5 Reasons For Delayed Walking in Babies & How to Fix Them
5 mins read
Physical Development for Toddlers
Is your child not walking giving you sleepless nights? There are a number of factors that contribute to your child not walking at an early age. But don't worry, most of these factors are not serious and can be easily rectified with some simple steps.
When Do Babies Start Walking
As mothers, we long to see our children take their first steps. Baby walking also becomes a big point of 'competition' with fellow moms and family members narrating stories of how their babies "were running by now"! Usually, most babies take their first steps between 9 and 12 months of age. However, some children walk only by the time they are 16 to 17 months old.
Delayed walking in babies (when your baby doesn't walk even by the time he turns 18 months old) may be observed because of a lot of reasons. A little encouragement will rectify the slow progress. Let's understand the main reasons behind delayed walking in toddlers.
Reasons for Delayed Walking in Babies
As for the age when babies start walking, it is typically any time after 8 months of age. There could be a number of factors that can be the reason behind delayed walking in babies. Understanding which of these factors is the reason is important in order to tackle delayed walking.
Low Maturity in Motor Skills
Delayed walking in toddlers can often be attributed to a motor skills maturity delay. This simply means that your baby's motor skills are taking a little longer to mature. This could be a reason why your little one may not be keeping up with other kids her age.
Fret not; she'll get there soon enough. There are usually no serious problems causing the delay. It'll just take a little time for her to find her footing. For starters, allow your little one to try and walk on her own without a baby walker. Small changes will yield big results.
There could be a possibility that your toddler is facing a walking development delay. In this case, the child might exhibit a delay in all motor skills in addition to a delay in developmental areas. This could result from various abnormalities in power muscle tone. Your little one could have a different body structure than other kids. Consult your doctor for advice.
Note: In rare cases, a walking delay could be attributed to muscular dystrophy, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy. Early intervention is recommended to give your little one a good quality of life.
Natural Temperament of Baby
One of the other reasons for delayed walking development could be natural temperament. Some babies take their time to walk, no matter how much you try to encourage them. If your little one likes to relax, stare and crawl, chances are she'll walk a little later. There is no reason why you should be worried. She doesn’t feel the need to rush into walking. In fact, she is quite content where she is!
Environmental Factors at Home
There could be a few factors at home that can interfere with the baby's walking milestone. Try not to encourage your little one by carrying her everywhere. She needs to stand on her own two feet - literally! With excess pampering comes a prolonged walking delay. Also, keep the baby walker away from her. If she stumbles and falls, it'll help her grow stronger.
Sometimes, there are reasons beyond your baby’s control that may cause delayed walking. If your baby has been struck with illness, she may walk late. With the focus on getting better, the walking schedule will go haywire.
4 Tips to Help Your Baby Start Walking
Try out some fun activities to help her walk. Don't place your little one in a stationary activity centre for too long.
Watch: Cruising Exercises to encourage walking
Try and make her walk to you with the promise of a treat (some chocolate occasionally is alright). Make sure you babyproof the house very well at this time, especially sharp edges of furniture. You can use safety tape for this.
Consider investing in a baby play gym, as they help develop a lot of gross motor skills like crawling and walking.
Encouraging words like "You did it!" will also help boost her confidence. Don't make your displeasure evident if your toddler doesn’t walk according to the milestone date.
When to Worry
If you have tried everything you could to try and get your baby to walk, and your baby still hasn't taken his first step, there might be valid reasons to worry.
Rather than the age, focus on the style. is your baby moving (either crawling or walking) properly? Are his movements distinct, and is he making consistent progress? if yes, you are sorted. If instead, his movements seem clumsy, uncoordinated, or floppy, that is a cause of concern.
Also look for equal movement on both sides of the body: does your baby seem to be leaning more on one leg than the other? does he tend to put all his weight on the left rather than the right side of his body (or vice-versa)? You might want to consult your paediatrician in that case.
It does not matter if your baby seems 'too old' to be still crawling. The type of movement shown by your baby is of lesser significance than the quality of movement.
For premature babies, it is best to give them leeway about the age at which they start walking. Depending on your baby's ability, and the quality of care he received, he may be delayed by a couple to six months, or more. Be patient.
There are a number of reasons why a baby is not walking at 18 months. However, it's usually nothing serious that hinders development. Keep the encouragement going, most walking problems in toddlers can be rectified with love and support!