Hi Mama! I know you’re here because you’re worried. And I know you’re worried because I’m a mom, and I know ALL the reasons why we worry all the time.
But rest assured, there’s nothing to worry about here when your baby won’t push up on their arms. Yes, a baby doing push-ups (or actually looking like they are) is just adorable. And yes, it’s a milestone on the way to sitting up, crawling, and walking.
But the baby push-up position isn’t going to happen in the first few weeks of life. That baby mini push-up will come soon enough, so here’s what to know!
When should the baby push up on arms?
Your baby won’t push up on her arms right away. First, she’s got to build strength and coordination. That begins with raising her head from a flat surface, usually around the age of 1 month.
Around 2 to 3 months of age, your baby may be on the way to the push-up position by leaning on their forearms. And by 4 to 5 months, she should be a baby doing push-ups, pushing up on her hands. Ok, so it’s more like a baby mini push-up, but still. When she holds her head and chest while supporting her elbows, she’s right where she needs to be.
However, if your baby is 4 to 5 months old and hasn’t done this, no worries! Many pediatricians have noted this milestone can stretch on to about 6 months of age. Every baby is unique and will run on her own schedule.
So is it ok if she’s not pushing up by that age? That’s a conversation to have with your pediatrician since every child is different. Generally speaking, though, if your baby is achieving all the other milestones and is behind on this one, it’s nothing to worry about.
How to help baby push up on arms
There are a few things you can do to help your baby push up on her arms. Of course, that involves tummy time. You should be working up to 30 minutes per day, not all at once.
Ways to help your baby include:
- Use a nursing pillow like Boppy, a rolled-up towel, or even a couch cushion under your child’s lower half, so the upper abs, shoulders, and arms are elevated. This will help them stabilize in this position.
- Let a toy help. Something baby-safe and colorful can steal their attention. Use it to move across her field of vision and build awareness of the sides of her body.
- Massaging the arms, shoulder, and sides of the abs of your baby can help them realize those parts are there and stimulate the muscles.
- Turn baby’s head in the crib at night. While back sleep is the safest, you should turn your baby’s head to a different side each night to ensure they develop properly. This prevents flatness and helps the right muscles.
- Don’t put your baby in a swing or seat for too long. Never for more than an hour at a time.
And of course, the best thing you can do? Tummy time! Keep it up, and with practice, your baby will be doing those baby push-ups too!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.