One of the most exciting parts of parenthood is watching your baby grow and develop new skills. During the first year, your child will learn and develop critical motor skills that foster their independence and help them explore the world around them. You may be wondering when to expect these milestones to occur and asking, when do babies sit up?

Sitting up is a significant motor milestone and has many important smaller milestones along the way. When a baby can confidently sit up on their own requires the mastery of other motor skills and muscle development. So, before we can answer when do babies sit up on their own, we must examine all of the contributing factors that contribute to this major accomplishment.

Why Is Sitting Up So Important?

You may think that sitting up is just a simple face-value physical milestone. However, when babies sit up, it is a vital stepping stone for many other developments and milestones for your child.

Sitting up is one of the first ways your baby begins to become more independent. When seated, your little one can view the world from a different perspective and explore their environment in new ways. This engages their other senses and allows for them to begin practicing their fine motor skills as well as accelerating their development in other areas.

When babies sit up on their own, they demonstrate that they have the proper muscle strength and development needed to begin transitioning to eating solid foods. Your child is not ready to move on from a liquid diet until they are able to sit up and hold their head and neck up confidently and without support to reduce the risk of choking.

Mastering the milestone of sitting up also prepares your baby for their future motor milestones such as crawling, walking, and standing.

When Is My Baby Ready To Sit Up?

There are some physical signs and developments to look for that will let you know when your baby is ready to start sitting up. In order for your baby to sit up either supported or on their own, they will need to have strong head and neck control.

You will notice this if your baby is lifting their head on their own when they are on their tummy. A baby that is ready to start sitting up will make swimming motions when lying on their stomach as well. They will kick their legs and move their arms while keeping their head up and steady.

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Another sign that your baby is ready to sit up is when they begin pushing themselves up with their arms when placed on their stomach. Being able to roll over in at least one direction is another indicator that your baby is ready for sitting up.

Babies who have mastered rolling over in both directions, from tummy to back and from back to tummy, are more likely to be ready to begin sitting up independently. 

When Do Babies Sit Up On Their Own?

The answer to the question of when do babies sit up is really two-fold. There is a difference in your child’s ability and readiness to sit up with assistance and knowing when babies sit up on their own. Each of these plays a critical role in your baby’s development, and learning the difference can help you support your little one and engage them in ways to help them meet these milestones.

The process for learning to sit on their own will be different for every child, and every child will meet their milestones at different times. You can expect your little one to be sitting up in different ways around these ages:

  • Between 3 and 4 months: Your baby can sit supported by a parent or caregiver. They will require both head and neck support still but will love the opportunity to practice this position and see the world from a new perspective.
  • Between 5 and 6 months: Your baby may be able to sit upright unassisted for a short period of time. It is common for babies at this age to sit in a “tripod” formation, using one or both hands on the ground in front of them for support.
  • Around 7 months: At this age, your baby may be pushing themselves up into the sitting position from lying face down. They can also sit unsupported for a few moments and will begin reaching and grasping for objects around them.
  • Between 8 and 9 months: Your baby can push themselves into a sitting position and sit upright on their own for a few minutes at a time. They have strong neck and head control and are using their arms to explore the world around them.

While your baby moves through these ages and meets each milestone, they will still need your help and supervision. There are also plenty of activities and exercises you can engage your baby in to help develop their muscles and encourage their motor development.

Download the Kinedu App to join interactive play sessions designed to support your baby’s development and growth!

How Can I Help My Baby Sit Up?

Once your baby shows signs that they are ready to start sitting up, there are plenty of ways you can help encourage your little one to achieve this milestone.

1. Practice tummy time from day one– Tummy time is one of the most critical activities for your baby’s early development. Implementing tummy time multiple times a day will help your baby strengthen their muscles, stretch, and practice important movements.

2. Use a stroller or a safe baby chair to prop them up– Any time you can engage your child in a sitting position will help them get accustomed to viewing the world from an upright position. Taking walks with them seated in a stroller allows them to see new things and interact with nature, animals, and others walking by.

3. Use toys for motivation– Depending on where your baby is developmentally, you can use toys in different ways to encourage sitting. If your baby is still working on muscle strength, you can show them a toy during tummy time and encourage them to lift their arms to reach it. If your little one is sitting with the help of pillows or other support, hold the toy by your baby’s feet and try to encourage them to prop themselves up with their hands to reach it.

4. Pull them up– While your baby is lying on their back, gently grab their arms and begin pulling them into a seated position. Your little one will begin to engage their neck, tummy, and arm muscles to help you sit them up.

5. For more ideas and activities to help your baby reach their milestones, download the Kinedu App to gain access to more than 1,800 activities created by experts in Early Childhood Development.

When Is It Time to Consult With My Pediatrician?

We all worry about our children’s health and development. It is important to remember that when babies sit up is not a one-size-fits-all answer. If your baby is not sitting up at five months or six months, there is generally no need for you to become concerned. Most babies will meet their milestones in their own time.

There are some signs and things to look for that you should bring to the attention of your pediatrician. If your baby has not learned or been able to sit up independently by the age of 9 months, this could indicate a delay in gross motor development.

Earlier indicates of motor delays include:

  • Poor head and neck control
  • Stiff or rigid muscles
  • Limp or awkward body posture
  • Does not reach for objects
  • Only uses one hand to reach for objects

The most important thing to remember is that the more opportunities you provide your baby with to build muscle strength and practice sitting, the sooner and easier it will be for them to reach this milestone.

Now that you know the answer to the question ‘when do babies sit up?’, remember to download the Kinedu App to track your baby’s development, get access to more than 1,800 activities developed by experts in Early Childhood Development, and join interactive play sessions to help your baby develop!