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How To Teach A Baby To Sit Up

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Babies reach an important developmental milestone when they can sit up on their own. While most babies learn how to sit up by nine months of age, it is possible to take longer to master the skills.

If babies do not learn how to get up from sitting on their own, they run the risk of remaining at risk for serious health conditions like adhesive arachnoiditis (irritation and scarring in the membrane around the spine) or spondylolisthesis (a degenerative disease where one vertebra slips forward over another). 

How to teach a baby to sit up

In this article, you can learn what strategies parents and caregivers can use to teach their baby to sit up. We also discuss the developmental timeline and when it is best to consult a doctor. Adults can help a baby sit up by placing their hands under the baby’s arms and holding them under their bottom. To support their weight, one hand should be placed on each side of the hips with your finger touching the palm. It is important for you to hold your child as high as possible to avoid any kind of discomfort or pain in the neck and lower back.

A Baby’s First Milestone: Sitting Up 

A baby’s first milestone is sitting up. The baby must first develop upper body strength and the ability to hold its head up on its own. These milestones will be reached before a baby can learn to stand up on its own.

2 Months Old: 

Baby can look around and hold their head up for a short time.

4 Months Old: 

They can keep their heads steady and without any support.

6 Months Old: 

They are able to sit up with some assistance.

A baby might be able to sit up (sometimes assisted, sometimes not) by 4-6 months according to various studies and research. Around 6 months of age, your baby may not require any assistance at all! However, a baby should be able to sit comfortably by 9 months.

Keep in mind that each baby is different. This skill may be developed by some babies earlier than others.

How Can You Help As A Parent?

Here are some tips to encourage your baby to learn how to sit upright: 

Encourage tummy time

Tummy time is time spent on the baby’s belly during supervised playtime. This encourages the baby to lift their head to see around. They also develop neck strength and upper body strength, which are important for sitting without support.

Tummy time can be started in the first weeks of a baby’s life and last for just a few minutes each morning. It is possible for a baby to not enjoy it at first. They will eventually have more fun and the play sessions may last longer.

Do not put anything under them while they are sitting all by themselves since this acts as a cushion once they fall forward onto it face-first. Keep in mind that when it comes to a baby’s development, tummy time is important, but do not force your baby to spend more than an hour or so each day playing on their stomach.

How to help a baby get up

Offer toys that encourage sitting up

You can place colorful objects of different shapes and sizes in the lap of your baby while they are laying on their backs.

A few toys without batteries will help them lift their heads enough to see around for a short period of time before dropping back again. You can also let your baby try to sit up with some pillows placed behind the back for support.

Practice assisted sitting

At around 4 months old, when a baby is able to hold their head straight, caregivers or parents might consider putting the baby on their lap.

Next, gently rock the baby back and forth, encouraging them to align their upper bodies with their lower. You may notice that the baby still has occasional head wobbles. Be sure to hold your baby close so you can provide any support needed.

Do not force them to try sitting

The baby must first develop upper body strength and the ability to hold its head up on its own. Do not force your baby to try because if your baby does not seem to be ready to sit up on their own, they will be able to soon. Your baby may need more time to gain strength before they are able to sit properly without assistance. If you notice that your baby is straining or seems uncomfortable, avoid putting them in this position at all costs because this may damage their physical development and cause injury down the road. 

Give them some space

If you give your baby some space to play, they can learn how to sit up on their own. Do not hold the baby up as he/she moves around and gets used to sitting on their own. Most of the time, a parent’s assistance is unnecessary for this process anyway. A few pillows behind the back will provide support and help them maintain balance and reach certain milestones such as first attempts at crawling, which follows shortly after learning to sit up.

How can parents and caregivers ease the transition from laying down to sitting up?

This is an important milestone in a child’s development; it is essential for them to be able to sit easily without any assistance or fussing. 

As they learn to stand up, support them by sitting on the ground with their legs together.

This support assists the baby in developing the motor control and coordination necessary to sit straight and remain upright. Your infant might be able to sit up before they crawl for the first time; it all depends on how early on they were able to develop this skill on their own and how quickly they catch on when given some help and practice.

How do I know if my child can go from laying down to sitting up?

This is a question parents of infants ask more than once. Most of the time, babies will surprise you with their first attempts at sitting up without any outside assistance. If your baby is 7-9 months, you can place them on the ground and hold their back straight while you read to them. This improves their muscle control, coordination, and strength. 

How long until the baby can sit up?

You might notice that some babies can sit up on their own as early as 3 months. How you handle the situation is a matter of preference and a decision you make for your child based on their development skills and needs. As they gain strength, encourage them to try sitting without any assistance from anyone else. And again, use pillows to practice.

For support, place them around the baby after they are seated. If a baby falls face-first onto a pillow, it is important that you stay close to them.

Steps to sit up

It takes time to learn how to sit straight up. A baby begins to roll around 6 months and may be able to support themselves on their legs when being held.

A baby should be able to stand and hold onto furniture or a handle at 9 months. At this age, they should be able to crawl and lift themselves up on furniture. A baby should begin to take steps at about a year old. 

Is there concern that late development is a cause for concern?

Every baby develops at a different rate, so the above figures are only estimates.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that a baby who cannot sit upright without assistance by six months of age is not necessarily cause for concern. However, it is a good idea to speak with a child’s healthcare provider. 

If the baby becomes stiff or floppy when being placed in a seated position, the AAP recommends that you consult your doctor. To determine if there are any developmental delays, the doctor will perform a physical exam.

Sources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/when-do-babies-start-holding-up-their-head#stages-and-timeline

https://www.elitebaby.us/blogs/news/tummy-time-positions

https://www.mottchildren.org/health-library/ue5465