Unlocking the Mystery: When Do Babies Start Sitting Up?

Watching your little one hit milestones is an exciting journey! But when do babies start sitting up? What are the stages of learning, and how can you help them master this milestone? Get ready to learn the secrets to helping your little one sit up independently and explore their world like never before.

When Do Babies Start Sitting Up?

What Are The Stages Of Learning To Sit Independently?

The process of learning to sit starts as soon as your baby is born but it is a very gradual process…

Your baby needs to strengthen their neck muscles in order to build head control… And then they need to build up the strength in their upper body, arms and abdominal muscles to balance properly.

So what can we expect from our sitting baby at different months?


Learning To Sit Up At 2 Months

By 2 months old, your baby will be able to hold their head up for short periods of time and look around while lying on their tummy.

Learning To Sit Up At 4 Months

At around 4 months, your baby will be able to hold their head upright and steady for longer periods of time without support.

Your baby will also do mini push-ups during tummy time which will help to strengthen their upper body in preparation for sitting.

Learning To Sit Up At 6 Months

By 6 months, your baby will be able to sit upright using their hands for support, with a straight back and their head up.

They may be able to sit independently for short periods of time but will generally need some sort of support from you.

Learning To Sit Up Between 7 and 9 Months

Coming up to 9 months old, your baby will be able to sit without support and lean and reach for toys easily without falling over.

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

What Are The Best Exercises To Teach Baby To Sit Up?

Babies need to exercise their arms, abdominal muscles, backs, and legs since they use all of these to get into a sitting position or support themselves when sitting.

And there are lots of things that you can do to help teach your baby to sit up by exercising these crucial muscles:

9 Exercises To Teach Baby To Sit Up Independently

1. Tummy Time

There is no better way for your little one to strengthen those all-important upper body muscles than by doing some tummy time (or floor time) several times per day. 

If your little one is struggling with tummy time, check out my post Baby Hates Tummy Time to get them loving it again.

2. Supporting Them As They Explore The World

As well as tummy time, a great way to help baby develop their muscles is to hold your baby in an upright position (with your hand supporting their upper back and neck) and walk around the room so they can twist, bend and generally look around.

3. Playing On Your Lap

Placing baby facing outwards on your lap in a sitting position to show them a fun toy or baby book that they can play with and reach for is a great sitting exercise. It will help them to exercise their upper body and develop some balance in preparation to sit up independently.

4. Propping

There are some great pillows out there that you can use to prop your baby on once they have adequate strength in their upper body and neck.

This Infantino Prop Pillow is a great way to help your baby to learn to sit. Its high back offers lots of support and the bright colours make it interesting for your baby to be around.

Infantino Prop-A-Pillar Tummy Time & Seated Support Pillow

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5. Placing Toys Just Out Of Reach

When your baby is propped up, sitting on your lap or between your legs, place some soft toys or blocks to one side slightly out of reach.

This sitting exercise will allow your little one to develop their balance as they reach forward. But make sure you are ready to catch them if they have a little wobble.

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Galt Toys Soft Blocks (Set of 6)

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6. Sitting Baby Between Your Legs

Sitting your baby between your legs and helping them play in a sitting position is also a great and safe way to practise sitting.

Be sure to place your hands near baby’s hips rather than under their arms when supporting them as this will ensure they tilt from their base rather than their chest.

7. Use Sitting Toys (they’re not what you think)

Once your baby is on the cusp of sitting independently you can begin to use sitting toys. However, the sitting toys I’m on about are NOT ones that you put your baby in to sit in a position that they are not developmentally ready for.

My sitting toys are ones that your baby can play and engage with while propped in a sitting position such as this LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table.

LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table
This toy can be used flat on the floor and as they grow, it can be used on its legs so it has wonderful longevity. This is simply a wonderful toy for your little one to play with whilst in a sitting position.
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8. Practise Balancing

Once your baby is well on their way to sitting, place them on a soft play mat in a seated position. Let them wobble and put their hands out to support them.

After all… a little wobbling helps them to learn how to balance while sitting. Just be on hand to ensure they don’t take a big tumble as this may scare them from trying to sit unaided for longer.

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9. Pulling Baby To Sit

Once your baby has developed enough strength in their neck muscles and upper body (usually around 6 months of age) you can start pulling your baby to sit by holding their hands and pulling them gently into a sitting position from lying down.

You can then lower them down again and repeat this a couple of times. This is a great way to strengthen your baby’s core muscles.

Here’s a wonderful video from Dr. Jena Bradley showing you How To Teach Baby To Sit Up:

What Milestones Come After Sitting Up?

Once your baby has learnt to sit independently it will not be long before they reach the developmental milestones of:

  1. Learning to get in and out of the sitting position,
  2. Learning to crawl,
  3. Pulling to stand,
  4. And eventually, walking by their first birthday.

When Do Babies Sit Up From Lying Down?

Some babies will master being able to sit up from lying down as young as 7 months of age… But the majority will not be able to until they are around 11 months of age.

I have written a whole post about when do babies sit up from lying down, so be sure to click here to read the full article… But in case, you just want a quick rundown of how to help your baby reach this milestone, here’s my advice:

How To Teach A Baby To Lay Down From Sitting

I have also written a dedicated post all about teaching your baby to lay down from sitting, so click here to check it out. But for a quick 4 step rundown…

Frequently Asked Questions About When Do Babies Start Sitting Up

Looking for more information about when do babies start sitting up? Here are the answers to the most common questions.

Why Can’t My Baby Sit Up By Themselves By 12 Months?

All babies develop at their own rate, but if your baby is not sitting by 12 months of age and you have been offering all the support and plenty of opportunities for your baby to learn to sit…

You should seek medical advice to rule out any underlying developmental issues.

In addition to discussing any concerns about delays in development with your child’s healthcare provider, you can also download a free app by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) called the Milestone Tracker to help keep track of your little one’s milestones.

When Can Babies Sit Up On Their Own?

Babies do not just suddenly decide to sit up on their own… They spend a lot of time in the early months building up the necessary muscle strength, motor skills and balance to achieve the act of sitting up alone.

Lindsey Garbi, MD, a double board-certified pediatrician, neonatologist, and an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics says “If placed in the seated position too early, they are likely to fall over because they lack the muscle strength to hold themselves up.” and since each gross motor milestone builds upon the one before it, providing ongoing opportunities for your baby to develop core strength is the best way to help them on their way to sitting.

But by 9 months, most babies will be sitting independently. 

What Are The Reasons Why My Baby Can’t Sit Up?

Babies may not learn to sit as expected if they have not been given the opportunities to strengthen the right muscles. Also, they may not be sitting because there is an underlying developmental delay.

If you are at all concerned about your baby’s development, muscle control or feel they are not progressing as expected then you should seek medical advice or reach out to a physical therapist.

Do Baby Bouncers Help Baby Learn To Sit?

Baby bouncers (also known as baby seats and baby swings) will not help your baby to learn to sit.  The best way for a baby to learn to sit is by practising the exercises I have mentioned above without artificial support from a bouncer.

After Learning To Sit Up, When Will Baby Start Crawling?

Crawling will normally follow very quickly once your baby has learnt to sit up on their own. I’ve written a dedicated post all about When Do Babies Start Crawling, so be sure to give it a read to know what to expect and learn how to prepare your house.

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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