Most babies start sitting up by themselves between four and seven months old.
Your child must first be able to support the weight of her head, before she can master sitting. You can help your baby prepare for sitting by encouraging her to strengthen her muscles and hold up her head during tummy time.
Place toys in front of her to encourage her to move toward them or track their movements across the room. Giving your baby lots of interesting things to look at that are just above her head while she is laying on her tummy will give her the motivation to look up, support her head, and eventually be ready to sit.
Around this time, your baby should also be working on being able to roll from back to tummy. This skill will help her build the coordination and muscle control that will eventually lead to being able to hold herself up in a sitting position.
Practice makes perfect
Like any skill, practice makes perfect. Let your baby sit up in your lap while you sing, read, or talk to her. Car seats, strollers, and carriers will also put your baby in a sitting position, but be careful not to use them too much as they don’t let your baby build up the muscles she’ll need to get into a sitting position on her own.
Encourage your baby to move her body on her own as much as she can, and she will gain confidence in her own abilities. Remember that every infant develops at her own pace. If your baby isn’t ready to sit on her own yet, don’t force it. Give her time to roll, reach, and “push up” while laying on her stomach on the floor. If your baby can sit comfortably while in your lap, she’ll eventually be able to do so independently as well. Just have patience.
Remember, it's a process
As babies progress from holding their head up to sitting on their own, they go through several stages that you’ll be able to observe.
Most babies first sit on their own with your help: sit them down on the floor in front of you, then remove your hands gently, and be ready to catch your baby before she falls. If your child is ready to sit, she’ll first support herself with a “tripod position,” putting her arms in front of her to catch some of her weight so that she doesn’t fall forward.
Sitting up takes a lot of coordination, muscle control, and balance. Your baby will get tired quickly the first few times she tries it. She may topple over after just a few short seconds, or get fussy and frustrated after a minute or two. Stay close while your baby is first learning to sit, that way you can catch her and hold her when she needs a little more support.
Once she’s gotten confident in her ability to keep herself upright, your baby will be able to sit fully on her bottom and hold her back straight and her head up.
A whole new world
The most exciting thing about this development is that her hands will now be free to grab for toys or wave her arms, offering a whole new way to interact with the world.
At this point, you can start giving your child the option to use her hands to play with paint, shakers or other simple musical instruments, or even baby friendly spoons to help her feed herself. She will be able to sit at the table in a high chair while the rest of the family is eating.
By nine months old, your baby should be able to move herself into a sitting position from laying down. She may even be able to pull up to a stand while holding onto furniture, and she’ll likely begin crawling.
In the last few months of her first year, your baby is learning many more ways to control and move her body, and soon she’ll be moving all around the room.
Have a look around and make sure that low tables and other pieces of furniture are stable and don’t have anything heavy or sharp on them that your baby would be able to pull down. And get ready: your baby is becoming an active, cruising toddler!.