When do babies start walking on their own? Here are the signs that your baby will walk soon.
What can you read in this article?
- Signs that baby will walk soon
- Can a walker help your child walk?
- “He’s not walking yet.” When should you be worried?
What age do babies start walking?
A child’s first step is one of the most memorable moments for any parent. And pretty soon, your little tot will start running around the house, and you’ll be surprised at how coordinated they’ve become!
But before that happens, you’ll have to wait patiently for months while your child starts figuring out how to walk. A child needs to go through other developmental milestones first before he’s ready to finally take the first step without support.
However, as you observe your child go through the process of learning how to walk, you’ll notice progress day by day and see signs that the baby will walk soon.
What are the signs baby will walk soon?
Unlike other mammals, human babies take a while before our babies are able to walk. This is because human brains develop differently, so unlike animals who can walk even if they’re just a day old, it takes humans a few months before they’re able to do so.
So don’t fret if your little one isn’t walking right away, everyone is different and our brains and bodies develop differently. That said, here are some of the signs you need to watch out for which can indicate that your baby will walk soon:
According to Dr. Jennifer Tiglao, a pediatrician from Makati Medical Center, there are still some developmental skills that a baby must accomplish before he gets to the walking part. We’re all about wondering when the baby will walk, but did you know that crawling is also a huge milestone in his development?
“We have development stages. For me, what’s important is not just walking abut also crawling. That’s the most important part of motor development.
Once you crawl, you can pull yourself up to stand then you will be walking. So just let your baby crawl. Don’t skip to walking right away,” said Dr. Tiglao in Filipino.
The very first sign that you should keep in mind will happen during your baby’s 6th to 8th month. That’s usually the time when their leg muscles are developed enough that they can stand up and support themselves.
In fact, some babies skip the crawling part and go straight to standing up. But there’s no need for parents to be alarmed.
Dr. Michiko Caruncho, a developmental pediatrician from the Makati Medical Center said that while crawling is a good practice for baby’s muscles to get ready for standing and walking, skipping this process and going straight to standing up does not mean your baby is doing something wrong.
“There are really babies who are like that. They go from sitting to standing. I heard some people say that if babies don’t crawl, they’re going to be delayed. That’s not true,” said Dr. Caruncho.
You’ll probably notice your little one standing up while in their crib, and it’s such an amazing moment for any parent to see!
The next signs that you will notice will happen during your baby’s 9th month. This is when babies usually start to ‘cruise’ or pull themselves up and move around while holding on to furniture.
This is what your baby does in order to build confidence, and also helps them practice the coordination needed to be able to walk.
However, not all babies are able to cruise at this age. It’s perfectly normal, so you shouldn’t be worried if, at 9 months, your little one isn’t able to cruise around.
Dr. Caruncho also recommends helping your baby practice this skill by encouraging him and providing him with a good area at home to do it.
“I would not recommend the baby is always in the crib. In fact, if there’s a specific area at home that you can set up, put rubber mats, that’s better for the baby. Remove any furniture with sharp corners that he might hit or bump into,” said Dr. Caruncho.
Having the confidence to move around
By the 12th month, or their first birthday, most babies are usually able to ‘cruise’ around. You’ll notice that they’re also trying to walk at this age, but they can’t quite get it just right.
Your child will also be more confident at this age, and they’ll try to stand up and cruise around as much as possible!
This means that in a few months, they’ll be able to walk confidently. Some babies are able to walk while holding their parents’ hands at this age, but don’t be discouraged if your little one is content with simply cruising around.
You can try and encourage them to walk by supporting them and letting them play while standing up. Try to avoid walkers as these can discourage babies from walking, and can also be a source of injury.
Crying, whining and changing sleep patterns
While this does not have anything to do directly with learning to walk, a change in the baby’s behavior and sleep patterns can also be a sign that the baby will walk soon.
According to Healthline, walking is such a big developmental milestone that it can be accompanied by other developmental leaps. Your baby’s brain and body could be working double-time which is why he can be extra fussy, sleepy, and hungry too.
Exploring his surroundings
At around 13 months, some babies are already able to start walking without any assistance. This is an amazing time not just for you as a parent, but for your baby as well.
Since this means that they’re becoming more independent and they’ll also start exploring their surroundings even more.
However, some children still aren’t able to walk at 13 months. That’s totally normal. In general, most children are capable of walking independently by the 18th month.
So if your little one is just comfortable cruising around and taking small steps at 13 months, don’t be worried. Learning to walk is different for every baby, and walking late doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with your child.
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A note on walkers
To help their baby walk and to entertain them as well, some parents use the popular toy – the baby walker. Putting baby in this tiny vehicle helps him to cruise around the house with ease. But as pediatricians and medical experts said, the use of baby walkers do not help baby learn how to walk, and can also risk your child’s safety.
Because so many accidents with infants involve this toy, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has banned the manufacturing of baby walkers in the United States.
Dr. Tiglao cited a couple of reasons why a baby walker is not a good toy or equipment to help your baby learn how to walk. First, she said that putting the baby on a walker makes him too dependent on it.
“What I don’t like about it is the earlier you put a baby in the walker, let’s say 6 months, the more he becomes dependent on it. At the same time, they don’t get to exercise their muscles as much, and their coordination to when using a walker,” she said.
She also has seen firsthand from her patients, accidents that were caused by the use of baby walkers.
“There’s a danger of the neck and back getting hurt regardless of how “high-tech” the walker is, and regardless if it has back support.
It has wheels, and if the child isn’t able to control the thing, accidents are bound to happen. I’ve seen babies who fell of a flight of stairs because of their walker,” shared Dr. Tiglao.
Dr. Caruncho agreed that the use of baby walkers is not advisable as it may cause accidents in infants. Instead, she recommends going through the natural process of learning how to walk.
“I don’t recommend the use of baby walkers. There have been many accidents because of it. Let your baby crawl and cruise while holding on to something instead,” said the developmental pediatrician.
When should parents be worried?
As mentioned earlier, babies develop at their own pace. Some might walk early, and some might do it later than others.
But with regards to walking on their own, when is it okay to wait and when should parents start to worry? Here’s what Dr. Caruncho has to say:
“It is a range. Ideally, 12 to 15 months. eThere are babies that can do it at 10 months. Some learn how to walk quickly, while some take their time.
So it’s safe to say that is your child is 16 months or older and they still can’t walk on their own, you can raise your concern to your child’s pediatrician.”
Reasons for late walking in babies can be psychological, just as much as physical! Some babies tend to be more laidback, so they’re not concerned with walking early.
Parents also don’t need to ‘teach’ their kids to walk. Kids will do so naturally on their own, so a parent’s added assistance isn’t necessary. However, it could help, so long as you’re not pushing your baby too hard.
If you feel that your child might need professional help, then feel free to visit your pediatrician and ask for a referral to a doctor that might be able to help out your child. But these are particularly rare occurrences, and parents shouldn’t worry too much if their child is a late walker.
Additional information by Camille Eusebio
Healthline, WebMD, ClevelandClinic
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