1 Month: Starting to Lift the Head

“Jack has had tummy time every day since he was three days old.   At first he didn’t like being on his stomach, but now he is happy to play a while in this position.  He is interested in lifting his head to get his mouth on his hand.  It’s like a game to him.”

In tummy time, we want to see a progression of extension through the baby’s back over the first several months.  I’m always in awe and a little surprised at the slow but steady day-by-day progression, especially in the first month.   In the first days of tummy time, the weight is on the baby’s face and it is not the most comfortable looking position.  Nevertheless, exciting changes are on the way!

At one month Jack’s posture continues to be dominated by physiological flexion with a long c-curve through his spine and 30 or more degrees of flexion in his hips.  However, gravity is slowly increasing the extension available in the spine, hips and knees.  In addition to increased range of motion, Jack has new muscle activation in his cervical spine and shoulder girdle allowing him to lift his head slightly off the ground and hold it there momentarily.   Recently, Jack has discovered that he can sometimes lift his head high enough to get his mouth on his hand.   This carries a great incentive and reward!

In prone (on his stomach), we see that Jack has his elbows further away from his body and contacting the surface.  His rotator cuff muscles are starting to activate when his elbows push into the ground.  Because physiological flexion is decreasing, Jack gains larger excursions of movement through his arms and legs in this month.

He is learning so much every time his parents give him the opportunity to practice!






Author: spritelypt

Pediatric physical therapist

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