Enjoy those days when your baby still isn’t walking, because before you know it, they’re up on those two little legs, running around and exploring the world. The first few years of a baby’s life is marked by countless milestones, but perhaps one of the most exciting, and also terrifying, is when your little one starts walking. You’ll never forget those first few steps. So how can you best prepare for when it does finally happen?
You’ll see several stepping stone milestones before the actual walking begins, so keep an eye out for these. It all begins with “tummy time,” when your baby will start to build muscles needed to help them stay upright. That develops into rolling over (which we know you squealed over!) and then eventually moving on to sitting up, crawling, and then gaining momentum to standing. Finally, you’ll notice when your baby is “cruising,” when they grab onto things in order to help them move around.
All of these are indications that your baby is getting ready to walk, most particularly the “cruising” part. It makes sense really, since they’re basically almost walking, just without the strength or confidence to do so without holding on to something yet. This can take an average of nine to twelve months, but every baby is different.
So you might be asking, how long until my baby is walking? That truly is the million dollar question. But it’s important for parents to remember that every baby develops at their own rate, so there’s no one-size-fits all answer to this question.
However, what seems to be most common is that usually a baby will begin independent walking about two to three months after learning how to stand up fully. If you’ve noticed your baby cruising, you should know that walking is soon to follow. No two babies begin standing or cruising at the same time, so don’t feel discouraged. Most babies will begin their first few steps when they are between nine and fifteen months old.
A lot of neurotypical babies will begin walking before their first birthday, but a vast majority of neurotypical babies will be walking by fifteen months. Most pediatricians agree that anywhere between nine and eighteen months falls into the “normal” timeframe.
As a parent, you might feel like you want to do everything you possibly can in order to help your baby start walking. However, the truth is, it’s up to your baby to put the work into walking. You can help by ensuring that your home is baby-proofed and allowing for space for your baby to feel free to explore. Make sure there are sturdy items around to help with cruising. You can also make sure their shoes are off at home, as feet on the floor will help strengthen foot muscles and aid with grip. Of course, praise is always helpful in any learning process.
There’s no reason to buy any special product that touts that it will help your baby walk faster. In fact, many of these items may even harm the process. Instead, choose a stationary play center.
When it comes to your baby falling, don’t sweat it too much. Most babies experience falling down when learning how to walk, and it’s a natural part of the process. Help your baby by laughing it off and showing them that it’s not a big deal and shouldn’t hinder them from trying again.
Stay encouraging and offer your baby opportunities, but trust that eventually your kid will get the hang of things at their own pace.