In the first few years (and even months) of life, your baby will set out to reach a variety of milestones. One of our very favorite baby milestones to address is walking! First-time walkers always leave parents in awe. It’s so tempting to videotape and take pictures of this momentous occasion. Since baby walking is such a powerful milestone, we’re sharing all you need to know about your walking little one.
When Do Babies Walk? Baby’s First Steps
Just like everything in life, we need to take steps to accomplish bigger goals. This includes good ‘ol walking. Walking milestones are progressive. At 4 months, you’ll notice your baby’s ability to hold their head steady without much support. Come around to 6 months, and your baby can sit with a little help from you. This is when things really start to get good. Your baby should be sitting all by themselves at around 9 months, but you also may notice some crawling action around 7-9 months. Next? You guessed it! Your baby will start pulling themselves up to stand, which happens around 9-12 months. Your baby will likely stand for only a few seconds at first, but around 13-15 months, they’ll be standing without help like a pro. This is the final stretch! Your first-time walker will take those first steps at around 12-15 months. This is a baby milestone moment that you won’t soon forget.
How to Help Baby Walk
We know that you can’t wait to see your baby take those first steps if even a bit clumsy at first! Take heart in knowing that it will happen, but every little one reaches milestones at a different pace. Some first-time walkers are early. Others are a bit slow. As your child starts getting used to being on those feet, you can begin encouraging your little one to walk. How can you encourage your baby to walk exactly? The good news is that you don’t need any fancy toys or equipment to do it. When your baby is playing, give them some motivation to stand. Offer toys to play with, but place the toys just a little out of reach so that your child has extra motivation to move that way. As we mentioned, your baby is capable of reaching milestones without the aid of special toys or equipment. Be very cautious of baby walkers as well. These have been known to cause preventable injuries. We want to ensure that baby is protected as they’re trying to learn this new and exciting skill.
When learning a new skill, do we give up after the first time we mess up? Not at all! Keep practicing and encouraging your first-time walker. Toys to help your baby walk are unnecessary, so what else can we do if baby just needs a bigger push? Another tip is to shorten the distance in which your little one needs to walk. Place a truly enticing toy just barely out of reach. You can adjust the challenge level to see what your baby can accomplish on their own. Give them a boost by holding them by the rib cage too so that your baby uses their core muscles when walking. Once your baby reaches a point where they can cruise around, you’ll want to make extra sure that they are walking in spaces that are safe. They’ll now be able to reach surfaces and areas that they haven’t been able to get to in the past. Put sharp or dangerous items away too. First-time walkers ain’t got time for no injuries!
Considering Shoes for First-time Walkers
Aw! Baby shoes! They’re so cute, but here’s the thing. Baby shoes are also so ineffective. The design of baby shoes is to protect the feet from rough surfaces. Shoes do not in any way help your child walk. Ideally, shoes should only be used outdoors for confident walkers. The exception is warmth. In this case, choose booties or socks so the foot is still free to move as it pleases. Shoes are best when they are lightweight, flexible, and skid-resistant. When you do buy shoes for those growing feet, make sure they fit. Can your child wiggle their toes? Can they move the front of their foot? Are the toes squished in the shoe? Is the foot slipping? These are some questions to ask when deciding if the shoe is the right fit. Since the foot is growing quickly, check to make sure shoes still fit regularly, especially after 3 to 4 months. Overall, remember that the best shoes for your walking baby are no shoes at all unless outside.
What to Look Out For
While walking comes naturally to most of us, there are still complications that can occur that can ultimately cause discomfort and more problems later on. If your little one is not walking by 16 months, be sure to bring up your concerns to your pediatrician. Sometimes physical therapy to help your baby walk is recommended. Other concerning movements to look out for include:
- Walking on the Toes (Toe-walking)
- Flat Feet
- Preference for Crawling Over Walking
- Frequent Falling and Poor Balance
- Stiffness in Legs
- Inability to Raise Neck/Back
Any of these signs could be a result of a bigger problem. It’s important to keep an eye on your first-time walker, and if something doesn’t seem quite right, then say something. It’s far easier to correct problems early on than later down the road.
If your first-time walker is a struggling new walker in any shape or form, contact us today.