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4 Tips To Help Your Baby Sit Up

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, offers four tips for helping your baby sit up.

“Watching your baby sit up for the first time marks a new phase of independence and exploration,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“Most babies achieve this skill between four and seven months of age, with most able to sit up independently by the sixth-month mark, but it’s important to remember that each baby is unique, and some may take a little longer.”

Milestones of Sitting Up

Before sitting up independently, babies progress through key stages. They hold their heads up from the age of two months, achieving steady head control by four months. Around four to six months, they roll over and start pushing up during tummy time, strengthening core muscles. The tripod sit follows, with babies using their hands for balance. Soon after, they practice sitting with support, like in a high chair. By the time babies are nine months old, most have started sitting independently or are making significant efforts to do so.

Common Causes that Delay Your Baby from Sitting

Some factors that cause a delay in sitting include:


  • Premature birth: Babies born early may reach milestones later than full-term babies.
  • Muscle Tone Variations: Some babies may have variations in muscle tone, such as hypotonia (low muscle tone) or hypertonia (high muscle tone), which can affect their ability to achieve specific physical milestones, including sitting up.
  • Neurological Development: The pace at which a baby’s neurological system matures can also impact their motor skills development. Delays in neurological development may affect the timing of sitting up and other milestones.
  • Practice opportunities: Babies need plenty of opportunities to strengthen their core muscles.
  • Individual differences: Just like adults, babies have unique development timelines, so try not to compare your baby to other infants.

Tips to Help Your Baby Sit Up


Encourage Tummy Time

Tummy time is a crucial activity for babies, involving placing them on their stomachs while awake and supervised. This practice is essential for developing the muscles in their neck, shoulders, back, and core. Tummy time helps babies build the strength and coordination needed for milestones such as lifting their heads, rolling over, crawling, and eventually sitting up.

It also provides a change of perspective for the baby, promoting sensory development and helping to prevent flat spots on the back of the head, known as positional plagiocephaly. Paediatricians recommend incorporating tummy time into a baby’s daily routine, gradually increasing the duration as the baby grows and becomes more comfortable with the activity.


Use Supportive Props


Sit your baby in your lap or use a supportive cushion or pillow to prop them up in a sitting position. When babies are first learning to sit, the duration should be kept short, just a few minutes at a time, to avoid placing too much strain on their developing muscles and spine. As they gain strength and stability, these sessions can be gradually extended.

Ensure any props are stable and soft to prevent injuries if your baby topples over. Remember, while car seats are essential for protecting infants during travel, their prolonged use to support sitting can put unnecessary pressure on a baby’s developing spine and neck, potentially leading to poor posture and spinal issues. Babies need the freedom to move and stretch to build their muscles properly and support their physical growth.


Engage with Toys

 Place toys out of reach when your baby is propped up or during tummy time. This encourages them to lean forward and strengthens their back and neck muscles, which are essential for sitting up.


Hands-On Assistance

Providing hands-on assistance to help your baby sit on the floor involves a gentle, supportive approach. Sit on the floor with your baby in front of you and place them seated between your legs. Initially, you might need full support by wrapping your hands around your baby’s torso or holding onto their hips.

As your baby gets more comfortable, encourage them to engage their core muscles. Do this by slightly reducing your support, placing your hands lightly on their sides instead of holding them firmly. Pay close attention to your baby’s reactions and comfort level. If they seem happy and engaged, you can continue with the activity. If they appear tired or frustrated, it’s time to take a break.

Activities to Strengthen Core Muscles

In addition to these tips, certain activities can further help in strengthening your baby’s core muscles:


  • Bouncing Games: Gently bounce your baby on your knees while supporting them, which can be fun and strengthen their core.
  • Pull to Sit: With your baby lying on their back, offer your fingers for them to grasp and gently pull them to a sitting position. This helps to build neck and upper body strength.


When to Seek Help

 If you’re concerned about your baby’s development, don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional. Early intervention can be vital in addressing any developmental delays. Trust your instincts as a parent and remember that support is available.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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