All babies are different. Your baby will develop at his own pace, but there are ways you can support him in his quest to sit up.
Firstly, you need to know a little more about the process of learning to sit up.
When Do Babies Sit Up?Many babies sit up for the first time when they are between four and seven months old. Most babies sit unaided around the time they are eight months old. Almost all babies have mastered this skill by nine months. All babies are different, so try not to compare your baby with the other babies at the playgroup. Remember, your baby will do things in his own time.
How Do Babies Sit Up?
Newborn babies do not have the strength or muscle control to sit unaided. From birth, your baby will gradually develop the strength to hold his head up and, eventually, hold himself up. This process will take months and it isn’t something you can rush. Your baby will need to develop full head control before he can master sitting up by himself.
He will start by lifting his head and looking around while he’s lying on his tummy. As he grows bigger, this will develop into a baby push-up, as he forces himself off the ground to take a look around. Eventually, when he’s four to six months old, he’ll master a sitting position while leaning on his arms. As soon as his arms move, however, he’ll fall forwards.
He might even get excited about his new skill and wave his arms in celebration – only to come toppling down. While his muscles are getting stronger, he’ll also be figuring out how to balance. This will probably be a case of trial and error, so make sure your baby is in a cushioned and safe environment.
There will be a lot of tumbling over before your baby manages to sit up for any length of time.
How To Help Babies Sit Up?
In truth, there isn’t much you can do to help your baby to this next milestone. He will learn to sit up when he has the muscle control and balance to do it.
However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do. There are steps you can take to give your baby a gentle nudge in the right direction. Try these:
• Make tummy time fun for your baby. To develop strong neck and core muscles for sitting up, your baby needs to spend plenty of time on his belly. Place a few toys just out of reach to help him exercise those key muscles. Baby doesn’t like tummy time? Check out the tips in this article.
• Provide plenty of opportunities. To develop good muscle control, your baby needs plenty of time for free movement. This means time to roll and shuffle, reach and lift and explore. Your baby needs plenty of time to develop these skills. Give your baby plenty of free time on the floor to explore movements.
• Limit the use of devices that force your baby to sit before he’s ready. There are plenty of products on the market to sit your baby up before he’s really ready. These devices prop babies up and can interfere with the development of the muscle control they need to sit up unaided. Limit the time your baby spends in these devices and focus instead on letting your baby explore free movement.
• Play with your baby. Use toys, and your voice, to encourage your baby to follow the sound and lift his head. You can do this while your baby is lying on the floor or, if he gets upset on the floor, do it while he is lying on your chest.
• Get a baby mirror. Babies love looking at their reflections, so a baby mirror is a great way to encourage your baby to lift his head. Baby mirrors are soft and light and they aren’t made of glass. They often feature on playmats and baby gyms, although you can buy them separately. Prop one up in front of your baby during tummy time to encourage him to hold his head up.
• Create a safe environment for your baby to practise in. To make the experience as enjoyable as possible, ensure your baby is in a safe place as he learns to sit up. You can buy special padded floor covering for babies, but there’s no need to spend money if you don’t want to. You could surround him with pillows, or place him on blankets, to give him a soft surface to fall against.
• Stay nearby. Your baby will become an expert at falling long before he manages to sit up. Make sure you’re close by so you can catch him when he falls, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to catch him every time. Be sure to comfort him if (and when) he tumbles.
What Changes Happen When Babies Sit Up?
When they sit up, not only are babies able to see the world around them in a new light, but they have their first taste of independence. Just as important, when your baby can sit up, you’ll get back the use of your arms.
Imagine all the things you’ll be able to do with them – drink tea, read books, fold the washing – the possibilities are endless. It will also change the way you interact with your baby.
The way you communicate with each other will develop now you can sit facing each other during floor play. Eye contact is an important part of communication, and that will be easier, too, once your baby can sit up. He will be better able to explore his environment and choose the toys he wants to play with.
Your baby might also be happy to sit and watch you while you get things done – talk about a game-changer!
Do Some Babies Never Sit Up?
If your baby has reached nine months and is showing no signs of sitting up, it might be worth alerting your healthcare provider.
Premature babies often reach milestones a little later, so it’s worth bearing this in mind.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s development, speak to your healthcare provider.