The first steps of our children is one of the most exciting stages. He is growing! It is seems that before this moment, you have had many doubts and even wondered when your baby will start to walk and if he is “on time”.
When does a baby start to walk?
Walking is a process that involves learning and body maturation. There isn’t a set time. Doctors say that babies can walk around 9 to 16 months. The range is high because each girl or boy is unique and has his own rhythm.
It is a milestone in development, so it is not punctual. It does not have a specific time, it must go through some phases that indicate that he is ready. “Babies are born, then they control their head first, followed by their hands, hips, knees and feet. This is how the human body matures. They usually walk between the ninth and sixteenth month. Some babies do not crawl, they just start walking, but most do crawl and it is better if they do so”, said Dr. Rebeca Huerta, a pediatrician from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Is it better to walk early?
According to the specialist, whether a baby walks sooner or later is irrelevant, “He will start walking when he is ready. There are times when babies feel safe crawling and they take their time before walking because they get everywhere crawling. When the requirement to walk is imposed, they will begin to take their first steps”.
Should I be concerned if my baby is not walking yet?
If your baby is around 10, 11, or 16 months old, you shouldn’t worry if he still isn’t walking. After that time, it is important to be evaluated and tested by a doctor.
“A lot of moms and dads get stressed because they compare their kids to other kids. They say, ‘Jane’s baby’ is already walking or ‘her cousins’ are already walking, but they must remember that it is an individual process”, adds Huerta.
There are parents who even wonder if there is a way to help a baby walk earlier, but as parents we should not restrict any phase of his development. We are facing a process of maturity, if you try to speed it up, you can affect your baby.
Can I use a walker?
For Huerta, the use of walkers and harnesses makes no sense because a healthy baby will walk, at some point.
In addition, these devices have shown to be unsafe. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not to use them because they inhibit crawling and can cause accidents.
“We have received children in the emergency room because they fall down the stairs, trip over a piece of furniture and something falls on them; they take sharp or pointed objects and insert them into the sockets. It is true that there are also risks when they crawl, but with the walker accidents happen more easily”.
The importance of free movement
In recent years, a theory called “Free Movement” has resurfaced with force. It was described by Emmi Pikler in 1969 and speaks of the importance of respecting the autonomy of girls and boys in their learning process.
In this sense, we parents only ensure the right environment to our children.
The Pikler Theory defends that we should let babies move freely, that is, they are not forced, placed in any position or artificial methods to help them. We have to rely on the innate ability of babies to reach the evolutionary motor milestone.
If we try to speed up our child’s walking process, we will be making a mistake, because we run the risk that he misses crucial moments that will make him more skillful in the future.
How do I know my baby is ready to walk?
You’ll notice right away.
- Your baby won’t stop moving, he slips from your arms or lap and if she is sitting she will try to stand up.
- You notice that her pelvic girdle is strong and he tries to get up on her own.
- He looks for furniture or people to hold onto and seek support.
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What should I do when my baby starts to walk?
Ideally, when your baby starts to crawl or walk, you would transform your house to avoid accidents:
- Babyproof all outlets with plastic covers
- Make space in your house. Remove tables and furniture with pointed corners to prevent tripping and hitting his head.
- Watch out for loose wires. Remember that the baby is curious by nature and will try to pull them.
- Remove objects on the floor to avoid tripping.
- Watch him carefully, it is very easy for a baby to take dangerous objects and even medicines or products that can be dangerous.
- Take him by the hand as many times as he wants to walk with your support and don’t let go until he feels safe.
- Don’t forget to video record him. The first steps of your baby will be a very beautiful memory.
The walking stage is so much fun. Don’t force it, give time to your little one. If after 18 months your baby does not walk, it is important that you go to the doctor.
Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara
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