When Do Babies Walk? Here Are 7 Ways to Encourage Your Baby to Start Walking!
7 mins read
Physical development for Baby, Toddlers
Don't you just love the tiny little feet of your baby? She will soon use them to walk, all confident and independent! Walking is probably the first exciting milestone your baby achieves, which will indicate her transition to toddlerhood. So, when do babies start walking and how can you help?
Watching your baby take her first steps is a moment of pride and joy for parents. Being able to walk marks one of the most important milestones as your baby approaches her first birthday. So, exactly when do babies start walking?
Babies usually start walking between 10-16 months of age. This may vary across babies based on various factors such as weight, daily physical activity, and individual development patterns.
Walking Stages for Babies
Here is a full guide on your baby's journey towards walking. This will help you understand the various walking stages for babies that your child will reach before being able to walk all on her own.
Newborn to 4 Months:
Babies don’t just learn to walk in a day or two; they have been practising this activity ever since they were born! Newborns like to stretch a lot when on their backs. Stretching is sort of an exercise to elongate and strengthen the curled up muscles during the nine months they were inside a womb. During the first 2-3 months, your baby makes a lot of jerky, squirming movements that are unintentional. All these movements help strengthen her back and legs muscles, as also her spine.
Between 3-4 months, your baby starts to hold her neck up. Give her plenty of tummy time so that she tries to roll over. She will continue rolling on her back and tummy for the next couple of months, until she discovers that she can creep forward pushing on her elbows. Some babies skip creeping and directly start sitting or crawling. If you hold the baby by her torso, she will kick vigorously and try to bounce.
Around this time, your baby has gained enough strength to pull herself up into a sitting position. She may not be able to sit for long durations and she will often lose her balance and topple back or front. You should make the surrounding area safe by placing a carpet or mat around her, to reduce the injury in case she topples hard on her head. Once she is a pro at holding her back straight for a long time, she will be able to crawl. Now is the time to make your home completely baby-proof, as the little one is likely to go around exploring the house.
Is Your Baby Crawling Yet? Many Babies Don't Crawl - They Walk Straightaway!
Months 6 to 10 are also a time when many babies start crawling. Many parents believe that crawling is the predecessor of walking. However, experts now believe that if your baby doesn't crawl, it is NOT a reason for concern. Some babies simply skip this milestone and start walking straightaway!
All the creeping, sitting and crawling has made your baby strong enough to stand now. Crawling strengthens her leg, as well as her arm muscles, which will enable her to pull herself to stand. She will grab anything she can hold onto, while trying to stand up. She may fall quite often the first few times, but she will not give up. Then it is only a matter of time when your baby tries to move while standing up. Look out for you will be in for a treat as you watch your baby’s first steps. Soon, she will be cruising (holding and walking) on her own. You will be able to take short strolls with her in your lawn or in a park.
Once your baby has gained enough confidence, she will venture into walking independently without any support. Even babies are familiar with the emotion that getting hurt does not feel good. So she will be quite cautious while walking towards a ball across the room. Some babies are more adventurous, and may not care if they fall a thousand times; they will still keep going. Some babies want to play it safe and take a back seat. They may not even try to walk without help for a few days, but only to start walking again with a vengeance.
Note: While the answer for when should babies walk is 10-16 months, the timeline to achieve the developmental milestone of walking varies with individual babies. But they will eventually catch up with their peers. If your baby is struggling to walk or doesn't seem to be making any progress after her first birthday, you can consult the paediatrician to see if there could be a walking developmental delay. It is also a good idea to practise baby walking exercises at home.
Encouraging Baby to Walk
The best way to help your baby walk is by providing her an encouraging environment for walking. The following tips will help your little one learn to walk faster:
Dress her in simple clothes
This will reduce the chances of tripping, or her clothes getting caught while she tries to walk. Light-weight cotton clothes are the best for getting baby to walk.
Let her walk bare feet
If the weather allows it, ler your baby's feet touch the ground. This will help her develop balance and grip.
Encourage her to walk without support
Help your baby develop balance without holding the wall or table. Kneel down in front her, and hold only one of her hands. She might fall the first couple of times, but soon she will recover and get the hang of it.
Get a push toy
Your baby will be able to hold it and push on while walking. A light-weight chair can work too. This is one of the simplest and fun ways to help your baby walk.
Don't use a walker
Many parents have long relied on walkers for encouraging toddler to walk. However, experts recommend that it is best not to use a walker for your child, as she might get too used to it, which can hamper her independent walking. Also, there is a risk that that walker might tip over and your baby may get hurt.
Limit her time in the crib, stroller or baby seat
For encouraging baby to walk, let her play on the floor and leave toys at some distance from her. The phsyical activity and trying to reach out for her favourite objects will push her to try to walk.
Babyproof the house
Take necessary safety precautions to ensure your baby has a safe house to learn her new skill - walking! Here are the important things to help baby walk that you shouldn't miss out on:
Remove sharp objects out of her way
Remove small objects that she could put in her mouth
Remove slippery carpet
Keep the floor dry
Remove low height tables and furniture that can topple over easily out of her way
Keep the area clutter-free as much as possible
Keep the doors of the cabinets shut and locked at all times
Use the stoppers for the doors, or keep them shut
Install the safety gates at doorways and staircases.
Watch: Even More Expert Tips to Help Your Baby Learn to Walk Faster!
Do not be disheartened or worried if your baby gets hurt a few times, or stops trying to walk for the fear of getting hurt. She soon will be back on her feet, walking and running within no time. Just help your baby along, by making her newfound independence exciting and safe.
When did your baby learn to walk? Tell us in the comments!