Supporting Your Infant in Learning to Sit-Up

Are you anxiously anticipating the moment your baby will sit up and become more independent? If so, you are in the right place! This article will cover the exciting milestone of sitting and when and how to support your child during this momentous phase.

Keep reading to learn more about the timeline of when you can expect your baby to sit up, ways to support this milestone, and when to seek professional help.

When can I expect my baby to sit up? 

The first sign that your baby is ready to sit up is when they can support their head with their neck strength. This typically happens between three and four months. You can help build this skill by engaging in tummy time with your baby several times throughout the day.

By six months old, many babies can sit up independently, although you should probably keep them on soft surfaces and place pillows around them in case they lose their balance. Never leave your baby unattended as they practice sitting up until you are sure they can do so without falling. 

How can I support my baby learning to sit up?

As parents, it is crucial to do all that we can to help our little ones developmentally. So here are a few ways to support your little one as they reach this new milestone! 

Patience is Key

All babies develop at their own rate, and your baby will learn to sit when the time is right for them, no earlier, no later. Try not to stress about when it will happen, and instead, encourage and validate your little one for where they are in their development. 

Never force your baby to sit.

The muscles of an infant are incredibly delicate, and you should not push them to do something that they are not ready for. By forcing a baby to sit too early before and they can support their head fully, it can damage their neck and back muscles, leading to future problems. 

Continue to practice tummy time.

Tummy time is when you lay your infant on the ground and encourage them to lift their head and other organic, natural movements. This practice strengthens their neck, back, and core muscles which will aid them in sitting up.

Many babies do not enjoy tummy time at first, so to make the process more engaging, lay on the floor facing them and talk or sing to them. You can also place a colorful toy just out of reach or hold one above them.

The more strength your baby gains early on, the easier the transition to sitting will probably be! 

Engage with your little one 

Associate sitting up with fun! Use fun toys, sit them up in front of a mirror, or across from you as you sing, play with toys or simply talk to them. These activities will subconsciously encourage your little one to work towards sitting alone!

Show them how it’s done.

If your baby has never been propped in a sitting position before, it will take them a lot longer to figure it out. Once your baby can support their neck, hold them on your lap or set them on a table in front of you, making sure to keep a guiding hand on either side. 

You can also set your baby on their bum and surround them with pillows or other soft materials to prevent injury in case of a fall and maintain proximity by sitting close.

When should I worry? 

It is important to remember; all children are different. All milestones have a range of weeks, months, and even years in some instances of what is considered developmentally typical. 

As parents, we can become professionals when it comes to worrying! However, in most instances, a child lagging developmentally is no cause for concern, and remember that worrying never solves anything! 

The first thing you should do if you are concerned or have questions is to speak with a professional. If your child is in childcare, speak with their childcare provider as they are the ultimate source of child development. You can also speak with your pediatrician.   

When to speak to a professional

  1. If your child is one-year-old and cannot sit independently 
  2. If your child has developmental regression. For example, they learn to sit consistently for a few weeks but then resort to an inability to sit.
  3. When your gut tells you so, nobody knows your child better than you do! There may be no cause for worry, but why not ease your fears by asking those burning questions. 

As a parent, the best thing you can do is support and encourage your child, whether they are considered advanced, typical, or delayed. Always encourage your child where they are developmentally with supportive praise and comments and speak in warm, gentle tones. With a little bit of positivity and patience, your little one will be sitting up in no time!

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