This is the third part of my 3 part series about baby strengthening. I plan to also do a video and blog post in the future about strategies for starting to walk, but after I do a few adult related exercise videos. 🙂
The expected age range that babies start sitting is 4-6 months, although this window of time can vary. Babies start by sitting with their hands supporting them and their legs in a ring position, and then begin to sit with less and less support. I often see babies who are starting to develop their lumbar extensor muscles pushing back while sitting and falling over backwards, so keep an eye out for that! I like to keep my body or a soft pillow behind baby at all times, and counteract this extension by placing my thumbs and index fingers around baby’s pelvis. This allows me to counteract their extension by putting them in pelvic anterior rotation if necessary.
Sitting strengthening exercises are similar to core strengthening exercises, but more specific to this activity. Here are some of the activities I discuss in the above YouTube video:
Using an exercise ball for sitting balance and core stability is great! It causes baby to use their hands and abdominal muscles to stabilize. Moving forward/backward and in circles while holding them at their hips (or under their armpits if they are weaker) is a great way to incorporate dynamic stabilization.
Simply working on reaching outside of base of support while sitting is a good way to make sitting more challenging and mimic real life situations. Babies will want to reach for enticing toys or items in their surroundings, so placing things they like in a circle around them and then making that circle progressively larger so they have to regain their balance to pull back is ideal. Again, your hands can either be at baby’s hips or hovering close by to catch them if they start to fall.
Using props like towel rolls or yoga blocks for baby to prop their hands on in order to transition from supported sitting to unsupported sitting seems to help!
Side sitting is baby using one hand to prop and the other to reach. This means they are leaning all their weight onto one hand, and it’s another good way to increase baby’s independence with sitting.
For more great exercise ideas to help with sitting, check out my core strengthening YouTube video and blog post.