Each baby is different and two children of the same age may include one that sits without assistance while the other still needs help or support. Because of the variations between children, there is no simple answer. Even so, you can make a general guess by what age your child will likely be sitting based on the experience of millions of parents. If your baby was born premature, you should remember that it is normal for her to reach developmental milestones a few months later.
When Do Babies Sit Up?
Your baby will be ready to start sitting up by himself/herself once the neck and back muscles have gotten strong enough to keep upright. She will also need to know where her legs go to provide balance and stop her from falling over. On average, the answer is between 4 and 7 months. In order to master sitting up, your baby will have to first be able to hold up her head and roll over. Once they learn how to sit, the typical baby can sit for a few minutes without any support by around eight months. Don’t be alarmed if your baby occasionally topples over. This doesn’t show a lack of mastery of sitting; it just means she lost interest in sitting upright.
What if Your Baby Isn’t Sitting Up by Herself?
If you notice delays in your baby’s ability to sit up by herself or hold up her head, you will want to make an appointment with her doctor. You should do this if she isn’t holding up her head by around four months old, followed closely by learning to prop herself up using her arms. Similarly, if she can’t sit without support by nine months, check with her doctor. While every baby develops at a different pace, head control is necessary for sitting and sitting is necessary for crawling, standing, and walking.
How Your Baby Learns to Sit Up
Any new parent knows that you will get a different reply to when do babies sit up if you mean independently or with support. After all, if done correctly with the right back and cushioning on the sides, you can prop your baby into a sitting position when she is just weeks old!
To truly master sitting by herself, your baby first has to master head control. Starting at four months or so, your baby’s head and neck muscles begin to quickly strengthen. This is when she learns to lift and hold up her head while lying down on her stomach.
From holding up her head, your baby will move onto propping herself up with his arms, keeping his chest off of the ground. This almost resembles a mini-pushup. It is possible that by five months your baby will be able to sit for a few moments without any help. Even so, you should always stay close to your baby at this point when she is sitting. Surround her with pillows in case she topples over and be there for extra support if necessary.
Eventually, your baby will notice that she can keep her balance when sitting down if she leans forward in a tripod position with at least one arm helping support her body. By seven months or so, she should be ready to sit without any support. This leaves her hands free to grab and explore items and leads to learning to pivot and reach the objects she wants. Some babies can even go all the way from their tummy to a sitting position with their arm strength at this point. By eight months old, she’ll probably be sitting by herself without any need for support.
Encouraging Your Baby to Sit Up
When do babies sit up depends on how physically ready he/she is. You can help encourage your baby to sit up by herself just like you would with any other physical milestone. Tummy time or any playing on the floor while face down can help develop the muscles necessary for sitting up, especially if you prompt your baby to look up. This will help her develop the necessary head control while strengthening her neck muscles.
Once your baby seems confident with sitting, try putting an object you know she will be interested in right out of reach. This can keep her attention and maybe even encourage her to reach and balance using her arms.
Precautions to Take as Parents
Learning to sit up is the perfect opportunity to confirm that your baby’s hearing and vision are developing properly. Take a mirror or perhaps a bright toy with noise and use them to attract your baby’s attention, ensuring all her senses are working properly.
As always with a baby who is learning to do anything, never leave her alone while she is sitting and make sure there are padded surfaces to land on (like pillows or the couch) if she topples over. You never know when your baby will lose her balance, become disinterested in sitting, or even want to show off that she can sit when she was previously lying down.
According to most pediatricians, once your baby is sitting up with minimal support, you can start giving her solid foods.
Milestones to Follow Sitting Up
It should come as no surprise that after your baby learns to sit, she will be ready to move onto crawling or propelling herself in other ways. Now that you know when do babies sit up, think about how your child will realize she can lunge from sitting to balance well on her knees and hands. Some babies are able to start moving forward or back on their hands and knees by six or seven months and crawl with confidence by ten.