When to Start
Your baby will probably learn to sit up independently between 4 and 8 months of age. Even before that point, there’s plenty you can do to encourage your baby to develop the head and neck muscles that will help her sit up when the time comes. The more time your baby spends on her stomach, the more opportunities she’ll have to hold up her head and chest, which strengthen the muscles she’ll need for sitting. You can start this step from birth to help baby sit upright sooner.
Your baby can’t learn to sit up until you give him some time to practice. That’s where propping comes in. You can begin propping your baby when he is 3-4 months old. To prop your baby most securely, line the corner of a room with several pillows and sit your baby with his back pressed against them. In the beginning, the pillows may need to be sloped so that your baby is leaning back slightly, rather than sitting straight up. As time goes on, he will get used to the new position, and you will be able to prop him in a more upright manner.
Your baby won’t want to be propped for too long if she’s just staring at the walls. Your job is to keep her entertained so that she’ll enjoy sitting up. Make funny noises, sing her a song, or read her a favorite book. Most importantly, stay on her level. If she’s sitting on the floor, she’ll appreciate watching you on the floor next to her rather than watching you standing up on the other side of the room.
Although propping is one of the best ways to teach babies to sit up independently, you could also help your baby to sit up by using your lap. He can be facing away from you, using you as a backrest, when you read him a book. Alternatively, you can face him towards you and hold onto his hands while you bounce him and sing him a song. Besides strengthening his "sitting" (back and neck) muscles, you’ll gain some cuddle time with your little one!
Using a Baby Seat
Although most bouncer seats don’t allow your child to sit upright, the Bumbo Baby Seat is different. It allows your baby to sit up independently before her muscles are naturally strong enough to do so. This can be a double-edged sword. Sitting in the Bumbo for short periods of time can give your child the thrill of sitting upright and can get her used to the new position, which can help baby sit upright sooner; at the same time, if your baby spends prolonged periods of time in a Bumbo seat, she may not feel the need to sit independently as soon. (Note: Make sure to follow all safety precautions when using a Bumbo seat).