Sitting up gives your baby a different view of the world. Once they’ve mastered this milestone they can start crawling and walking! When your baby can hold their head up on their own, they are ready to start sitting up.
Your baby could start sitting up anytime between 4-7 months old, but it usually happens at around 6 months old. Once your baby is at the rolling over stage they’re ready to start sitting up.
The whole sitting up process starts with the strengthening of neck muscles so your baby can learn to support their own head weight.
During tummy time you might see your baby lifting their upper body up with their arms so their chest is lifted off the ground. Almost like your baby is doing a mini-push up!
Then they’ll start rolling over, which builds abdominal strength.
As the upper body gets stronger, your baby will begin to figure out how to keep balanced, by using one or both arms as support.
He may also start rocking backwards and forwards when he’s on his hands and knees to push himself into a seated position.
When your baby first starts sitting it'll be unstable, so make sure you’re there as support. At first, getting into and out of a sitting position isn't always a smooth process and there may be some toppling over. But babies learn quickly. With practice, they'll soon be able to sit without mummy’s support.
How can Mum Help?
Tummy time is the best way you can help your baby to learn to sit up by themselves. Babies don’t like tummy time because it means they can’t see everything around them, so they have to lift their head up. This strengthens muscles needed for sitting up. Tummy time for a couple of minutes a day will start to build up these movements.
Other things you can do include:
- get him used to sitting for a short time by propping him up safely in the corner of a chair
- gently pulling your baby up into a seated position
On the floor, so there’s no danger of falling from height, encourage him to sit for a few seconds when you put him in a sitting position. Try putting him in the tripod position first so his hands can support some of his weight.
Holding a favourite toy a few inches above his head when he’s in the crawl position may encourage him to sit up.
He'll be wobbly to start with and it's likely he'll end up slumping to one side. So make sure he's on a soft surface or propped up by pillows. Or sit on the floor with him between your legs, to cushion any falls. He'll soon start to begin to develop his balance.
Babies who are new to sitting may get tired of it quickly and they won’t hold back in letting you know this, so watch for when enough is enough.
Now he's stronger he'll be grabbing for everything. He’ll be happy to sit and play and pass things from hand to hand. His strength in his lower body will continue to increase, which means that the next stage – crawling – will come soon.