There are certain key milestones in a baby’s development that parents look forward to and sitting is certainly one of them.
In this post we answer the question “when do babies sit up” and give you some tips on how you can encourage them.
When Do Babies Sit Up?
While development times differ from baby to baby, your little one will learn to sit independently between the ages of 4 and 7 months. By the time they hit 8 months they should be able to sit for several minutes at a time without any kind of support. However, they’ll still be prone to toppling over when they lose interest.
As with most things with a child’s development the baby will start slowly at first before the muscles develop allowing them to sit for longer and longer.
Signs That Your Baby Is Ready
The most important sign that your baby is ready is their ability to support his or her head while upright which typically happens between the 6 and 7 month mark.
Below we’re going to show you a super easy way you can check yourself if baby is ready.
How To Check If Baby Is Ready To Sit
- Lay baby on their back
- Grab both hands
- Slowly pull them up
If their head falls back then it’s still too early for them to sit unsupported, however, if they are able to hold their head then chances are that they’re able to sit unsupported, though they still might struggle until the muscles strengthen.
How You Can Help Your Baby Sit
While baby will learn to sit with time, there are a few things that you can do to help strengthen the muscles needed to sit unsupported.
1. Tummy Time
Tummy time is a handy exercise to practice with baby.
Start by placing baby on his or her stomach for a few minutes at a time to help them practice lifting their head and develop their neck and shoulder muscles.
Tummy time also has the added benefit of building motor skills and helping baby learn the fundamental skills needed for everything from rolling over and sitting to crawling and climbing.
2. Sit them up supported
Another good way to help baby develop the necessary skills is to sit them up supported by either a breastfeeding support pillow or a boppy pillow.
A brilliant alternative to a pillow is to sit baby between your legs as this will also help strengthen the bond between you and baby.
During this stage of baby’s development you should avoid sitting them up in a stroller, floor seat or car seat.
3. Give Them A Hand
If there’s one thing that little ones seem to love that can make a real difference to their ability to sit it’s this fun exercise below.
As soon as your little one can comfortably lift his or her head, lay them down on their back, grab their hands and slowly pull them towards you.
Throw in a peak-a-boo here and there and you’re almost guaranteed smiles.
Once baby is in a sitting position first let go of one hand and then the other, this will help baby to get a feel for sitting.
Make sure that you surround baby with lots of soft pillows and cushions and that you’re ready to hold them once they fall (which will happen a lot in the early days).
What If Baby Doesn’t Sit Up?
It’s easy to get panicked when baby doesn’t hit a milestone exactly when they should.
We’ve all been there.
Generally speaking, while milestones will differ from baby to baby, they should be able to hold their head by 4 months and sit unsupported.
Should they miss either of these milestones then it’s worth taking them to see your pediatrician who’ll be able to offer more advice.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it, hopefully this article has helped you understand a little bit more about when do babies sit up and has given you some great tips on how you can help baby and what to do should they not sit by 9 months.
Ellen Fetters, is a former Children's and Young People's Nursing Practice with an BSc from the University of Sunderland. After completing her SCPHN - HV she then worked as a Health Visitor within the local community.
In 2017 Ellen left nursing to launch Parenting Click, an online parenting resource aimed at creating happier families through better parenting.
She lives with her husband, beautiful baby girl, and two darling dogs. She spends her free time writing, running and learning how to become a better parent.