Tips to shape your baby's head

  • Provide your baby with regular time off their heads through tummy time and time on both their right and left sides.
  • Alternate holding your baby in both your right and left arms.
  • At bedtime and naptimes, alternate which end of the crib or bassinette your baby’s head lays on. This helps ensure they look both ways to look at you and away from wall.
  • When your baby first wakes up, talk to them and unswaddle them from both the left and right sides so they learn to orient (get used to) to both sides.
  • During diaper changes or play time, keep the top of your baby’s head facing the wall. This way, they can learn to keep their head aligned (lined up) in the middle.
  • If your baby is ready for visual stimulation (older than 36 weeks), make sure to position items to both left and right sides to encourage them to look both ways. Visual stimulation includes toys, books or other objects that help with the development of your baby’s eyesight.

My baby likes to look to one side more than the other. How can I help them look toward the other side?

  • When playing on a play mat, put all objects your baby likes to look at on the opposite side.
  • Position swings or bouncy seats in a spot in the room that encourages me to look to the opposite side, such as toward people, windows, TV or other things your baby may like to look at.
  • When they do tummy time on your chest, turn your baby’s head to rest the opposite way for a nice, long stretch.
  • Lay your baby on their back and gently stretch their neck to the opposite side so their chin is over their shoulder. Make sure both shoulders stay firmly on the ground during this stretch.

Rev. 3/2022. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treat any medical conditions.