Babies start checking off several milestones from the very first day they are born. From their first full-throated cry to the first grin, and their first burp, babbling ‘dada’ or ‘mama’ to crawling for the first time makes any parent jump with excitement. But the big moment when the camera comes out and starts rolling is your baby’s first steps.
While some babies start walking at a very young age, others may take more time to get there. Before babies take their first step, they go through a series of milestones that finally helps them get there.
Milestones Babies Pass Before They Walk
Your baby’s head will be wobbly soon after birth. By the time they are 3 or 4 months old, their body will be able to support their head. They will also learn to push up. Their core strength is slowly developing at this stage. You may notice them rolling from one side to another in a month or two after that. Between the age of 4 to 9 months, your baby will learn to sit on their own. They will start scooting in the few months after that, somewhere between 6-11 months of age (1).
Once your baby learns to sit upright, it won’t be long before they are eager to stand on their own. Your baby will try to pull themselves up to stand on their feet. This milestone is achieved anywhere between 8-11 months of age.
Crawling is one step which some babies don’t tick off their checklist. And that’s completely normal. A baby can jump straight to walking from the rolling stage. When babies do crawl, it’s mostly from 6 months to 13 months of age.
Standing solo is an important milestone before your baby starts walking. To achieve this stage, balance is key. Your baby could be doing this step anywhere between 6 to 14 months of age (2).
Your little one could start walking as early as 8 months. Some babies take their first step halfway through their second year of life. So don’t sweat it if your baby is taking a little more time than others. Some kids might also be more interested in playing sitting down, unlike others who like to stand and walk. But if your baby is taking longer than 18 months old, or is getting close to his/her second birthday, it’s best to consult a doctor.
Things You Can Do To Help Your Baby Walk
Though you cannot actually make them walk, here are a few things that you can do as parents:
1. Offer Your Support
Offer your hand when your child is learning to walk but wants some support. Hold his/her hands enough that they don’t topple over. But make sure your grip is not too tight or high that it’s straining their shoulders or elbows.
2. Stop Carrying Him/Her All The Time
Give them enough space and independence to develop their skills. If they are just beginning to walk, put them down and help them by holding their hands.
3. Encourage Them
Every time your baby passes a milestone, be it their first crawl or the first time they stood up, praise them. Tell positive words and encourage them to keep doing it. You can place their favorite toy out of reach so that they crawl or start walking towards it. Simply sitting at knee level and reaching out your arms can be encouraging for your baby to walk towards you.
4. Push Toys
Though baby walkers are a big no as they can cause serious injuries, you can get your baby a stationary walker or a push toy (3). Your baby can lean on it and also be motivated to take those baby steps.
Baby’s first steps are a memorable event in every parent’s life. And though each baby takes their own time to be mobile, consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.