As a parent, it’s so exciting to watch your baby reach different milestones! Things like smiling, sitting, crawling, and walking are big moments in a child’s life.
As your baby approaches their first birthday, their first steps are going to be on your radar. Babies walk at different times so it can happen at any point before or after their first birthday.
It’s important to know when your baby is ready to walk so you can support them as they learn. There are several ways that you can help your baby to learn how to walk.
There are also specific toys available that your baby can use while learning how to walk.
At What Age Do Babies Walk?
Babies typically walk sometime between 9 and 18 months. The exact age your baby walks at can vary. Some babies walk early, and others walk late.
It’s important to let your baby walk when they are ready. Because babies are all different, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your little one if they don’t walk at a certain point.
It’s essential to keep an eye on any signs that your baby is ready to walk. If you have any concerns about your baby not walking by a certain point, talk to your pediatrician.
In most cases, it’s okay if some babies walk later than others. In some situations, your baby’s pediatrician might offer a few words of advice.
Is My Baby Ready to Walk?
One question to ask yourself is whether your baby is ready to take their first steps. Fortunately, there are several signs you can watch for as your baby grows.
Your baby will likely become fussier as they get closer to walking. Babies tend to be fussier around the time that they are reaching milestones. Babies are typically fussy when they’re teething, for example. Sometimes babies can become pickier eaters when they are close to reaching milestones as well.
More adventurous babies generally walk sooner than cautious babies. If your baby is pulling up on the furniture, they may be eager to take their first unassisted steps right away, or they might play it safe until they gain more confidence. Keep an eye on your baby’s behavior as they pull up on the furniture to see whether they’re ready to go for it.
Sleepiness from Growth Spurts
Your baby will likely start sleeping more around the time they’re prepared to start walking. This is because babies go through a growth spurt at 10 or 11 months old. If your baby starts sleeping better or requiring an extra nap, they may be almost ready to take their first steps.
There are also walking stages that your baby will reach. These walking stages are how your baby will progress to full walking.
We will discuss these stages in the section below. As your baby begins to reach the walking stages, you will see them get closer and closer to being able to walk.
The 5 Walking Stages
As babies get older, they will start reaching walking stages. These stages lead up to a baby’s first steps. Keep in mind that your baby might reach the walking stages at different ages than listed. S
ome babies might not show interest until they’re a little bit older. In some cases, babies can skip stages too.
1. Pulling to Stand
When babies are about eight months old, they should start pulling themselves up on furniture. They need to be able to stand upright before they can begin taking their first steps.
Once they start pulling themselves up, they are getting closer to being able to walk independently. Babies may pull up on furniture for up to three months before taking their first steps.
Once babies are comfortable pulling to stand, they will start to cruise along the furniture. They will hang on to couches, tables, chairs, and anything else that they can reach.
It might look like your baby is walking, but they’re still getting some support from the furniture. This is an excellent time to make sure there’s nothing in your baby’s way.
You want to keep the floor picked up and keep any potentially dangerous items out of their reach. You don’t want your baby to trip over anything on the floor.
Eventually, your baby will try to stand without holding on to the furniture. As your baby learns how to stand without the support of the furniture, they may fall.
It’s okay for your baby to fall, but they must have a comfortable place to land. Many babies fall on their bottoms at this stage, so their diapers provide some extra protection.
4. Sitting and Standing
Once your baby learns how to stand without support, they will attempt to sit from the standing position. Then, they will try to stand from sitting.
You will also see some squatting during this stage. This stage allows your baby to gain more balance before walking entirely on their own.
5. Walking Unassisted
Finally, your baby will take their first steps and start walking on their own. Keep in mind that your baby won’t walk steadily for a little while. They’re still working on their balance.
Your baby may fall over as they learn how to walk, and they’ll look unsteady too. Eventually, they will gain the confidence, skills, and balance to walk more steadily.
Some babies don’t master walking until they’re around 18 months old.
Helping Your Baby at Each Walking Stage
As a parent, you want to help support your baby in any way possible. As they reach each walking stage, there are new ways for you to help them learn how to walk.
By helping your baby at each stage, you are showing them they can rely on you for support. Plus, you are helping your baby get closer to that next stage and eventually reach the walking milestone.
Pulling to Stand Stage
Make sure your baby can reach furniture around the room and pull themselves up. You should remove any wobbly furniture or add anchors to bookcases for added support to avoid the danger of them from potentially falling on your baby.
It’s important to have pieces of furniture near each other so your baby can comfortably cruise from one spot to another.
As your baby stands on their own, make sure they can lean on furniture like they do while cruising. Make sure your baby has a soft place to land if they fall while learning to balance.
Sitting or Standing Stage
Your baby will sometimes fall as they move from sitting to standing and back to sitting again. You might place a rug, pillows, and blankets in the area, so your baby doesn’t land on the hard floor. Keep an eye on your baby to avoid the risk of suffocation.
Helping My Little One Walk: Do Toys Actually Help?
There are different ways you can support your little one as they learn how to walk. You can show your baby how to bend their legs. It’s important to avoid helping your baby sit or stand (even though it’s tempting!) as they need to learn to do that on their own.
You can also hold out your hands when your baby is standing so they can walk toward you. They may want to hold your hands as they practice walking too so they can learn how to balance.
Are Walkers Recommended?
Baby walkers are not recommended for babies who are learning to walk. This is because babies’ leg muscles can’t develop properly with the use of a walker.
However, many parents do believe that walkers can help babies to walk better and gain more balance.
I would suggest using them once your baby no longer needs to learn to walk. You can also use a baby activity walker for other uses. For example, some of these walkers have a shape sorter and activity panel.
These activities can help develop various motor skills. Little ones may like to sit and play with piano keys and light-up buttons as well.
The Labebe Baby Walker has fun toys your child can play with rather than using it as a walking aid.
Babies and children like to play with wooden push toys and shopping carts. The Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon is a popular push toy. Some of these toys are traditionally used as walking toys, but they should be used for playing instead. Fisher-Price and Melissa Doug also make similar toys!
It’s essential to keep an eye on your baby while they are using any type of walker. Babies may climb on these and reach dangerous items.
Should Babies Wear Shoes?
With your baby walking, you might think it’s the perfect time for them to start wearing shoes. In reality, this isn’t the best choice, and babies should walk around barefoot.
When your baby is learning how to walk, they need to gain coordination, balance and develop other important skills. Shoes can make it harder for your baby to learn how to walk.
Once your baby is a little older and has gotten the hang of walking, you can put shoes on them. There’s no need for babies to wear shoes before this point, no matter how cute baby shoes can be.
It’s best to avoid the use of walking toys while your child is learning to walk. By letting your child learn to walk on their own, their little leg muscles can develop properly.
What’s important is that you support your baby as they learn how to walk.
- Anchor bookcases and add supports to wobbly furniture
- Place ottomans or chairs close together to help them cruise
- Place corner protectors on sharp edges furniture
There are many different ways to help your baby learn how to walk. Babies begin to walk at different ages, so don’t worry if your baby isn’t walking right at one year of age!