Learning to Walk

Is your baby crawling? Has he begun to pull up on anything that can (and some things that can’t) bear his weight? If so, “cruising” can’t be far behind.

Babies who learn to pull themselves upright soon begin sliding their feet along the floor while holding onto the edge of furniture as they do. Known as cruising, this form of motion opens many new frontiers for eager explorers. Now they see the world from a different level, and can reach a whole new range of places and objects.

At this stage of walking, learning to fold his legs and sit back down can be as challenging as learning to pull up in the first place.

In the next stage of learning to walk, babies become more confident cruisers, putting their weight on their feet and using their hands for balance—and collecting objects as they travel. Soon, a cruiser will learn to move across small gaps between one handhold to another.

Now the budding toddler can travel along a well-furnished living room. He is on the verge of taking his first unsupported step. Sometimes a baby tries to cross a gap from one support to another and discovers it is too far to reach.

He may find himself standing unsupported and upright for the first time. It may be such a surprise that he bursts into tears (or laughter) and falls down.

Don’t worry, it won’t be long before he tries it again and then uses that balanced stand to attempt 2 or 3 toddled steps. Once a few steps become commonplace, your baby officially becomes a toddler.

So When Do Babies Start to Walk?

About 50% of babies start walking (or trying to walk) by 12 months of age. But the norm can vary from 9–16 months.

Walking—like standing—requires muscle strength, balance and plenty of starts and stops. All of that varies from child to child. Infants who are strong crawlers likely prefer the easier mobility of getting from one place to another on hands and knees.

Don’t worry—your baby will be a walking toddler soon enough, and you’ll be busier than ever chasing after him or her.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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