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Son's neck still floppy at 3 months - any advice?

(24 Posts)
Mouette Wed 01-Jul-09 11:14:49

Hi all
I'm new to Mumsnet - hope some of you might be able to give me some advice. I am worried about my son's lack of head control, he is 13 weeks old but his head and neck are still quite floppy. He manages to turn his head from side to side but that's about it. I saw the doctor who said to give it another month and to try and put him on his tummy more. I fear I may have caused the problem by not putting him on his front enough during the first 3 months. I now try to put him on his tummy to play as much as possible but he doesn't like it and starts crying after a few minutes, no matter how hard I try to distract/entertain him. Has anyone else had that problem? Did the baby eventually catch up? Does anyone have any tips on how to get a baby to enjoy his "tummy time"? Thanks in advance!

Pinkjenny Wed 01-Jul-09 11:16:34

My friend's dd had this, I think her GP called it head lag. She is 6mo now, and still slightly behind, but catching up nicely. She was given specific exercises by the GP to try, and told she would be referred to physio if necessary.


HecatesTwopenceworth Wed 01-Jul-09 11:17:40

I'm sure it's not down to you. Sorry that I don't have any advice but if you are worried, then go back to gp and ask to be seen by a paed. For your peace of mind more than anything. It's hard enough with a new baby without having something playing on your mind.

Mouette Wed 01-Jul-09 11:19:46

Ah, thanks Pinkjenny for your quick reply - good to know other babies get that sometimes, and that your friend's daughter is catching up. I guess my GP will advise on treatment/refer us to physio if there is no improvement in a month's time. xx

Pinkjenny Wed 01-Jul-09 11:21:01


Mouette Wed 01-Jul-09 11:23:17

Thank you Hecates (very Greek name there) for your kind words. Will definitely ask GP to refer us to a paedietrician if there is no improvement in a couple of weeks. Will give tummy time a chance first. PS. I like sci fi too - pre baby I read a very good book called "The Gone-Away World".

BoysAreLikeDogs Wed 01-Jul-09 11:34:08

mine could cope with literally one minute of tummy time before they protested but one minute is fine; persist with it and also go to GP again if you are still concerned

good advice on this thread, lovely posts jenny and hecate

Welcome to MN Mouette


Mouette Wed 01-Jul-09 11:59:32

Thank you BoysAreLikeDogs (they just want to eat all the time? wink) I am very touched by all the messages, and such a quick response!! Good to know 1 mn at a time is good enough - I will persist with it, and go back to the GP in 3/4 weeks time - he wants to see him again anyway to check on progress. Am feeling less isolated now! There is so much information out there it's sometimes difficult to know what to think - good to speak to other people who've been there. xx

BoysAreLikeDogs Wed 01-Jul-09 12:12:17

ha Mouette they need twice daily runs in the park, widdle idiscriminately and bestow wet kisses

Great that you have found MN, it's a wonderful place

Mouette Wed 01-Jul-09 13:13:10

So much to look forward to! smile Thanks again

MIAonline Wed 01-Jul-09 13:20:17

A lot can change in a few weeks mouette and the chances are that DS will get better with his head control, but if not then it will probably just be some simple exercises as pinkjenny said.

In addition to tummy time, try some bright, large, clear pictures, when DS is laid on the floor on his back and move them from one side of him to the other slowly so that he moves his neck from side to side and when he his sat with you, shake objects in different areas of his line of vision so that he tries to turn his head as much as possible.

Not sure if that makes any sense reading it back, but hopefully you get the idea.

Congratulations on your DS by the way and MN will be invaluable for you. smile

Mouette Wed 01-Jul-09 13:39:33

Thank you MIAonline, great advice - will try it. John does move his head from side to side when he is on his back in his cot - good to know it's also a good exercise!

duchesse Wed 01-Jul-09 13:52:07

I think it's very difficult to hold a baby back developmentally. You'd have to keep them in a darkened box! They tend to do things as and when they're ready to do them. I'm sure yours will do it when he's strong enough. The tummy time might help, but I have to say that my son hated it, and just screamed and screamed until "rescued". As a result he never learned to crawl...

Mouette Wed 01-Jul-09 14:49:01

Thanks duchesse, glad to know my son isn't the only one! It's very comforting to read all those messages of support. I put my son on his back for his nap and he's now decided to do sit ups! He nearly manages to lift his entire upper body off the ground - must be good exercise!! smile

Powdoc Wed 01-Jul-09 14:53:58

My DD is ok with neck control, but wanted to say you're not alone with the hating tummy time. We've slowly built up from literally screaming when placed down to about 20 seconds. It has been suggested to me to put her down with a rolled up towel under her arms so her front half is raised (obviously with you there the whole time) as she may find this less upsetting...

Mouette Wed 01-Jul-09 17:10:39

I tried it and it does seem to help a bit - thanks Powdoc! It's a bit too hot for him to exercise right now though, so I will leave him in peace this afternoon, poor mite! This is no weather for cats or babies smile

Powdoc Wed 01-Jul-09 17:31:29

No, I must admit I have let DD off having tummy time for the last two days because I think the heat is enough to test her patience! grin

HarryB Wed 01-Jul-09 21:45:33

Mouette, my DS hated tummy time and would just lay there - obviously not a safe option - so instead of craddling him all the time, we held him upright so his head was on our shoulder IYSWIM and he held his head up from that position. Almost 6 months now and still won't hold his head up fully if placed on his tummy, but holds his head up perfectly on other positions and can sit unaided for short periods. Some babies just hate being on their tummy. I gave up forcing it when my aunt said "what the feck is tummy time" grin. Not that I don't believe in it mind.

nelix2000 Thu 02-Jul-09 08:51:12

Hi there, I have a dd who is 4 weeks old and has a very strong neck, she holds her own head for some time, however my DS hated tummy time like yours(as does DD actually). I found that laying ds on my chest helped him like it more as he could smell me, was not distressed and he held his head up much better and for longer in that positionsmile maube worth a go

Mouette Thu 02-Jul-09 12:51:46

Thanks HarryB and Nelix2000, sounds also like good advice. Will try both... DS basically hates being on his tummy, so wiggles and tries to turn over as soon as he is on his tummy, to get on his back again! Must be good exercise, even if he doesn't manage it. xx

AitchTwoOh Thu 02-Jul-09 12:54:50

my dd HATED tummy time but one visit to a cranio-sacral chiropractor and she was fine and loved it.

Mouette Thu 02-Jul-09 20:25:01

Thanks AitchTwoOh - good to know!

tinkisback Sun 05-Jul-09 19:16:35

my dd1 was late with most milestones

had head control had 5 months
sat up at 9 months
walked at 15 and a half months

eclipse Sun 05-Jul-09 21:42:14

My ds was similar and doc panicked me when she said his neck was floppy. Ditto everyone else's comments about tummy time. Good advice I had from mumsnet was to sit on a chair and lie him on his tummy on my legs with his head over the edge. He didn't mind that nearly as much as being face down on the floor.

I also practiced strengthening his neck by lying him on his back on the floor and lifting him towards sitting by pulling him up by his hands, much as the docs do when they test their neck strength. Within 4 weeks he passed their tests.

He's now 4 and I attribute all his odd sequence of motor development to lax ligaments (which are still obvious) but otherwise no motor or strength difficulties. He always felt a bit rag-doll like, strong muscles but limbs only weakly attached. There are so many variations of okay.

Hope it's all good at the next check.

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