When Can Baby Sit Independently?

As a parent it’s exciting to see your baby move through motor milestones.  Being able to sit independently is one of those milestones that is really exciting.  I know it was for me!  We have a new independent sitter at this house (although he’s still wobbly)!  When can you expect to see your baby sit independently and what does that mean for play?

Information on when your baby can sit independently and play position considerations!

When Can A Baby Sit Independently?

A baby begins to sit independently around 6 months of age.  It’s pretty exciting to be able to see your little one sitting on their own! Even though your baby can sit on their own at 6 months of age they can’t get quite get in and out of sitting on their own, you have to put them there.  Your baby’s ability to move in and out of sitting on their own doesn’t happen until closer to 7.5-10 months of age.  When your baby begins to move in and out of sitting on their own I like to call this functional sitting.  This means that there are a few things that we have to take into consideration when your baby begins to sit independently.

Play Positions

Floor play is still really important in the early stages of sitting.  Although your baby can sit on their own (hooray!) it’s still really important that they can play on the floor.  At this point they are probably playing on the floor in all positions (belly, back, and side).  This also allows them the opportunity to practice the skill of moving in and out of sitting on their own.  If we always have them sitting in play and they can’t move out of it yet on their own, they are really kind of stuck in that position and that’s no fun!

Tummy Time For Rolling

That doesn’t mean that there can’t be some sitting done in play.  If there is a fun activity or toy that your baby enjoys in the sitting position let them enjoy it!  Maybe your baby is part of a class where it is easier for them to be sitting.  In the past I participated in music classes with my baby where I had them sitting.   Some time in sitting gives your baby the ability to experience their body in that position!

I’ve also had those times where the floor wasn’t ideal for my baby such as in our unfinished basement.  I needed to be down there so I would have my baby sit in a diaper box or in a laundry basket.  These were especially ideal in those early stages of sitting as they provided nice support on the sides and some toys could be added!

The moral of the story when it comes to play is to make sure that your baby still is getting plenty of opportunities to work on their motor skills.

Using a diaper box for your wobbly sitter for short periods of time!


In Summary

6 months -many babies become independent sitters. Hooray!  They have achieved a motor milestone, however we don’t want to limit their ability to continue to work on developing more.  Continue to encourage lots of floor play and tummy time at this age.

7.5-10 months babies will become what I call functional sitters meaning they can move in and out of sitting on their own and they will be much more secure in their ability to sit.  Your baby will now be able to play in seated, on their side, back, and tummy by getting their all on their own!  They will probably be on their way to crawling too! 

Information on when your baby can sit independently and play position considerations!


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11 thoughts on “When Can Baby Sit Independently?”

  1. This is very informative – I have been curious about this topic, my baby boy is a little over three months old, so I had been wondering when to expect him to sit up on his own. I love the diaper box idea – we have a ton of those laying around!

    I’m a fellow MN blogger too – nice to “meet” you!

  2. In the spirit of allowing for natural motor development, why place them in a seated position at all? Why not wait until they can achieve it on their own, making it functional from the start? I honestly can’t think of a time where my child couldn’t be on the floor for free play. And if there WAS a reason (for example, when visiting family with large dogs), we utilized his pack and play or a gated area. He still had free motion of his body and was able to explore without us putting him in a position that made him immobile. Is there really a benefit to sitting a baby up before s/he can do it on his/her own?

    1. Hi Kara, thanks for the thoughtful and insightful comment. I don’t disagree at all with your statements and I feel in the ideal world that is exactly how it would be. My child 90% of the time plus is purely in free play on the floor. Prior to having a child and even more so having friends with children the same age I probably would have written exactly that. In my opinion, when I go extreme and say that you absolutely can not do something there’s far more resistance and disregard for the statement. For some people too they do not feel that their child can be on the floor at all times for one reason or another. This post was my opinion and meant for people to understand that independent floor play is the absolute ideal and it helps with development but not to go to extremes to say that their child’s development is going to be completely ruined if they sit for a few minutes here and there to participate in a short activity. Again thank you for your insight and comment.

  3. Thank you for this post, I really enjoy your blog and getting the therapist perspective:-) I have a bit of a dilemma though that I’m wondering if you can address either here or in a future blog post.

    I encouraged my baby to have as much tummy time as possible when he was small and fortunately he loved it. I avoided using “containers” and he spent most of his first 6 months on the floor. He started crawling on hands and knees at 7.5 months but then he started W-sitting. I didn’t realize until then that while he’d learned to sit independently, he’d never actually become a functional sitter. He’s a year old now, still a great crawler but I have to correct him every time he sits and he never naturally sits up from lying down, he just pushes up into a crawl and then W-sits from that. How do we encourage babies to be good functional sitters? When should we be encouraging sitting and when should we be encouraging tummy time? Or the transition from floor to sitting? Is it possible to do what I seem to have done, which is not give enough sitting opportunity and thus they miss that milestone somehow? So sorry this became so long, but I haven’t found any information about this particular topic and your blog post really got my attention.. wondering for next time around:-P

    1. Thanks for reading! It sounds like you’ve done things right at allowing your baby opportunities to explore and move on his own. Keeping kids out of “containers” and allowing them plenty of time on the floor is what we want for motor development. Sometimes babies just don’t always go by the book and we can’t control that. I can’t give you any specific therapeutic advice for your child without seeing your child. I can speak in general. In the therapy world we would look at different things like trunk rotation, hip range of motion, and encourage baby during transitions to move to a side sit from four point (crawling position) with lots of repetition. We also may encourage playing in kneel or half kneel to facilitate weight shifting and strengthening. If you have concerns it may be something that you could bring up to your pediatrician or physical therapist to get a specific assessment for your child. I hope that helps!

  4. Hi Chanda,

    My baby is turning 6 months next week. At this point she really does not like to sit up much at all. If I attempt to do it with her supported between my legs she just fusses until she slides down and back onto her tummy. She is actually really doing pretty well with crawling. She has the army called down to a science at this point. Is there anything I need to be concerned with? Should I be encouraging you to sit up more? Does this affect her eating solids and sitting in a high chair?

    1. It’s hard for me to answer that without actually knowing your child. If you are concerned it would probably be best to ask your physician. In my personal situation my second child didn’t like to spend much time sitting around the six month mark. He loved to go and liked to be on his tummy moving, not sitting, but that was him. He’d still would rather be crawling and standing then sitting!

  5. I am a first-time mother and my daughter is 6.5 months old and can not sit without falling, is that normal? Since all my other friends babies are sitting around, should I worry? Please help me.

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