12 Week Old Won't Hold His Head Up

Updated on September 08, 2008
C.S. asks from Columbia, SC
7 answers

Hi moms, my son just turned 12 weeks old and won't hold his head up. He will briefly sometimes, but for the most part, he just wants to let it fall to the side or forward. He CAN hold it up because as I said, he does it briefly, but doesn't seem to like it or want to. We do tummy time almost every day, and for the most part, he wiggles and squeals (doesn't really seem to enjoy the tummy time). He has pushed his head up a few times, but usually just smooshes his face around on the play mat. I know with preemies they say to adjust the development time -- HE WASN'T A PREEMIE, but he was in the NICU for two weeks. I am wondering if this could have set him back two weeks since he was in there and unable to move or be picked up or do anything other than sleep (for the most part) during that time.
Thanks in advance for any information!

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answers from Athens on

I would continue with the tummy time. His neck will get stronger. My daughter wouldn't sit up on her own when she was 7 months because she hardly sat her up on her own. When we did, she did.



answers from Atlanta on

My opinion is don't fret yet. As other moms have said, every baby is different. You are right that the development time is different for preemies, but that is due strictly to their early birth not their time in the NICU. Most babies do nothing but sleep the first two weeks anyway so it doesn't matter where he was doing the sleeping. My daughter was 13 weeks premature and spent 2 months in the NICU, she is now a healthy thriving 5 yr old. She has had several delays but, again, all due to her being outside the womb 3 months early. Trust that you are doing everything you can to keep your son healthy. Discuss your concerns with your ped and go forward from there. If you get to 4 or 5 months old and he's still not picking his head, then you can start to seriously worry. Until then, enjoy him the way he is.

T. D



answers from Sumter on

My son did not hold his head up either and we had to have physical therapy for a common condition called tort-a-collious I do not know the correct spelling but it is basically really weak neck muscles with a slight lean or tilt of the head to one side. After weeks of therapy and home exercises he corrected it and could hold his head up normally. Please tell your doctor.



answers from Atlanta on

At this point, I wouldn't worry about it, but definitely talk it over with the pediatrician. My son was a slow developer as a baby. We even had a phone consultation with Babies Can't Wait and they decided he didn't need therapy. He is now a perfectly normal 7 year old. My daughter, on the other hand, is a former preemie that spent 5 months in the NICU. She is 3 1/2 and is severely disabled. She has been in therapy since she came home from the hospital. Those 2 weeks that your son spent in the NICU could have delayed his development. It wouldn't hurt for your son to be evaluated by Babies Can't Wait, but talk to the pediatrician first to see if you need to do anything at this point. You can make a referral to Babies Can't Wait as a parent, and they will do an evaluation to see if he needs early intervention. Hang in there!

M. W



answers from Savannah on

Most babies don't start holding their head untill 3-4 months old. Yes, being in the NICU could cause some muscle milestones to be delayed. Any type of long or sever illness can slow down the development of any child. I really wouldn't stress over it too much yet. You are doing great buy giving him tummy time and try to make sure he isn't being held all the time too. Time on their back is just as important as on the tummy!!

Good luck!



answers from Atlanta on

Hi C.,

There are milestones but every baby develops differently.Go to
http://www.babycenter.com/0_developmental-milestones-head... and look thru it. It has some good information. I have a friend that had a little one that was very large for her age (not fat, just tall) and her head was in proportion to her body but heavier than her muscles could hold. Within a few months, her neck muscles developed on their own. These milestones are averages, not rules. Just watch him and if he's improving, he's probably just fine.





answers from Atlanta on

I am sure that you have mentioned this to the ped and if he isn't concerned then I am sure he is fine, however, if your gut says something isn't right, then do some more research and don't stop looking and asking until you get answers!!! You are the mommy!! My best friend has a healthy baby girl who is now about 15 months old. She had something called tortacolis (spelling). It caused her head to lean to the side too. She went to the chiropractor and is all better now. Good luck

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