Today is a glorious day in the life of my son! He is just a few days shy of his 6-month-old birthday, but he sat up all on his own today and played with his toys for thirty minutes! I only had to catch him a few times when he lunged for a toy out of reach! I was so excited I got chills and goose bumps!
In honor of this achievement (and since he’s currently napping) I thought I’d share with you how I taught my son to sit on his own. (I will update later with pictures of my techniques. Comment or subscribe to the comment feed to get an update notification.)
Remember, all it takes to sit is to learn where your center of balance is. You have to let baby take little, supervised tumbles every once in a while so he can learn to find his center of balance and correct himself when he begins to fall.
1.) Burping While Sitting
One thing I’ve done with my son since birth was to burp him while he was sitting, instead of over the shoulder. This really helped him start building the core muscles he needed to sit. It also helped him not spit up so much while burping because he didn’t have any pressure on his stomach. When he was very young, I put my hand on his chest with my thumb under one armpit and index (pointer) finger under the other and let him lean forward on my hand.
2.) Indian Style Play and Reading Time
Since his birth, I would sit indian style (meaning with my legs crossed like a pretzel) on the floor and sat my son in the crook of my lap. This allowed his legs to dangle over my shin bones and he could reach forward for something he wanted. The way he was seated on my lap was almost like how a baby is supported by a Bumbo seat; my legs acted like bumpers and I could hold him upright around his waist.
As he got older (2-3 months old) instead of holding him around the waist, I moved my hands and supported his hips so his upper half could sway. This way he could feel what it was like to fall to one side and could correct himself.
By 4-5 months, I would sit him on the floor in front of me and position his legs so they would bow like a C shape (the two ends of the C being his feet). His thighs and knees provided him support to hold himself up. I still held him by the waist, almost like I was anchoring him to ground, but allowed him to lean forward or sway to the sides.
3.) Pull Ups
Something I also did starting at 2 months old was help him learn to sit up. While he can’t as of yet (at 6 months old) put himself in a sitting position, this helped him build core muscles needed to sit. While he is laying down, I grab his hands and let him try to pull himself up, like doing crunches. He would get so far on his own before he couldn’t pull anymore and I would just continue pulling him until he was sitting. This didn’t hurt his arms at all. In fact, it helped him build arm strength, and he can now hold himself up while on his stomach (like the scene with Ariel on the rock in The Little Mermaid) and pull himself around by his arms.
4.) Simulated Walking
My son loves trying to walk. He’s been doing it since 3 months old. I put him in a standing position and hold his hands out like a cross while he takes steps He can support himself on his feet, he just doesn’t have the balance to stay upright without holding my hands. This also builds core muscles.
5.) Babies on the Bed
At 5 months old, I put my son in the middle of my (very soft) double/full size bed in a sitting position and let him try to sit on his own. Yes, he tumbled over. But in tumbling he learned how to correct himself and find his center of balance. I also made it fun when he would fall over by shouting “TUMBLE!” and laughing with him. This encouraged him to try again!
How did you help your baby to sit on his or her own? Share your stories in the comments!