Your baby’s first steps are THE milestone moment. Parents never forget the first time their baby starts walking. When you little one starts walking varies from baby to baby. Most will probably walk at between 12 and 15 months. But some babies may walk as early as 9 months old!
You might find walking can happen quite suddenly. One day your baby is crawling and looking as if they’ll never walk, the next, they’re trying to take their first wobbly steps. But it’s actually a process that’s been a long time running for your little one.
When your baby is born, they have a step reflex – if you hold them upright with the feet on a flat surface you’ll notice they lift one after another. This disappears when he’s about 2 months old.
Later, when he’s 3 months old or so, he’ll start to push himself up while lying on his tummy. This helps develop the strong back muscles he needs to start walking.
At about 5 months, your baby will like ‘feeling his feet’ and bouncing on your lap.
The next key phase of learning to walk is being able to sit up without support This will happen when he’s around 6-9 months old.
The more obvious signs of learning to walk will follow shortly afterwards. Many babies will be crawling before they walk. Others have different ways of propelling themselves around; some are bottom-shufflers, whilst others are rolling over to get to where they want to.
The first stage of learning to walk is when your baby pulls up to a standing position while holding on to you or a piece of furniture. Then they’ll start ‘cruising’ – making their way around the room by holding onto objects. Gradually they’ll start to stand on their own, if only for a few seconds.
After that, it will only be a short time before those first wobbly steps are taken.
How can Mum Help?
- Give your baby lots of time on his tummy when he’s awake as this strengthens the muscles needed for walking. Encourage him to lift his head and chest by holding a toy just above him.
- When he starts crawling or otherwise getting about, give him lots of praise. Put toys out of reach to encourage crawling to reach them.
- Once your baby can stand upright, you can hold hands and guide them to walk towards you. And you can help with sitting down from a standing position by showing how it’s done.
Your baby’s first steps will be unsteady, but he’ll quickly learn to walk more confidently and will gradually be able to get around on his own. He’ll start trying to go up and downstairs at about 16 months and might be able to kick a ball at about 18 months old. Soon you’ll be running around trying to keep up with them!
Go back to see Baby Development Milestones: Crawling