The moment when your baby takes their first steps is the moment you’ve been eagerly anticipating since you brought your baby home. What you probably don’t know is that your baby has been training to walk since they were born. Find out how each of your baby’s physical milestones leads to those first steps and how to be ready for when your bundle of joy goes on the move.
Building muscles and coordination
It starts with rolling over and by the time your baby can sit up by themselves, they’ve developed the coordination and muscle strength to propel themselves into motion. Not long after they can sit up, your baby will either learn to balance on their hands and knees, eventually figuring out how to push off their knees into a crawl or they might choose another method of getting around, such as scooting on their bum, slithering on their stomach or rolling across the room.
It doesn’t really matter how your baby chooses to get around, as long as they are using their arms and legs equally on both sides and learning to coordinate them.
Help your baby train the right muscles
Giving your baby lots of tummy time even before they’re ready to start crawling will help them develop the muscles they need. Check out these fun tummy time exercises that you can do with your baby.
You can also encourage crawling by placing toys or other objects your baby loves to play with just out of reach. This gives them the motivation to get moving.
Another fun way to help your baby practice their crawling skills is to create an obstacle course with pillows, cushions and other soft objects.
Helpful hint #1: When your baby starts moving, they’ll start getting into all sorts of nooks and crannies. Make sure your home is childproof, with dangerous items out of your little one’s reach.
From crawling to walking
At around 9 months, your baby should start to pull themselves up into a standing position. Help them along by propping them against the sofa and ensuring the furniture within their reach is sturdy enough to support them.
Your baby will probably spend 2 to 3 months mastering standing, as well as learning how to bend their knees and go from standing to sitting. It’s harder than you think and your baby might need some help from you to work it out. If they cry out for you, don’t just pick them up and plop them down. Show them how to bend their knees so they can sit down without toppling over and let them try it out themselves.
When they’re more stable on their feet, your baby will start cruising – walking while holding on to furniture or you. From then on it’s only a matter of time before they’re taking those first tentative steps on their own, usually around their first birthday.
Helpful hint #2: When your baby starts cruising is a good time to introduce a push toy that they can hold on to as they walk.
Beyond your baby’s first steps
While your baby’s first steps are the milestone you’ve been eagerly awaiting, your baby still has much to learn before they master walking. As their balance improves, they’ll be able to stand on their own, as well as squat and get back up again.
By 18 months, your baby will be really interested in stairs. Keep an eye on them as they’ll be able to get up but will have difficulty coming back down again. They’ll also start climbing all over the furniture.
When your baby’s second birthday comes along, walking, running and jumping will be second nature.
Last Published* August, 2023
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.