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Why can't a newborn hold its head up?


1673 day(s) ago

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cabbagehead
Newborns have large heads in proportion to the rest of their bodies, and their neck muscles are very weak when they come out of the womb. Care must be taken when holding a newborn so its head doesn't flop around.


At first, the newborn able to do little more than turn the head left and right when supported. Most babies are able to briefly move their heads around when on their stomach after about a month, on their backs after two months, and sitting up at four months. The length of time the baby can hold his or her head in a position as well as the maximum angle the baby can move its head will steadily increase until around six months of age. At this point, the baby will be capable of normal head movement.

Why don't babies have stronger necks out of the womb? It's been suggested that by requiring support when held, the baby is able to see and connect with human faces. During the first couple months distance vision is very limited, so holding the baby close helps him or her see the holder. Neck development and eye development closely match each other: By the time the neck has reached maturity, the eyes are capable of 20/40 vision, and the baby can focus on and track objects.

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