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The Move to Walking: How to Get Your Baby on Their Feet

walking babyYou may not realize it, but babies are preparing themselves for walking from pretty much the word go.

Like everything, it begins in the core, and almost everything your baby does in the first few months of life, from eating to crying to pooing is a core workout. This culminates in their ability to sit on their own, which should happen between 4 and 5 months. Some babies get to this point faster, others take more time. Don’t worry if yours is late to the sitting party; they’ll get there eventually.

Once they can hold themselves up, it’s up to you to start encouraging leg strength and movement. This begins with bouncing. Balancing them on your thighs and letting them bounce is a wonderful way to do this (and enjoy some bonding). Bouncy chairs and door jumpers are another option, the benefit to these being the promotion of independent development. Make sure to put a soft surface beneath their feet to protect their still-underdeveloped knees. Blankets or floor mats work well in this regard.

At around nine months (again, some babies get here faster than others), you’ll start to see your little one pull themselves up either by grabbing your hands or holding on to a piece of furniture in your house. This is when you can start to consider stocking up on walkers to help your baby get to independence. The best ones have toys on them to keep a baby’s attention. This will encourage them to keep playing with it and, by extension, keep practicing their bi-pedal movements.

By 14 months, your baby will have gotten used to the feeling of being on their feet and may start walking on their own. They’ll probably fall a few times and you should let them, no matter how hard it is for you to watch. You can pick them up and put them back on their feet the first few times, but you should eventually let them figure out how to get up on their own because by this point, they can probably do it.

From there, the development moves fast and furiously. At 15 months, they’ll be pretty good walkers and may even be able to multitask on their feet (pulling toys, pointing at things). By 16 months, they’ll start to take an interest in stairs and drawers, which you should be prepared for beforehand with safety gates and other baby-proofing solutions. By 18 months, they’ll have learned to climb up on furniture and may even begin dancing around; and by their second birthday, they’ll be full-fledged walkers and the never-ending chase begins.

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