Baby walking is one of the most significant milestones that indicates that a child is growing and developing normally. Each child grows at their own pace, so baby walking occurs at different stages, typically between nine and twelve months, so you can expect your baby to be either an early or late walker -they are both okay (if he or she is taking too long, ask your doctor). As parents, it is common for us to expect the arrival of this milestone anxiously; since it marks the beginning of a new era raising your little one.
If you're wondering whether or not your baby is close to giving his or her first steps, here are some of the usual stages babies go through before they start walking so you can identify how ready or close she or he is:
The first sign that your little one will soon be walking is when they start to creep or combat crawl. This is pulling themselves forwards using the arms with the belly and legs dragging on the floor. A baby may also scoot sideways or backward on his bottom to reach for something. This is a major step of the child walking.
After a while, you may notice your little one rocking back and forth on the spot for a few moments before trying to move forwards. Babies do this as they try to figure out a way to get up and move forward. The typical move is to push backward then first times because try to stand up while using the arms for support as they are better developed than the legs.
Crawling gives a baby their first taste of freedom. However, watching you and everyone walking around them will probably inspire them for more. They will soon figure out that those who are walking are using their legs to do so and they will use their arms to pull up into a standing position. This will be done with the help of the table, couch or your legs or whatever else can offer support.
As they manage to pull themselves up, they may not know how to stay standing or sit back down. Keep an eye and provide support to help them remain standing or sit back down without falling.
After mastering the pull-up and what it feels like to stand up, your little one will want to move while standing. Babies will be doing this by putting one foot tentatively in front of the other while holding on to someone or furniture. This is called cruising and it´s a safe way for babies to practice keeping their balance while strengthening their leg muscles. Ensure they have support, so they don't topple over and hurt themselves.
The full walk
Your baby may cruise for a few weeks before he or she develops the stability and confidence to take a step without holding on to anything or anyone. However, they won't typically let go at once. Baby walking will be one step forward and then a terrified step backward for the support.
However, with time, your child will take a few steps unsupported when called out to from a short distance away or when they want to go for something that is across the room. Still, fear can kick in and your child may sit for a moment before getting to something or someone.
At this stage, be encouraging so they take a few more steps unsupported. Hold out your arms for them to come to you or hold out what they want. Celebrate the steps with claps and hugs and urge them on.
When to worry
Some babies go straight from creeping to walking without crawling. Others are more fearful and may stay in the different stages for longer. Most toddlers are walking by the age of 15 months or later. Others walk sooner. If you are worried or you notice a consistent problem with standing up, talk to your GP to rule out the possibility of joint problems or other health concerns that could be hindering the achievement of this significant milestone.