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When do babies start walking?

So, when do babies start walking?

If you have noticed your baby becoming more mobile on the floor, you may start wondering when it will be time for your baby to stand up on their own feet and take their first steps. Your baby’s first year of life is full of milestones as they begin to develop quickly. One of these milestones may be walking. 

Before they walk, there’s a chance that your baby will learn how to crawl or pull themselves around on the floor. This isn’t always the case. Some babies go from sitting up to walking, it just depends on what your baby is comfortable with doing. Whether they chose to crawl first or go straight into their first steps, both ways are completely normal. 

So, when do babies start walking? We’ll be giving you plenty of in-depth information so that you’re more aware of when your baby may decide to take their first steps. However, it’s important to remember that all babies are different and therefore, do develop at different speeds. As a simple answer, once your baby can support themselves properly and use their arms and legs, it may be a good time to start standing them up and getting them used of the feeling of being on their feet. From here, you can work with your baby to develop their mobility day after day.

when do babies start walking

What age do babies start walking - is it months or years?

As we mentioned earlier, babies reach different milestones at different times, so you shouldn’t be worried if your baby doesn’t develop as quickly as others. However, babies usually take their first steps between 9 and 15 months. But this doesn’t mean they will be able to walk independently straight away – that will take time. Your baby’s first steps may look a bit strange as they work to try and find their balance. They usually take large steps and outstretch their arms to prevent them from falling. This is completely normal.

Before taking their first steps, it’s important to see if your baby can stand on their feet whilst holding onto you or something else. This will develop their balance before they decide to take steps. Your baby has to use a lot of muscles to stand up – but even more to walk. Your baby will need to learn how to relax their hips and legs whilst walking. This can take some time but can be helped by doing small amounts of step taking each day. Over time, they will learn how to get just the right amount of muscle tension in their legs. Once they loosen up – it won’t be long before their causing mischief around the house!

Another challenge is learning how to stop! Once your baby gets going, it can be hard for them to know what to do when they want to slow down, this usually ends with a bit of a tumble! Your baby will fall into their steps when they first walking – this is all a part of finding their balance. You’ll be able to notice that your child does not bend their knees whilst walking – this is another thing they will learn to do as they get more comfortable on their feet.

Even when your baby begins walking – it’s not unusual for them to still crawl around sometimes. In their mind, crawling somewhere may be quicker than walking sometimes!

when do babies start walking

Why do babies start walking at different times in their development?

Some babies find the process of walking quite easy and manage to get the hand of it very quickly. However, others can take a little bit longer. This isn’t anything you should worry about and you shouldn’t start comparing your child’s development against anyone else’s. It’s important that you give your baby time to learn how to do their own things rather than pushing them too much.

There are factors that contribute towards why your baby is an early starter or a late starter. Some of these may need your doctor’s advice or assistance as to what actions you can take to help your little one…

  • Your baby’s size. Size is another thing that ranges in babies. Some children can be very small as their developing whereas others grow faster and therefore weigh more. If your baby is very small and light, it’s likely that they will begin to walk quicker. However, this isn’t guaranteed. If your baby is slightly bigger and goes through growth spurts throughout their early development, this can impact how long it takes them to get onto their feet. This is because if your baby is slightly heavier, they will need more strength to pull themselves up.
  • Ear related problems. If your child suffers from ear infections or problems with their ears, this can be a factor that can have an effect on when they begin walking. Ear infections can have a huge impact on balance and therefore stop your baby from walking. If you feel like this is the issue your baby may be experiencing, it’s a good idea to go and see a doctor to find out what they recommend. 
  • Siblings. If your baby has older siblings, they may watch and follow what they do. This can in future lead to them walking sooner as they want to copy what their brother or sister is doing.

What’s the earliest a baby can take their first steps and walk?

The earliest a baby has been recorded to have started walking is 6 and a half months. This is extremely rare but is possible. You shouldn’t expect your baby to become mobile at this age as most are only getting used to standing or crawling around at this point. 

If your baby is to start walking earlier, it will probably be around the 9-month mark. This is where a lot of babies begin to find their balance and get the hang off standing up and taking a few steps. Let your baby take their time when learning how to walk. It can be an incredibly hard task for them and it’s great to give them space and time. 

when do babies start walking

How to encourage a baby and infants to walk

You’ll be able to see when your baby is ready to walk. Their confidence will be much more evident and their balance whilst standing will be much more stable. They may just need some encouragement to get going. Walking can be a scary thing for a baby as it’s their first sign on becoming more independent. We have a few things that you can do as a parent to encourage your child to take their first steps and get going.

Things to encourage your baby to start walking...

  • High praise. The best thing you can give your baby is a lot of praise – especially when it comes to learning how to walk. If they feel they have your support, they will be much more encouraged to do it. Enthusiasm also really helps give your child confidence when it comes to taking their first steps. Make sure you use a big smile and encouraging actions to help them along.
  • Be there as much as you can. As we mentioned earlier, once your baby gets the hang of walking, there will probably be a few falls. Getting used to stopping and standing still after walking can be difficult for your baby so it’s important that you’re nearby to catch them. If they do take a little fall, you will also be there to make them feel better and console a few tears if needed.
  • Give them your hand. It’s important that your baby learns how to balance on their own but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer your assistance. To start off with, give them your hand and walk alongside them. You can also practice stopping and starting to help them get their balance each time. Once they have mastered this and they feel more confident, you can walk in front or behind them with your arms out to catch them if they fall. This will make your child feel very supported and not afraid of walking around.
  • Try a few challenges. Once your baby has got the hang of walking around, you can then test them on different surfaces. These include slight inclines/declines and uneven surfaces. This will help with your baby’s strength and is great training to carry out early on. 
when do babies start walking

When should I get my baby walking shoes?

You should only think about getting your baby shoes when they can confidently walk around outside. Some parents get them before this just for fashion purposes – which is completely fine. However, when buying shoes purely for your child to walk around in, there’s not much point doing this unless they can actually walk!

When your child is at home, there’s no need for them to wear shoes and you can leave them to walk around barefoot. However, once you feel that they are good enough to start walking on their own outside of the home, you should invest in some comfortable shoes. You can test these out in your home before your baby goes out in them to make sure they do not cause them any discomfort and that they don’t prevent them from walking properly.

What do I need to look for in a baby shoe to make walking comfortable?

When finding the right size, you can take your child to a qualified children’s shoe fitter where they will be able to get the perfect size. This is really important as if they are too loose, it could cause your baby to trip up. If they are too tight, it will be very uncomfortable to walk around. It also important to remember that they will grow very quickly so finding shoes that allow some room for growth will save you some money for a little while!

Fastening the shoes needs to be as easy as possible so that you can do it quickly enough when you’re on your way out. You don’t want to be trying to tie laces on a fidgety baby! Velcro and buckles are easy ways to put your child’s shoes on and is also easy enough for them to do it when they are old enough. In future, this will encourage your little one to get themselves ready when you’re going out.

After wearing the shoes for a little while, make sure you regularly check your baby’s feet for any soreness or blisters. It’s quite normal to get these when wearing new shoes and it’s important to try and avoid it if possible. If you do notice blisters forming, it’s a good idea to have their foot size checked again. If nothing has changed, you may need to add some extra padding the area causing the blisters or find another material.

when do babies start walking

When should I worry about my baby not walking and their development?

As we have said before, you shouldn’t worry if your baby doesn’t begin walking when others do. In the period between 9-18 months, your child will most likely develop to be able to take their first steps. However, if it reaches past 18 months and your child is still not showing any signs of starting to walk, you can go and get advice from a doctor or nurse. 

This may be nothing to worry about and your baby might just need some help to get going. It can also be a sign that your baby’s motor skills aren’t developing properly. You shouldn’t panic if you find this out. Instead, listen to your doctor about what they recommend doing next. There are plenty of things to try to strengthen your baby’s legs and encourage them to start taking some steps.

It’s also important to remember that if your baby was born prematurely, this could also have an impact on when they begin walking. Use your baby’s original due date to work out their adjusted age. This may make it easier to understand why they are reaching milestones a little later. For example, if your baby is born 2 months early, they may be two months behind when it comes to goals and milestones.

Take small steps at a time

Waiting for your baby to take their first steps is something all parents look forward to – but it’s seriously important to let them do it in their own time. If you notice other children are getting the hang of it sooner, give your baby their own time to learn and gain confidence in the run up to taking the big step. Encouragement is always great but make sure you don’t overdo it and turn walking into a negative experience for your baby. Make it positive and try it out only when you can see they feel ready to go. 

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