When Do Babies Sit Up And Other Important Milestones

When Do Babies Sit Up And Other Important Milestones

Every new parent has a multitude of questions with ‘when do babies sit up’ being the most common one. In fact, infant growth is viewed as a developmental elevator with each level indicating a new skill learned. If the interaction of your baby with you and other caregivers is enriching and responsive, new levels are scaled smoothly. However, it is important to note that every infant is different in the way new skills are developed. The milestones listed here are average time frames.

Birth To 3 Months

New born baby

Infant milestones are usually classified into language development, motor development and social or emotional development. The first 3 months are the most exciting period of time for your baby. There are new sounds, sensations and visions that differ from the sensations your baby felt while in the womb. Towards the third month, you might get bombarded by the question of when do babies sit up? However, it is important that you do not give in to worry and enjoy every moment you have with your baby.

The first month of a baby’s life is spent in reflexive behavior. This means that actions performed are automatic to the stimulus. As the weeks go by, the nervous system matures which allows a baby to put more thought in his or her actions. By the end of the first month, you will notice changes in your baby that indicate him or her becoming a responsive and active infant.

Language Development

The first three months are spent developing a cooing sound. There will be no words or other noises. The cooing sound will be in the form of aah and ooh vowels. However, your baby will be able to turn towards familiar sounds such as your voice.

Motor Skills Development

There is tremendous motor skills development during this stage in your baby's life. There is definitely truth behind the saying that 'babies grow up quickly'. You might be fixated on the question of when do babies sit up while your baby is increasing strength and developing motor skills to make it a possibility. Most of the newborn reflexes are lost by the completion of first month.

Neck muscles will grow stronger allowing the baby to lift their head while on the stomach. In the beginning, this will be done for only a few seconds. However, with time he or she might lift their head for more time. By the end of the third month, infants are able to support head and chest up to their forearms while lying on their stomach. This is also the time when you should engage your baby with sounds and visions.

Your baby will even stretch out their legs and kick when on the back or stomach. Arm and hand movements also develop quickly during this quarter. Tightly clenched fists will open to grab and bat at objects. This is when your baby might also explore hands by putting it in mouth.

There will be noticeable vision changes as well during this period. Your baby will become more aware and interested in the surroundings. Human faces will be the most interesting, especially yours. Other bright and primary colored objects will also grab your baby’s attention. He or she might begin to follow moving objects with their eyes and recognize familiar faces at a distance. There is tremendous hand-eye coordination development during this period as well.

Emotional Development

Social and emotional development in the first three months includes smiling at familiar faces and even recognizing them at a distance. After the first month when newborn reflexes are gone, your baby will begin to respond to your playful moves. However, it is still too soon to ask ‘when do babies sit up’.

4 To 6 Months

New perceptive abilities and motor skills are enhanced during this period. Your baby will develop more control at the things done rather than just reacting to the stimulus. Each developmental skill has an important learning effect on acquiring the next. You might wonder ‘when do babies sit up’ in this period and for good reason.

When Do Babies Sit Up?

Baby girl sitting beside her mom

Many infants master the skill of sitting up by the 6th month. However, there is nothing to worry about if this milestone is not achieved by the 7th month. There is a possibility that your baby is simply working on developing other skills. Your baby will slump sideways or topple by the 4th or 5th month. This is when the back muscles are developing and growing strong. Soon, your baby will figure out how to use their hands as a prop to sit up. As the back muscles strengthen and balance improves, your baby will first remove one hand and eventually sit upright.

Language Development

The first attempt at language is the highlight of this period after seeing your baby trying to sit up. They will cry less to get their message across and begin to ‘talk’ more. The words will not start rolling off until much later. However, there will be a combination of multiple sounds made to help you understand what the baby wants.

A major breakthrough in speech development occurs during the end of this period when an infant discovers that sounds can be altered by changing the shape of mouth and tongue. They link long strings of vowels and consonants to create a babble that they voice out repeatedly. A baby might also learn to change the ‘ba-ba’ sound made with lips to ‘da-da’ sound made with the tongue.

Motor Skills Development

Two babies surrounded with red petaled flowers

Your baby is busy enhancing motor skills. Infants begin to explore their surroundings by touching things and putting them in their mouths. Parents begin to wonder ‘when do babies sit up’. Once infants can lift their heads, they will start using arms to push up and arch their backs. This helps in strengthening the upper body and is a preliminary to sitting up. The babies during this period also rock back and forth, swim with their arms and kick their legs. By the end of this period, babies should be able to roll over and back to the stomach. Sometimes, babies might even sit up.

Emotional Development

By the 6th month of life, babies have developed the ability to do more than simply cry when they are hungry or tired. They have developed the emotional skills required to communicate a change of activity. They will also develop a strong attachment to their parents and may show preferential treatment for their primary caregiver. Towards the 5th or 6th month, some babies might develop stranger anxiety when they show their displeasure at being handled by a stranger. However, most babies usually smile and play with everyone.

7 To 12 Months

If your baby has not already begun to sit up, then this is the period when he or she will. This period will answer your question regarding ‘when do babies sit up’. Babies become increasingly mobile during this stage and you should think of childproofing your home for added safety measures.

Language Development

Baby showing his tonque

This is the period in which there will be major breakthroughs in the language development. Your baby will begin gesturing. This is an important predecessor to language. Later on, these gestures will be replaced by word equivalents. Your baby might lift his arms and speak to you through eyes to let you know that he or she wants to be picked up rather than crying. Alternatively, he or she might start squirming or point to the floor to be let down.

Motor Skills Development

Baby climbing over the bench

You will have a real explorer on your hands by this time as the motor skills develop to allow your baby to move around. This stage is crucial as your baby learns two critical factors required for wholesome development–crawling and picking up things. Most babies are ready to take those first tentative steps by the 12th month if they haven’t started already.

However, before your baby begins to walk, he or she has to graduate from crawling to standing and then cruising. Cruising is when the baby moves a short distance using furniture or other objects for balance.

Emotional Development

During this stage, babies understand the concept of object permanence. This means that an object exists even if it is taken away from in front of their eyes. Separation anxiety and stranger anxiety are two normal aspects of emotional development during this period. Your baby will begin to cry when you leave the room and might become shy around strangers. Infants develop social skills that allow them to find hidden objects easily and also use these objects correctly. For instance, after observing you, your baby might begin to hold a phone to ear.


Allowing your child to achieve each milestone at his or her own pace is perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind. Babies are born with their individual temperaments and dispositions. An easygoing disposition might take longer to walk as compared to one that is impatient. It is important that you never underestimate the role that your love and nurturing plays in the development of your baby.

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