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A parent needs to know what milestones they should expect in the life of their infant and when they should expect each one. The first few months of a baby's life are full of many learning opportunities and much growth. As a little one ages, they will grow stronger and start to roll over and be able to support their body when sitting.

baby sitting up
Many babies start sitting between four and six months of age.

Many Babies Start Sitting Somewhere Around the Half-Year Mark

The strength of a baby grows as they age, and somewhere between four and six months, a little one might start to sit up. Most babies will still require some support at this age, but some may sit completely on their own, and most will be able to do that by the time they reach seven to nine months, for sure. Many babies will lean forward when they first start to sit up, resting their hands on the floor in front of them and using their arms for extra support. Most babies will need someone to help them get into the sitting position as they first start to learn to sit up on their own.

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A Baby's Neck Needs to Be Strong in Order for Them to Sit

A baby will only be ready to sit on their own when they can fully support their head. A baby needs to be able to hold their head up when in a seated position, and parents can pay attention to the strength of their little one's neck as they try to figure out when they will be ready to sit on their own.

Babies Show They are Ready to Sit by Being Active in Other Ways

Signs a parent can look for when they are wondering if their baby will be sitting independently soon include the ability to roll over and push themselves up when lying on their stomach. The more that a baby is able to control their movements – and the more that they try to do this on their own – the better they will be at staying upright, in a sitting position.

Reasons a Baby is Struggling to Sit Independently

A baby who has reached the age of nine months and is still unable to sit up on their own, or any baby who seems to be struggling especially much when trying to sit, might have issues going on that need to be addressed. While a baby could simply be struggling because they have not had proper time to practice, there could be something bigger going on. A gross motor skill delay can cause a baby to struggle when trying to sit. This can be a symptom of a genetic condition, nerve or muscle disorder, or developmental issue. It is important for a parent to talk with a doctor if they are concerned about their baby and their slow development.

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How to Help a Baby Achieve the Ability to Sit Independently

It is important for a parent to help strengthen their baby's body so that they will develop correctly and be prepared to sit. One way a parent can do this is by changing their child's position when they are on the floor, switching them from their back to their belly and vice versa. A parent who is interested in getting their child to the point of sitting independently should also invest in seats, pillows, and other items that they can use to help their little one get used to being in the sitting position. A parent should provide their baby with many opportunities to practice sitting, always staying close to catch them if they start to topple. Sitting on the floor with the baby sitting in front of them and leaning back against them is also a good option for parents as they help their baby develop.

Not All Babies Reach Milestones at the Same Age

It is important for a parent to realize that not every baby is going to develop at the same rate. The development of an infant is not a competition and parents should not compare their baby to other babies. A parent should watch for growth in their own baby and pay attention to that little one's health, working with a doctor to make sure that their little one is healthy and developing in the way that they should, and they should not expect their baby to follow an exact schedule as they develop. Not all babies are going to sit up at four months, and not all babies are going to sit at seven months; each baby will do things in the timing that is right for them.

What's Next?

Once a baby has the ability to sit, they will start to develop other skills. A baby who sits independently may start to crawl soon after learning that skill. A baby who can sit on their own may also be able to start eating solid foods and move forward in their development in that way. Many babies start to pull themselves up shortly after learning to sit, and they may start walking within weeks of learning to sit, as well.