Up and At 'Em

Little baby boy sitting up on a blanket in the parkYou’ve probably already been propping up your baby in a sitting position for pictures, at least. Within the next three or four months, she’ll be able to sit up all on her own, although she’ll likely take quite a few tumbles along the way.

Help your baby learn to sit

The best way to help your baby master this important milestone is to give her lots of opportunities to practice. At the same time, keep up the tummy time routine, as this helps strengthen her neck and other muscles necessary for sitting.

  • Make lots of time for “free-range” playing. Babies need to be free and unrestricted to develop the movements and balance they need for all the milestones to come. Swings, bouncy seats and other handy baby holders have their place, but they shouldn’t make up the bulk of baby’s day.
  • Sit your baby up between your legs on the floor, with her back against your tummy. The two of you can read or play games, and baby can learn balance and positioning with your support.
  • Once she starts to get the hang of it, set her in a seated position and get her balanced before you let go. Stay very close, but give her a chance to try to use her hands to keep herself up in a tripod position.
  • When she can stay upright a little longer, sit her on the floor with lots of pillows around her. Marvel at her little wobbles, because every wobble sends messages to her brain about her position, while teaching every muscle how to balance.

Safety first

While you and your baby work on this amazing new skill, be extra cautious about where you practice. Don’t prop your baby on the couch or the bed without having a hand on her. And never ever place her in a bouncy seat or other baby seat on an elevated surface, such as a table or regular chair.

Sitting concerns

Don’t be worried if your baby shows no motivation or ability to sit yet. It’s still early, and the average baby doesn’t sit without support until around eight months or so—chubbier babies often take longer, because they tend to roll right over instead of remaining upright. If you have any concerns at all about your baby’s development, talk with your pediatrician.