If you’re the proud parent of a horizontal baby, you’re probably wondering when the sitting-up stage starts?
You might even be asking yourself whether you can help your baby sit without support.
Learning how to sit up isn’t something your little one will master overnight.
So when do infants sit up?
When do babies sit up?
It takes a lot of work to master the art of sitting up.
Over the course of the next few months, your baby will develop the strength and muscle control to sit up unaided.
Sitting up will give your little one a whole new vantage point of the world.
You’re probably keen for your baby to reach this next milestone, and you might be wondering whether there’s anything you can do to help speed up the process.
All children are different. Your little one will develop at his own pace, but there are ways you can support him in his quest to sit up.
Firstly, you need to know a little more about the process of learning to sit up.
When do babies start sitting up?
If they can’t sit unaided, many infants between 4 months and 7 months old can be propped in a sitting position. It’s important to remember, though, you shouldn’t leave your baby unattended if he’s not able to sit without support.
When do babies sit up on their own?
Most infants sit unaided around the time they’re eight months old. The average is between 7 and 9 months of age. Almost all babies have mastered this milestone by nine months.
All babies are different, so try not to compare yours with the others at playgroup. Remember, your baby will do things in his own time.
How can I help my baby learn to sit up?
Newborn babies don’t have the strength or the muscle control to be in a seated position alone.
The first step in learning to sit up is developing the strength to hold their heads up.
For the first 3-4 months, you will need to support your baby’s neck and head as he develops the muscle strength to do this for himself.
Tummy time plays an important part in learning this skill, as it helps babies to gain head control and move on to the next stage: body awareness.
There’s more to sitting up than just being put down on their bottom. Babies need to learn how to use the rest of their body to keep upright. This means figuring out how other parts of the body can help keep them on their bottom.
While his muscles are getting stronger, your baby will also be figuring out how to balance. There will be a lot of tumbling over before he manages to sit up for any length of time; this is also an important part of learning to sit up.
Wobbling over sends messages to your baby’s brain, and he learns, each time, how to make adjustments to head or body position to achieve a sitting position.
This process will take months and it isn’t something you can rush.
When do babies sit up from lying down?
He’ll start by lifting his head and looking around while he’s lying on his tummy. As he grows bigger, this will develop into a baby push-up, as he forces himself off the ground to take a look around.
Eventually, when he’s 4 months old to 6 months old, he’ll master a sitting position while leaning on his arms. As soon as his hands move, however, he’ll fall forwards. This will be a case of trial and error, so always ensure your baby is in a safe environment.
He might even get excited about his new skill and wave his hands in celebration – only to come toppling down.
Should a 3 month old be able to sit up?
A 3-month-old baby is unlikely to have the muscle strength and tone to sit unaided. Often parents will decide to prop up their 3-month-old with pillows or cushions, but this doesn’t actually help them to learn how to sit.
Likewise, using a baby seat doesn’t help a baby to learn how to sit. Yes, it might be convenient but, at this age, your baby is still too young and hasn’t developed enough to sit unaided just yet.
Should a 6 month old be able to sit up?
Kids come to developmental milestones at different times.
Parents might expect their little one to be able to sit as early as 4 months of age.
The reality is, sitting up is a milestone your baby will achieve when he’s developmentally able to. The average age for babies to master sitting is between 7 and 9 months.
By 9 months your little one should have developed the back muscles and body strength necessary to support sitting skills.
Exercises to help baby sit up
In truth, there isn’t much you can do to help your baby to reach this next milestone. He’ll be ready to sit up when he has the muscle control and balance to do it.
That doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do.
Try these steps to give your baby a gentle nudge in the right direction:
- Make tummy time fun for your infant. To develop strong neck and core muscles for sitting up, your baby needs to spend plenty of time on his belly. Baby doesn’t like tummy time? Check out the tips in this article
- Provide plenty of opportunities. To develop good muscle control, your baby needs plenty of time for free movement. This means time to roll and shuffle, reach, lift and explore. Your baby needs plenty of time to develop these skills. Give your baby plenty of tummy time with toys
- Limit use of baby seats. These force your baby to sit before he’s ready. These devices prop babies up and the American Academy of Pediatrics says they can interfere with the development of the muscle control needed to sit up unaided
- Play with your baby: Use toys and your voice to encourage your baby to follow the sound and lift his head. You can do this while your baby is lying on the floor or, if he gets upset on the floor, do it while he’s lying on your chest
- Get a baby mirror. Babies love looking at their reflections, so a baby mirror is a great way to encourage your baby to lift his head
- Create a safe environment. To make the experience as enjoyable as possible, make sure your baby is in a safe place as he learns to sit up
- Stay nearby. Your baby will become an expert at falling long before he manages to sit up. Make sure you’re close by so you can catch him when he falls and be sure to comfort him if (and when) he tumbles.
What changes happen when babies sit up?
When they sit up, babies are able to see the world around them in a new light. They also have their first taste of independence.
It can change the way you interact with your baby. The way you communicate with each other will develop now you can sit facing each other during floor play.
Eye contact is an important part of communication, and that will be easier, too, once your baby can sit up.
He will be better able to explore his environment and choose the toys he wants to play with.
Just as important, when your baby can sit up, you’ll get back the use of your arms.
Imagine all the things you’ll be able to do with them – drink tea, read books, fold washing; the possibilities are endless.
Your baby might also be happy to sit and watch you while you get things done. Talk about a game-changer!
Do some babies never sit up?
If your infant has reached the age of nine months and is showing no signs of sitting up, it might be worth having a chat with your healthcare provider.
Your pediatrician can work on ways you can give a little help.
If your baby is able to hold his head up, your doctor might suggest these methods of sitting support:
- You can get down on your hands and knees during tummy time to be at eye level with the child. Making this a habit can make this time fun for your infant
- Use pillows instead of a baby seat. This is a good way to encourage sitting as your baby will have to rely on his hands rather than being held up. You’ll also be able to observe whether he has stronger muscles on one side or another; this can affect the ability to sit.
Reasons why baby can’t sit up
Premature babies often reach milestones a little later, so it’s worth bearing this in mind.
A premature baby might have more trouble being in a seated position because the neck takes longer to give full support to the head.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s development, speak to your healthcare provider.
Your pediatrician might refer you to a specialist, such as a pediatric occupational therapist, who can help your child improve his motor skills.
When do babies crawl?
Now your infant has learned sitting, he can start work on learning to crawl.
You might notice your baby sitting and then switching from a sitting position to an all-fours position. Even so, it could still be some time until he figures out how to crawl.
Most parents notice their baby does a lot of rocking back and forwards and often shows frustration before the first forward movement happens.
With this in mind, it’s probably time to start baby-proofing your house. Get down to your baby’s level and explore the room to seek out potential dangers.
It’s wise to do this before your baby starts crawling because he just might take you by surprise and master that skill sooner than expected.