Seeing your baby take its first step is one of the most thrilling experiences that a new parent can go through and eagerly awaits.
But as is the case with all developmental milestones, each child will develop and mature at its own pace, so be patient as you wait for your little one to make that first move towards walking independently and don’t fall into the trap of comparing your baby’s development pace with that of other children.
Until then, learn more about how children learn to walk and how to recognize when your soon-to-be toddler needs help.
When Walking Begins
As with all developmental milestones, it’s important to remember that children will develop at their own pace and hence there is no exact age when children must begin to walk. In general, babies take their first step between their 9th and 18th month; babies grow in strength and improve their coordination throughout their first year, learning to sit, crawl and roll over before they learn to pull themselves up and eventually cruise from one piece of furniture to the next by their 9th month. The more practice babies get in cruising and standing, the greater their confidence and sense of balance will become, preparing them both mentally and physically for that first independent step (which usually happens around between their 9th and 12th month).
How Babies Learn to Walk
Babies go through a learning process as they strengthen their muscles, develop their sense of balance and grow in confidence to take their first step. The stages that babies go through to learn to walk include the following phases:
When to Call the Doctor
While it’s true that different babies will reach their developmental milestones at different paces, it’s usually best to check with your pediatrician if your baby hasn’t begun to walk by its first birthday. You needn’t be concerned as long as your baby is continuously acquiring new skills and is crawling, rolling over, and scooting. If your child seems to be lagging behind in terms of learning new things, discuss the matter with your pediatrician.