When Do Babies Start Sitting Up?
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The ability to sit is one that most of us take for granted (after all, we do a whole lot of it as grown-ups!). But, for your baby, sitting up is a complete game-changer! Sitting up offers your baby a whole new perspective of the world—so don’t be surprised if this milestone coincides with a burst of curiosity from your baby. For many families, this is a calm and happy stage. After all, your baby can engage with the world around them—without the mobility skills that will keep you constantly on your toes.
When do babies sit up for the first time?
Learning to sit may happen sooner than you expect—especially when you consider that your sweetie wasn’t able to hold up their head just a few short months ago. Most babies can sit with support by 6 months and sit unassisted by 9 months.
How do babies learn to sit up?
Developing the ability to sit up doesn’t happen all at once. Rather, there are stages that lead up to independent sitting:
- The Tripod Sitting Position: Between 4 and 6 months, many babies are able to hold themselves upright with support from their hands when you set them down in a seated position. By 6 months, most babies can sit with the support of their hands. Known as the tripod position because of their reliance on multiple points of support, this is a good way for your baby to do a little core strength training while boosting their motivation for sitting. Especially in the beginning, your baby will still be unsteady. To prevent bumps, practice sitting on the carpet, grass, or with blankets or cushions around your baby.
- Unassisted Sitting Position: Between 6 and 8 months, your baby may be able to go “hands-free” while sitting on their own, and by 9 months most babies can sit without support. You will still need to help your baby get into the seated position, but notice that their posture is straighter and they can hold toys or objects in their hands.
- Self-Led Sitting Position: By 8 or 9 months, your baby should be able to navigate from their tummy or back up into a stable seated position all on their own. Evidence of how much their coordination and strength has developed, it won’t be long now before they are ready to crawl, too!
How can I help my baby learn to sit?
There is a common order for motor skill developments for good reason: Each skill builds on the previous ones. For example, babies start by getting the strength to hold up their heads. Then they can work on holding up the upper part of their torsos during tummy time. By developing those trunk muscles, they will eventually be able to start sitting up.
What does that mean for you? Well, if you want to help your baby learn to sit, start early with frequent tummy time sessions. If your little one isn’t a fan of solo tummy time on the ground, you can help them develop these muscles by having them rest on their belly across your lap. (Not surprisingly, many infants find this much cozier!)
As your baby’s head and neck control develops, have them sit upright on your lap, between your legs, or with a baby seat while you are watching. To encourage them to graduate from the tripod position, offer a toy or object to occupy their tiny hands. A little healthy distraction isn’t a bad thing!
Toys to Encourage Sitting Up
Here are a few toys to help encourage your bub to sit (and eventually crawl!):
- Unbreakable mirror
- Activity cube
- Soft balls
- Musical toys and toys that make a soft sound (think: maracas, tambourines, bells)
- See-through rattles
- Textured toys
- Colorful or high-contrast board books
When should I be concerned if my baby isn’t sitting?
If your baby doesn’t have the neck control to sit with assistance by 6 months or if your baby is not sitting unassisted by 9 months, bring it up with your pediatrician. Before you do, notice how much control they have of their head and neck and whether they actively respond to sensory stimulation around them.
Also note that while baby seats can be helpful to an extent, they should not be used as your nugget’s only form of sitting practice. You are better off getting down on the floor with your baby for playtime together as often as you can.
When it comes to milestones for your baby, remember there is a range of what’s considered typical for development! If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to bring them up at your child’s next well visit!
More on Baby Development:
- When Do Babies Talk?
- When Do Babies Crawl?
- When Can Babies Eat Solid Foods?
- How Babies Learn to Play
- When Do Babies Roll Over?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Important Milestones: Your Baby by Six Months
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Important Milestones: Your Baby by Nine Months
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Motor Delay Tool
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Movement Milestones Babies 4 to 7 Months
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Assessing Developmental Delays
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.