Are you ready to hear the pitter-patter of those little feet on the floor? Walking is a very important milestone for parents, and they are usually incredibly excited to see their baby take his or her first steps. When the baby reaches about 6 months old, most parents are eagerly waiting and wondering when their child will start walking? We often forget how complicated it actually is to walk and that babies need strong leg muscles to carry their body weight, strong ankles, hips and core for a sense of balance that helps them to remain upright. Some babies develop those combination of skills faster than others, but it is crucial to remember that many factors are at play here.
When do babies start to walk?
The short answer is that babies begin walking anytime between 8 and 16 months and sometimes even later than that. Of course, it is important to understand what is defined as “walking”. Sometimes parents will boast that their little one began walking at only 7 months, but what they were actually referring to was cruising, that is when the baby still holds onto something for stability. For the purposes of this article, walking will be defined as taking a few steps without holding onto something for stability. Before we go into more detail on the signs of walking by months, let us first explore the stages of walking.
The Stages of Walking
There is other developmental skills that babies need to achieve and master first before they can reach the milestone of walking independently.
- Sitting Up: At the age of around 6 months, a baby starts using the bottom part of his or her body to position himself or herself upright.
- Standing: Around the age of 10 months most babies manage to pull themselves up into a standing position. At this stage the legs need a lot of strength to support the upper part of the body.
- Cruising: The age of cruising varies quite a bit, but when babies master this skill, they will be able to move around the room by holding on to furniture as a support.
- Finally, Walking: This is when babies figure out how to lift one foot while balancing on the other. At this stage babies’ muscle strength is where it should be to support 70% of their body weight (their torso).
The Signs of Walking by Months
At about 6 months old your baby will be showing signs of walking. Will your baby be on the move soon? Here is what to look out for:
- 6-9 months: At this stage your baby will usually learn to sit up unassisted and begin to explore crawling. The timing of babies varies, and some might be a bit faster, while other a bit slower. The is no need for concern, unless your baby can’t sit up unassisted by 9 months old. In that case it is probably best to check in with your doctor.
- 9-12 months: At this stage your baby will begin to pull himself or herself up into a standing position while holding on to something for stability. Your child will also be able to stand unassisted for a little bit and figure out how to sit back down from standing. This is also the time where cruising begins, which is walking while holding onto furniture for stability. This is especially where parents find it confusing to figure out if their child is almost walking or has indeed mastered the walking milestone.
- 12-18 months: This is usually the stage where your baby has mastered walking, by that it is important to take into consideration that your now toddler will still be very wobbly and unsteady on his or her feet while walking. While it is still normal for your child not to be walking at 15 months old, it might just be a good idea to check in with your doctor at this stage to address any issues sooner, should there be any at all.