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When it happens: Your baby won't be able to push himself up until he's strong enough to lift his head, which is usually around 2 to 3 months. Soon after that, you'll see him try to use his arms to lift his torso too. His first attempts will bring him only partway: While on his tummy, he'll raise his head, prop himself up on his elbows, and look around. By 6 months, he should be able to push up onto his hands.
What it takes: Pushing up requires practice. Most babies hate being on their stomach, but tummy time is absolutely necessary for muscle strength and control. "I encourage parents to put kids on their tummy from Day 1," says M. Michael Eisenfeld, MD, a pediatrician at All Children's Hospital, in St. Petersburg, Florida. "If you start early, your child will get used to it."
How to help: Try laying your baby on your belly as you relax in a recliner. Seeing your face will give him an incentive to push up.
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