Having a baby is one of life’s greatest adventures. Having a baby can also be one of life’s most mysterious times. As a first time parent or even as a seasoned vet you may be constantly wondering if your baby is hitting milestones as they should. Sitting up is no different. This is one of the most exciting times for your baby as well. This takes your precious newborn from lying down to sitting up and viewing the world around them. Babies who are sitting up will be eating more solid food, reaching for toys and eventually starting to crawl. Here is a quick round up of everything you need to know about this momentous time in your child’s life.

When will my baby sit up?

A baby that is hitting milestones near the average time will begin to sit up unassisted between four and seven months for at least several minutes. Sometimes a few minutes may be all you get before a baby starts to become interested in an object far away. They may also go from sitting to toppling over and moving from place to place. Between four and seven months your baby may sit up with your help for a few minutes at a time. By the time your little one hits their eight-month birthday they should be sitting up unsupported. If you are concerned that your baby isn’t sitting up, remember that every baby is different. While some babies may start sitting before they are six months old, other babies will be closer to the eight-month mark. If you are ever worried about your child’s development, speak to your pediatrician.

Other milestones your baby may hit first

Before your baby starts to sit up, there are a few milestones your baby will likely hit first. The most important one is head control. By four months old your baby should be able to hold their head up. They will also be able to move their head in different directions with enough control to keep their head centered. Before this stage, you may notice a younger infant only keeps their head tilted on one side or the other. Keeping it centered is actually a huge milestone that will help your baby sit up in the near future.

Another big physical accomplishment your baby may have tackled before sitting up is grabbing objects. When a baby can hold toys, pacifiers, or other objects, they are more likely to start supporting themselves and moving their bodies toward the desired object. An older baby who can sit up will also now be able to grab toys while sitting.

By five months your baby will also be able to start sitting up with assistance. You can likely set them up against a soft surface or have them sitting on your lap with their backs resting on you. You will always need to stay close as these young sitters will often topple over or slide if left too long. This is also totally normal and it will help your baby practice their balance.

How to encourage your baby to sit up

Sitting up will come naturally to most healthy babies who are hitting their developmental milestones on time. Sometimes, however, your baby may need some encouragement and practice to master the skills they need to sit up. Tummy time is one of the ways you’ll help your baby sit up. Tummy time is when a baby is laying on their stomach on the floor and they use their head, neck and core muscles to lift their head up and push on to their elbows. This time on the floor will all help strengthen their little bodies to eventually sit on their own. Tummy time also means spending more awake time outside of swings and reclined baby loungers. These devices are handy but if a baby is left in them for too long, they won’t be forced to master the all-important head control needed to sit up.

Another way to encourage your baby to sit up is by helping them get into position and then while staying close you can give them a few toys to play with. This will keep them playing while sitting up and they may be too distracted for a minute to realize they are sitting. You can also put objects a little ways from them so they are encouraged to reach and grab for something. Your baby will definitely wobble and topple over but if they are supervised and on a safe surface, this is all part of the fun of learning to sit up.

What comes next

After your baby has mastered sitting up, the milestones just keep coming. As a self-sufficient sitter, your baby will also start to reach for more objects. They will eventually fall from sitting to being on their hands and knees. This will lead to crawling and moving from place to place to a desired object or person. Your baby will be rolling both ways from their front to their back and their back to their front. While getting ready to crawl your baby may rock back and forth as though they are gaining momentum. These are all signs that they will be cruising your house in no time. As your baby begins to sit up and become more mobile, you’ll want to start childproofing if you haven’t already. Once your baby is sitting up there’s no stopping them. Have fun and enjoy this special time.