Once your baby can easily hold his head upright and move it around as you support his trunk, he is ready to start practicing sitting up on his own.
Experts say the best way for babies to practice sitting is to put them on a firm padded surface like a playmat or carpet. Baby seats are convenient, but they don’t allow your baby to experience how his body weight shifts when he tips over.
At this stage, even if he enjoys sitting up, your baby should still be mostly horizontal on the floor. Continue giving him plenty of time on his tummy and back to strengthen his stomach, arm, back, and neck muscles.
Sometime between 5 and 8 months, most babies start to sit up independently. Here’s how you can help your new little sitter:
- Sit on the floor with your baby between your legs, his back against your belly. In the earliest stages, he may sit with his hands on the floor in front of him to steady himself or lean back against you
- Once he’s sitting up straighter, you can surround him with soft pillows or put him in an open plastic laundry basket with pillows for support (be sure to supervise)
- Wobbling and tipping over onto a soft surface is actually good for your baby! He is tuning in to his inner sense of balance
- Your baby may not be able to tolerate sitting for long periods; his cues will let you know when he wants to stop
Once he is sitting up consistently without using his hands for support, have him practice reaching for toys. Your baby is improving his balance and coordination as he uses his hands to reach and play from a seated position.