When will my baby sit up?
Babies will sit up on their own for the first time between the ages of 4 months and 9 months. The sitting process will come in stages and even though you can help your baby sit up when it’s their time, it’s best not to rush the process. That’s a large window of time and one that makes some parents very inpatient for the event to happen. While it’s understandable that you’re anxious (or maybe your baby is anxious) to see this milestone occur, understand this: Like all other milestones, rushing the process can make it worse and just isn’t a good idea according to Dr. Kurt Heyrman (a pediatrician). Nature is going to eventually win out here, so unless your baby is very delayed in this area, it’s best to be patient.
No one remembers what it was like to be a baby, so every adult on earth forgets how complicated and miraculous each stage of babyhood really is. Sitting is one of those things we all just kind of take for granted. We sit in cars, on bus seats, and in doctor’s office chairs. We just sit. It’s a human thing. For babies, though, sitting is a big deal, a milestone. When your baby sits up on their own for the first time, bells and whistles and celebration will be the rule. It should be. The amount of coordination, muscle strength, and brain development it takes for a baby to sit up on their own is nothing should of a miracle.
What Your Baby Will Need to Sit Up
Your baby will need a combination of three important thing in order to be able to sit up safely:
- The ability to raise their neck and hold it up on their own
- Good balance skills
- Sufficient development of trunk muscles
- Can your baby roll over?
Without these three things, no baby should be rushed into sitting up. When you start to notice the signs that your baby might be able to sit up, it’s then that you can help baby sit up.
Signs It’s Time To Sit Up
It’s at 4 months that most babies will have the potential to sit up. At this age, a 4 month-old-baby will experience many milestones. Some even do sit up at this age. If your baby is capable of sitting up, they’re going to be able to hold their head steady on their own. It won’t “fall back” like it did when the baby was a newborn. Holding the head steady and being able to hold the neck upright is the beginning of the sitting process, and some babies will not be able to do this at 4 months. It may be as late as 9 months before your baby is capable of really having the neck strength to hold the head in an upright position.
The Seated Position
By at least 6 months, the baby will also have the capacity to stay seated. You’ll have to put baby in the seated position, but they will probably be able to hold themselves in a seated position for even a few seconds, and this is another big deal. It means that the trunk muscles required to sit upright on their own are development, and it’s getting closer to time (other babies will develop this ability earlier of course). Consider learning how to give your baby a massage during this time to support these growing muscles.
If you see your baby is able to maintain a seated position, it might be a good time to do the things it will take to help your baby sit up. When they have the strength to sit in a seated position and can hold their head upright, then you can help baby sit up.
How To Help Baby Sit Up
During the time your baby is growing, they will play both on their belly and on their back. Belly time should be supervised at all times, especially if your baby is sleeping on their stomach. Sometimes switching positions often can help a baby near sitting up age develop their muscles faster. Since the baby has to be strong enough to hold their head up, they can get great practice by being placed on their back. This encourages them to gain muscle strength as they experiment lifting their head. Switch from belly to back playtime to help promote good muscle growth in those all-important neck muscles.
Help Back Muscles Grow
The next thing you can to to help your baby sit up is to put them in a seat that helps promote back muscles. Or you can put them in a seated position and encourage them to sit up for as long as they can. Every time you do this, you’re increasing their back muscle strength and giving them the tools they need. Just by supervising sitting up and using something like a Bumbo seat to promote muscle growth, you are going to help your baby sit up exactly when they are ready and now slow the process down at all. Remember, they can only sit up when they’ve developed those important muscles, so these simple things you do in those first couple of months are working toward the larger goal to help your baby sit up.
Let Your Baby Practice Sitting Up On Your Lap
Putting your baby on your lap and letting them practice sitting up is going to help your baby sit up faster, too, because that is essentially the kind of exercise they’re doing. To sit up, they need lots of back muscles, and sitting helps them gain this. Sitting them on a couch (use caution if sleeping on a couch with your baby) will also help them because this helps them balance. Balance is not just muscle strength. It’s brain power, too. So by letting your child practice balancing on a couch with a back, you’re helping them gain the brain power and muscle power they need to sit up.
The Big Event
Once again, babies sit up between the ages of 4 and 9 months. Some babies are going to develop the skills they need faster than others, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Don’t feel like if your baby sits up at month 9 or even a little later that you’re failing as a parent.
It’s just the way your baby’s made up means it’s taking them a little bit longer. If you’re worried, try the above techniques and realize that babies don’t just sit up all at once because they’re able to. They have to do physical activities that promote the muscle growth they need for this event to happen. When you practice balancing with your baby, you are going to help your baby sit up. When you switch them from belly to tummy time, you’re going to help your baby sit up.
Sitting up is a gradual process that takes months of work for your baby and a lot of brain power to accomplish. Since every child develops at a different pace, no child is just going to magically sit up because they hit a certain number of months old. Don’t feel pressed to rush your baby into this milestone or feel like you’ve failed as a parent if they sit up a bit late. Your job is just to help your baby sit up. That means practicing balancing activities with them and encouraging them as they do things that promote the act of sitting up (like learning to hold the head up). As a parent, the big day will come when your little one finally sits up, stares at you, and makes your whole day brighter.