4 Exercises to Strengthen Babies' Necks
Babies are born weak at the motor level, which is why we parents provide them with constant help and protection. It’s part of the instinct of caregivers. At the same time, we’re careful to find the best way to strengthen babies’ necks so that they can keep their heads upright. But beyond wishes and good intentions, the fragility of the neck is a reality that can’t be ignored.
Today, we’ll help you learn to strengthen the muscles in this area in a way that’s safe for your little one.
Why is it necessary to strengthen babies’ necks?
In principle, all babies are born with some motor flaccidity. This varies from child to child and isn’t necessarily a reason for alarm.
Added to this, the development of each little one has its own rhythm. That is, regardless of how many months old they are, your baby can mature faster or slower than others of the same age.
In terms of motor and postural development, strengthening exercises are a key stimulus for the baby and can be done at home with due precautions.
Exercises to strengthen the babies’ necks
During the first months of life, babies depend on both parents to move. Their motor skills are basic and their muscles have to go a long way to achieve full development.
In this first stage, it’s important to move the baby calmly and patiently, as the idea is to teach the brain the sequence of movement step by step.
Here are some physical stimulation exercises to put into practice today.
1. Play on the floor, face down
Early stimulation is carried out from the first day of life and the exercises vary according to the age of the baby. This is very important for their brain development, so it’s important that you implement it.
Among stimulation exercises, there are those you can use to strengthen babies’ necks. Along these lines, we recommend that you lay your baby on their stomach on a firm surface and under adult supervision. Do this only when you’re baby’s awake.
The baby can stay in this position for as long as they want, but it’s more common for them to become uncomfortable after a few minutes.
When lying on their tummy, babies try to bring their heads up and to the sides. In this way, the muscles of the neck, back, and shoulders gradually begin to be stimulated.
It’s important to note that, while sleeping, babies must lie on their backs (supine), as this position is the safest and prevents sudden infant death syndrome.
2. Stretch their necks gently
Normally, most babies have a habit of turning their heads to the side, especially when being held against the chest.
Try to take advantage of this position to stretch your baby’s neck muscles and prevent them from adopting unhealthy positions. With the help of your hands, try to touch the baby’s chin to your shoulder. Then, do the same for the other side. Remember to perform the movements very calmly and gently.
If you think that your child is annoyed, doesn’t want to comply, or moves their head to the other side, don’t force things. Sudden movements could cause an injury, so it’s best not to force these exercises.
3. Suspend them over an object
In this case, as in the first exercise, you’ll want to start with your baby lying face down. However, this exercise should be done after 3 months of life or when the child manages to hold their head up on their own.
The recommendation here is to lie them face down, on a comfortable and soft element, which can be a pillow or a cushion. From this position, you can take them with both hands and lift it little by little. This movement manages to strengthen the muscles at the lumbar, dorsal, and cervical (neck) levels.
4. Get their attention
Attracting your baby’s attention forces them to move and this helps to strengthen the muscles of the neck, head, and torso. It can be done from any position: Sitting or lying down.
In order to attract their attention, you should use eye-catching items or ones that your baby likes. Show them head-on first to get their attention, and then start moving them around the room, not far from the baby. Try to get behind them and make sure they follow the object with their gaze.
Maybe you’re interested: The Best Toys to Improve Psychomotor Skills for Babies
Strengthening isn’t synonymous with forcing
As mentioned above, each baby has their own developmental rhythm and the exercises are simply meant to stimulate the strengthening of the neck. This doesn’t mean that they offer immediate results or that you should force the capacities of your little one. So, try to take it easy and go at your child’s pace.
Also, if you don’t feel safe doing this type of exercise, see your family doctor. And if something worries you regarding their development, ask for the necessary advice.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Virginia Manjón Nieto (2017). INDICADORES DEL DESARROLLO DE LA DIMENSIÓN PSICOMOTRIZ (0-3 AÑOS). https://gredos.usal.es/bitstream/handle/10366/133339/2017_TFG_Manj%F3nNieto,VIrginia_Indicadores%20del%20desarrollo%20de%20la%20dimensi%F3n%20psicomotiz%20(0-3%20a%F1os).pdf;jsessionid=F3D57CC03093E5F08982EB0A1BDCF3F1?sequence=1
- Agustina Vericat Alicia Bibiana (2013). Ciencia y Salud Colectiva. Orden El desarrollo psicomotor y sus alteraciones: entre lo normal y lo patológico. https://www.scielo.br/j/csc/a/mMZtpnJqrbFpFQ7WMsFvXtf/?lang=es