Dr. Alan Greene answers the question, How can I help strengthen my baby's neck?


My son is 6 months old and his pediatrician doesn't think he holds his head up as well as he should be at this age. She wants me to lay him on his stomach more, but he just screams when he is on his belly for more than a minute. Is there some way I can get him to like being on his stomach or some other way to strengthen his neck?


Time spent on the tummy and time spent sitting with support both help increase head strength, and increased neck strength makes tummy time more enjoyable.

Try lying on your stomach facing your baby, also on his stomach, and making faces at him or singing to him. Telling him rhymes can also engage him for a bit. Also, try putting him on a bit of a foam wedge to support his chest. This should keep his head out of the turf and give him more to look at.

Tummy time doesn't have to be long. Many brief periods throughout the day, such as four to six times a day, is fine. It might be nice to try comforting him other ways before picking him up, such as patting or singing. But keep the tummy sessions to less than a few minutes if he is too unhappy. A little struggling is good, but there's no need for him to be miserable.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

American Baby