As excited as you might be about how fast your baby is growing, we know you also look back in your phone at when they were a little bit smaller and think “how are they growing so fast?”
We ask this question in just about every post, we know, and it’s cliché, we know! Still though
“how are they growing so fast?!”
If you’re here, you might be pretty close to seeing your baby sit up, start crawling and run off (ok, maybe not that close).
Guide to this post
- What counts as “sitting up” for babies?
- Benefits of sitting up
- What comes first: sitting or crawling?
- When do babies sit and when to worry
- Ways to help your baby sit up?
- Milestones to look forward to next
Want to see how your baby does on the “ready to sit” score? Take our quiz!
What counts as “sitting up” for babies?
When we say “sitting up,” we’re generally talking about babies sitting up on their own, unsupported, and getting to that position on their own. That milestone takes a lot of practice, strength, and baby training.
Of course, tummy time and other positions help babies get there but it’s a very natural urge to want to sit up so your baby doesn’t need to be trained every day to reach the big moment. In fact, some babies can take quite a long time to achieve it entirely so no need to start building a tiny at home baby-gym, though that would make for an adorable photoshoot.
Benefits of sitting up
Sitting up isn’t another milestone like smiling or staring directly into other people’s eyes. Sure, it does mean that your baby is going through their development steps as expected (and that’s a good thing!) but also it means a lot of freedom for your baby.
During mealtime, your baby will be able to sit comfortably, practice their hand-eye coordination bringing food to their mouth (or as close as they can).
Additionally, you can put them in their playpen to explore and they’ll have hands-free access to all their toys. By this we mean that they’ll be able to grab at things without using one or both hands to hold themselves up.
Finally, sitting and using all those upper body muscles will also make your baby a master crawler!
What comes first, sitting or crawling?
All babies are different. We know you’re tired of reading that but it’s not a cop-out, we promise! It’s a way to acknowledge that “should” is a hard word to hear when your baby is doing something very different. Maybe your child is developing way faster than expected, maybe much slower.
In general, babies sit before they crawl. The same muscles that hold them up when they’re sitting are the ones they use when pulling and pushing their own bodies around. In other cases, babies will pull and scoot around while on their tummy before they can get themselves into a seated position.
When do babies sit and when to worry
The answers on this vary widely when you look at What to Expect, Healthline, and other experts. Some will say 3 months, others as late as 7-9. The truth seems to be that most babies are able to hold a seated position between 3-5 month when propped up. Later, around 6 months they can sit with some help (maybe sitting between your legs or on a pillow). At this point they’re still working on strengthening those muscles. Finally, at 9 months they should be able to sit independently.
If by 9 months, your baby is still not sitting up, even when supported, it could be time to consult with your pediatrician.
Ways to help your baby sit up
Once you see that your little one has good head control, you can prop them up with pillows. You can also do it in their stroller or infant seat so they can practice for short periods of time. Don’t leave them unattended when they’re propped up and cover the outlets in the area if they’re in a playpen. If in the car seat, remove any choking hazards nearby.
Milestones to look forward to next
Coming soon: the pincer grasp and more separation anxiety! Win some you lose some, right?
For other baby milestones to look forward to in the first year, check out our post!