The First Year of Baby’s Sitting
by Nicole Campbell, PT, DPT
Kids Place West Pediatric Physical Therapist
Babies have the tendency to do things on their own timeline, but frequently parents ask us what we look for when working with babies. Here is a general timeline for when your baby begins to practice sitting:
Newborns (0-3 months)
A baby is not ready to practice sitting yet (not even in a bumbo chair), but you should notice your baby starts to help pick their head up with you when you pull them to sit around 2-3 months.
At this age, a baby should be able to start practicing sitting with their arms propped in front of them for support. You should notice your baby’s head control improving in sitting and they may begin to rotate their head to the left and right. By now, your baby should be able to keep their head in line with their body when you pull them to sit. Towards the end of 5 months, a baby may start lifting their hands off the floor to play with a toy.
At this age, babies are usually able to sit independently for approximately 1 minute (30 seconds if they are playing with a toy). They should not be collapsing forward, but they may accidentally transition onto their belly if they lose their balance reaching for a toy.
A baby should be able to easily maintain a variety of postures while playing with toys (e.g. sitting and side sitting). They should be able to turn in a circle in sitting and shift their weight to reach for a toy.
A baby should be able to easily transition into and out of sitting to grab toys. They should be able to sit on a small chair and they should be able to maintain a kneeling position.
If you have any questions or concerns with your baby’s development, please talk to your healthcare provider and ask for a physical therapy evaluation.