Strengthening your baby’s neck muscles is essential for their healthy growth and development. It helps them hold their head up, look around, and eventually learn to sit up, crawl, and walk. Luckily, there are lots of fun and easy ways to help strengthen these muscles. This blog covers the importance of strengthening your baby’s neck muscles as well as some simple activities you can do to help your baby reach important developmental milestones and set them up for a healthy future.
Why Are Strong Neck Muscles Important In Babies?
In the first few months of your baby’s life, their head requires significant support until their neck muscles become stronger. Building the strength to hold their head up is fundamental for the development of all other movements such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking. Apart from supporting motor development, strong neck muscles also facilitate effective breastfeeding or bottle-feeding by enabling your baby to hold their head up and swallow comfortably. Building neck muscle strength can help prevent conditions such as torticollis, where the neck muscles are tight on one side, and plagiocephaly, where the skull becomes flat or misshapen.
How Long Does It Take For Babies To Strengthen Their Neck?
Good news! By around 3 months of age, most babies start to gain enough neck strength to keep their head partially upright, and by 6 months, they usually have full control over their head and neck movements.
How To Encourage Neck Strengthening
As one of the most common ways to encourage your baby to strengthen their neck muscles, placing your baby on their tummy will require them to lift their head and engage their neck muscles to look around. As they continue to practice tummy time, their neck muscles will get stronger, and they will be able to hold their head up higher and for longer periods of time. It’s important to start tummy time early, even when your baby is just a few days old, and to gradually increase the amount of time they spend on their tummy as they get older and stronger. Always make sure to supervise your baby during tummy time and provide a safe and comfortable surface for them to lie on.
Babocush Comfort Cushion
Especially helpful in supporting the strengthening of neck muscles in babies, the Babocush Comfort Cushion is designed to provide a comfortable and secure space for tummy time, which is an important position for developing neck muscles. When your baby lies on the Comfort Cushion, their arms will be in front of them, encouraging them to push up and lift their head to look around. With regular use, this can help to strengthen their neck muscles over time. The Comfort Cushion’s gentle vibration feature can also soothe your baby and encourage them to stay in the tummy time position for longer periods, promoting healthy development. For best results, use the Babocush Comfort Cushion in conjunction with other activities that promote healthy development, such as floor time and interactive play.
By holding your baby in the reverse cradling position, also known as the American football hold, you can encourage them to lift and turn their head, helping to build neck muscle strength. This position involves holding your baby with their back against your forearm, while their head is cradled in your hand, facing upward.
To maintain this position your baby will be required to engage their neck muscles in order to hold their head up, again strengthening and improving neck muscle control. Since your baby’s head will be elevated slightly higher than their body in this position, it reduces pressure on their neck and spine. This hold is especially helpful for babies who may struggle with traditional cradling positions and can make them feel more comfortable and secure.
Toys With Sound
Although you may wish for some peace and quiet, toys that make noise can be exceptionally helpful in building your baby’s neck muscles. When your baby hears a sound, they might want to turn and look at it, which means they need to use their neck muscles to lift and turn their head. This can be a fun and engaging way to help your little one develop strong neck muscles and get ready for important milestones like sitting up and crawling. You can also hold their favorite toy slightly out of reach, so your baby has to lift and turn their head to see it. Just remember to always supervise your baby when they’re playing with toys and choose ones that are safe and appropriate for their age.
As your baby grows and develops, strengthening their neck muscles is an important part of their physical development. Strong neck muscles can help your baby hold their head up, look around, and eventually sit up, crawl, and walk. There are many simple and fun activities you can do with your baby to help strengthen their neck muscles, from tummy time and toys with sound, to using specialized tools like our Babocush Comfort Cushion so you can support your baby's healthy development and help them reach important milestones as they grow.