Stages of Sitting (Pt 2)
Babies need to learn balance before being able to sit alone. Although having good trunk muscles helps this, it’s not all they need. Balance is neuromuscular, so before your baby will be able to sit, she’ll need some specific brainpower. To help her gain this, you can place her in corners of chairs or couches so she can begin to feel what it’s like to sit up. If you want to work together, sit on the floor with your legs crossed and let her sit between your calf and hamstring where she’ll be safely supported.
The Tripod Sit
When a baby is learning to sit up, it’s common to put out one or both arms to help stabilize the torso, essentially turning arms into a kickstand to hold up his body weight. This is the tripod sit. Until your baby has developed that strong core, he’ll need a little help balancing when he’s trying to sit alone. Be sure to keep Baby on something soft for these early weeks of sitting to help soften the fall when he tips. At around 4 months, Baby is also becoming more aware of what’s going on around him. He might be distracted while sitting up and lose his balance. Make sure he is supervised or away from the edge of a chair or couch he could fall off of.
Products that Help
Strong neck, upper back, and lower back muscles are all needed to sit up alone. Along with propping him up with the support of pillows or leaning him against something soft, use child-size seats so Baby gets practice sitting up. ExerSaucer, Boppy pillows, Bumbo seats, and Jonny Jumps — are a good way to encourage muscle growth.
What You Can Do
Put your baby on her back so you can slowly pull her up by her hands to a sitting position. Dr. Heyrman suggests the best way to learn: enticement. Baby loves looking at herself in mirrors already. Try placing one just a little too high for her to see into; this will encourage her to sit up. Another muscle-strengthening idea: Hold your baby under the arms so she can put her feet on the floor. Baby can’t stand alone yet, but holding her in that position helps gain more core strength.
Once your baby can sit alone, you’ll need to make some adjustments to her room. By 6 months, her arms are very strong and she will be grabbing for everything. Check the crib’s surroundings and put anything dangerous out of reach. For example, you’ll want to remove mobiles so Baby doesn’t get caught up in the mobile while pulling on them. Also, lower the crib’s mattress so she won’t be able to get out of the crib.
Although your baby is strong enough to hold his head up and is now sitting on his own, he is not ready to face forward in the car. There is still a high risk of rapid deceleration injuries in the car, so keep him in a rear-facing carseat.
Up Next, Crawling!
After your baby has the ability to sit up, he will continue to gain strength in his lower body. He will gain enough strength to rotate his hips at the same time or shortly after he learns to sit. Not too long after sitting, Baby will be able to crawl