Your baby will go through a number of key milestones as he or she ages. So you may be wondering when you should be concerned if your baby is not lifting his head. Babies typically begin to exhibit some control of their heads by one or two months of age. If this is not occurring, it is not necessarily a sign of a bigger health problem, but it could be.
Parents need to keep an eye on their baby’s development when it comes to supporting the weight of his or her head. A delay here could be the sign of a serious problem that your doctor needs to be aware of and possibly treat.
Certainly, some babies are slower to begin lifting their heads than others, and this slight delay does not necessarily signify a greater health problem occurring. Parents and doctors should just be aware of what is occurring with the baby’s development and watch it closely.
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Milestones for Lifting the Head
The baby should begin to show some signs of head control before three months of age, potentially sooner. A baby may not have full control of the head movement until the age of six months, though.
Control of the head will develop alongside other motor skill developments, including the ability to grasp a toy, kicking and stretching legs when lying on the stomach, and moving the body to respond to stimuli.
Around six weeks of age, the baby should be attempting to lift his or her head briefly, especially when lying on the stomach. He or she should be able to turn the head at least slightly by eight weeks of age.
Concerns Over Head Control
If the baby is not lifting their head on his or her own by three months of age, this could be a sign of a worrisome developmental delay. If accompanied by other signs of developmental delays, you should contact your doctor. Some of these other issues to watch for include:
- No response to loud sounds
- No facial reactions, such as smiling
- Unable to follow a moving object with the eyes
- Does not recognize own hands
- Cannot grasp small items
For a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, slight delays in developmental milestones are expected, including the ability to lift the head. Doctors should always keep a close eye on the development of any premature baby.
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Conditions That May Be Occurring
If your baby is struggling with head control, this could be a sign of multiple motor control conditions or illnesses.
Hypotonia is a low muscle tone condition in the baby, making the baby almost feel like he or she is floppy. Because of the lack of muscle tone, the baby may struggle to lift his or her head at the age expected. When you hold a baby with hypotonia, it may feel as if the baby is limp.
If the baby suffered some sort of brain injury in the womb or during delivery, this could lead to the formation of hypotonia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability among infants and children, occurring in about 1 in 323 children. Because of the inability to control the body found in cerebral palsy, the baby may struggle to control his head.
The presence of autism in an infant may initially show up as an inability to control the head and neck. This lack of control does not occur for every baby, but doctors may want to watch for it. The CDC says about 1 in 54 children have autism spectrum disorder.
We Will Work Hard To Protect Your Family’s Rights
After a difficult delivery, you may have received a warning about watching for potential health problems in your baby that could indicate a serious condition is present. Consequently, you may be wondering when you should be concerned about your baby not lifting his head.
Sometimes, a baby that does not meet early developmental milestones is simply a little slower to mature than similarly aged babies. Other times, though, this is a sign of a more significant problem. If you are noticing other signs of health issues alongside the inability to control the head as expected, this is a concern that your doctor should be aware of immediately.
It is possible that your baby suffered some sort of injury during delivery that could have been prevented. Perhaps this injury is affecting the baby’s development, leading to a lack of strength in the neck area. If so, you may want to contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for a free review of your case.