Most babies take their first steps sometime between 9 and 12 months and are walking well by the time they’re 14 or 15 months old. Don’t worry if your child takes a little longer, though. Some perfectly normal children don’t walk until they’re 16 or 17 months old. During her first year, your baby is busy developing coordination and muscle strength in every part of her body. She’ll learn to sit, roll over, and crawl before moving on to pulling up and standing at about 9 months.
From then on, it’s a matter of gaining confidence and balance. One day your child’s standing against the couch – maybe sliding along it – and the next she’s tottering hesitantly into your waiting arms. Then she’s off and running, leaving babyhood behind. Your child’s first steps are her first major move toward independence.
How long after crawling do babies walk?
From there, most babies start crawling (generally around 7 months), then pulling themselves up to standing (generally around 9 to 12 months), followed by cruising. Cruising, which happens around 9 to 12 months, is baby’s way of testing the walking waters and is one of the biggest signs baby will walk soon.
How will my baby learn to walk?
Newborn to two months
From birth, your baby has the reflex to brace his legs against a surface he feels under his feet. If you hold your newborn upright on your lap, supporting his head, you’ll feel him trying to use his legs. He’s not trying to walk, it’s just his instincts kicking in. For now, his legs aren’t nearly strong enough for him to stand. This reflex will disappear after a couple of months.
Five months to 10 months
By the time your baby is about five months old, if you let him balance his feet on your thighs, he’ll bounce up and down. Bouncing will be a favorite activity over the next couple of months.
Many babies love jumping up and down in their door bouncer. However, if you have a door bouncer, limit the time your baby spends in it to three supervised 15-minute sessions a day.
As your baby learns to roll over, sit, and crawl, his muscles will continue to strengthen.
Between eight months and 10 months he will probably start trying to pull himself up to stand while holding on to furniture. If you prop him up next to the sofa, he’ll hang on for support.
As your baby gets better at standing, he’ll start to cruise (moving around upright while holding on to furniture). He may then feel confident enough to let go of any support and stand unaided. Once your baby is ready to let go of the furniture, he may be able to take steps when you hold his hands. Your baby may even stoop to pick up a toy when standing.
Nine months to one year
At nine months or 10 months your baby will begin to work out how to bend his knees and learn to sit after standing. This is harder than you may think!
By 11 months your baby will probably be able to stand without support, stoop, and squat. By 12 months he may walk while gripping your hand, though he may not take his first steps alone for a little while longer. Most babies make those early strides with their feet apart and toes turned inward or outward.
At 13 months, your baby may be walking on his own, but probably a bit unsteadily. If your baby still hasn’t stopped cruising, it just means walking on his own is going to take a little longer. Some children don’t walk until they are 17 months or 18 months old.
How can I help my baby to walk?
- As your baby learns to stand, he may need some help working out how to get back down again. If he gets stuck and cries for you, don’t just pick him up and plop him down. Instead, show him how to bend his knees so he can sit down without toppling over, and let him give it a try himself.
- You can encourage your baby to walk by standing or kneeling in front of him, holding both his hands as you help him walk towards you.
- You could also buy him a toddle truck or a similar toy that he can hold on to and push. Look for toddle toys that are stable and have a wide base of support. Baby walkers can cause accidents by tipping over, so it’s best not to use them.
- As your baby learns to walk it’s a good idea to keep his feet as free as possible. Let him toddle barefoot if you can. Going barefoot helps him to improve his balance and coordination. If cramped by tight shoes or socks, your baby’s feet can’t straighten out and grow properly.
- You can delay buying shoes until your baby is walking around outside, or on rough or cold surfaces.
- When you do buy shoes for your baby, get his feet measured by a qualified fitter. A fitter will ensure there is room for growth.
- Make sure your baby has a safe environment in which to practice walking. Keeping the floor space clear will help him to walk around easily. Child-proof your home as much as possible, and never leave your baby alone, in case he falls or needs your help.