hand under their tummy

 

Games

  1. Lie beside your baby on a bed holding a mirror above you. Pull faces, sing and have fun while moving the mirror slowly making your baby turn his head to follow the mirror. Head control involves moving the head side to side as well as lifting)
  2. Place your baby on his tummy. Lie in front of him so that on lifting his head he will see your face. At this early stage you will be his favourite toy. Alternatively place a colourful toy in front of him, lift the toy off the ground encouraging him to lift his head further off the mat
  3. From about 5 months head control should be good enough for you to place your baby on your knee and bounce him. This improves head control and stimulates the vestibular or movement system