At birth, it is impossible for baby to hold his head on his own like a grown-up. That's why it's very important to always carry him by supporting his head!
Why can't baby hold his head?
It's important to know that a baby is born with a head that is more than one third of his total weight. This is bulky and very heavy for such a small body. Its muscles are poorly developed and cannot hold its head.
In early life, baby has hypotonia: slackness at the head axis of the spine. But also hypertonia: tonic at the level of his limbs (arms, legs...). As he grows, the tendency will reverse so that he can lift his head :)
At what age baby holds his head?
First signs appear at 2 months where baby lifts his head but it is only at 4 months that baby can support it and look to the left and right.
Developmental stages of baby's head control
The first month
Baby has no control over his head and his head goes backwards when you lift him. It is very important to support it.
At 2 months
The head still goes backwards when you lift it but not totally, it is a bit more toned.
At about 4 months
Baby has much better control of his head and can support it to look in all directions when you hold him.
About 6 months
Baby is a soldier of head support, naturally lifting it up and holding it like a big guy :)
When should you stop supporting baby's head?
From 4 months, when baby is able to lift his head, hold it and lift his chest when he is on his tummy. You'll be able to breathe a little and let him carry his head!
This doesn't mean you have to rock his head from left to right or up and down without taking it into account.
How to help baby gain better control of his head:
Put baby on his tummy! If you do this for a few minutes every day, it will strengthen his neck and back muscles to make him more toned.
He will want to move his head to look at you or at the toy you are waving in front of him.
Head support and babywearing
In the first few months of baby's life, we recommend the front carry, which best supports baby's head. Only when baby is able to hold his head on his own do we recommend switching to a back/side carry for more freedom. There are other things to consider of course.
Each baby has their own rhythm so don't worry if they can't support their head at 4 months on the dot! However, if this worries you too much, consult your pediatrician who will be able to judge the good psychomotor development of baby.