Your baby’s first steps are one of the most exciting milestones. For most children, walking is a natural skill — babies are born hardwired with the urge to walk, although the urge is stronger in some babies than in others. The National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families estimates most children begin walking by 11-14 months old. However every baby is different, so yours may start walking earlier or later than that.
If you’re wondering if your baby is gearing up to walk, here are some things to look for:
Pulling Up—Before they walk, many babies signal they are ready by pulling themselves into a standing position. This typically occurs after your baby has learned how to get into a sitting position. Your baby will hold onto a sturdy object such as a chair, the rails of a playpen, a table, or even your leg to help stand up from a seated position.
Cruising—Once your baby has mastered the ability to get up and down, it is usually followed by a few steps while holding furniture for balance. During the cruising stage, your baby will develop coordination, muscle strength and balance, while also practicing walking with the guidance of a sturdy and supportive object. Your baby’s walking confidence will grow as cruising practice continues, sometimes holding a standing position for several seconds before plopping back to a sitting position.
Standing—After babies are able to stand on their own without using an object for support, they will begin to hold their arms out for balance. They will practice standing then sitting, over and over again. When you see this, rest assured that it won’t be long before your baby is walking.
- Most babies take their first steps around their first birthday.
- A strong indicator babies are preparing to walk occurs when they grab objects to pull themselves to a standing position.
- Cruising, taking small steps while holding furniture for balance, helps babies develop coordination, muscle strength and balancing skills.
- As babies develop confidence and the ability to balance on their own, they will begin to take their first independent steps.