Walking is one of the most important milestones in a baby’s life. The ability to stand opens up more opportunities for the child to explore and interact with their world.
Similar to the other milestones babies achieve in their lives, learning to walk is also a process and has multiple stages. While some babies go through these different stages and gain the ability to walk within 9 months, other babies are able to do so in 14 months. These different stages are –
- Pushing up – This stage is observed between the 3rd & 4th month. During this time babies start to kick their legs and learn to pull their bodies in the upward direction. Babies also gain the ability to control the movement of their head and are able to push themselves up whilst they are lying on their stomach. This develops the strength of their core muscles.
- Rolling – This stage is observed between the 3rd & 6th month. During this time babies roll their bodies initially from the front to the back and later when they gain more control of their movements, they are able to roll from their back to the front. There are high chances that babies might hurt themselves by falling off of the bed so parents need to be extra vigilant.
- Sitting up – This stage is observed between the 4th & 9th month. The baby learns to stay in an upright position without any support by learning to use the muscles in its trunk.
- Crawling – This stage is observed between the 6th & 13th month. The baby uses both its hands and knees to speedily move across the floor.
- Pulling to a stand – This stage is observed between the 8th & 11th month. Babies on learning how to sit get an urge to stand and reach out to thing that are kept far from their reach and are able to pull themselves up to a standing position with the help of furniture around the house.
- Walking with help – This stage is observed between the 8th & 13th month. Babies do not learn to walk properly by themselves. Parents have to hold their hands and make them walk so that they gradually develop the habit to walk on their own.
- Standing without help – This stage is observed between the 8th & 14th month. When the baby learns to balance its body, it can stand on its own without taking support from furniture or from its parents.
- Walking without help – This stage is observed between the 8th & 18th month. The baby finally learns how to lift off one foot while balancing on the other. Initially, they are very wobbly on their feet and have a wide stance and outstretched arms while walking but with practice, they are able to improve their stance and walk normally.
In contrast to standing up where the babies have to tense a lot of muscles to stand, for walking they have to relax their hips and knees a bit which comes as a challenge initially resulting the babies to fall over their steps while they’re trying to walk.
When babies find something interesting and they have to reach over to it, then they might initially stand up but most often switch to crawling over to reach their object of interest faster.
Tips to help babies walk
- Using props – sturdy toys and furniture around the house help the baby to come up to a standing position without falling
- Holding hands – holding the babies upright while they move around in a standing position helps to make them feel comfortable about keeping upright without the fear of falling over.
- Standing further back – while encouraging the baby to walk, the parents can put some distance between themselves and the baby, making the baby want to stand up and reach out by walking over.
- Standing them back up – if the baby falls while walking, the parents can help the baby stand upright so that it doesn’t resort to crawling.
- Walking bare feet – learning to walk with bare feet helps the baby to build balance and keep a natural stride unlike when they start to learn walking in shoes.
- Avoiding baby walkers – these have wheels and the child can sit inside it and propel itself forward with the help of their legs. But this device is more risky than it is beneficial given the fact that it is dangerous around open doors and stairs and can get stuck in between places.