When Do Babies Start Walking: What to Expect and How to Help

Mom in white sneakers with a young son, dressed in blue pants and blue shoes, a warm summer day and learn to walk in the street, the first steps, the mother maintains her son.

When do babies start walking, and how can you support your little one in taking those first steps? Discover key milestones and practical tips to help guide your baby on their exciting journey to becoming a confident walker!

Typical Walking Age

Parents Watching Baby Daughter Take First Steps At Home

Babies typically take their first steps between 9 and 15 months. However, it’s essential to remember that every child develops at their own pace!

Some might start walking as early as 8 months, while others may take their time until they’re 18 months old. This wide range is perfectly normal.

So, there’s no need to panic if your little one isn’t on their feet just yet. Instead of comparing milestones, focus on your baby’s unique journey.

Early Signs

Full-length portrait of adorable baby boy holding on cozy sofa while learning to walk, interior of spacious living room on background

Before babies take their first steps, they typically show several early signs of readiness. You might notice them pulling themselves up to stand while holding onto furniture.

Watch for cruising, where they sidestep along the couch or coffee table for support. Babies also start to balance on their legs when held in a standing position.

Additionally, you might see them bouncing while standing, which helps strengthen their leg muscles. Another sign is when they start to squat down to pick up toys.

Tummy Time

Cute little baby girl around 3 months old practices tummy time for strengthening back and neck muscles. She lays on a baby blanket on the floor on her stomach and reaches a baby milestone. Cute Latina baby child

Tummy time is crucial for your baby’s development. It lays the groundwork for many motor skills, including walking, by strengthening their neck, shoulder, arm, and core muscles.

This muscle development is essential for future milestones like rolling, sitting, crawling, and eventually walking. Start with short sessions of tummy time soon after birth, gradually increasing the duration.

To make it enjoyable, place colorful toys within their reach or get down on the floor and engage with them face-to-face. The more fun tummy time is, the better!

Sitting Up Independently

Childhood concept. Cute blonde infant baby biting rubber chew toys while sitting on carpet full of diverse games, sweet child toddler playing with teethers alone at cozy home interior, copy space

When babies start sitting up on their own, it’s a significant milestone that indicates they’re on the right track toward walking. Typically, babies can sit independently between 4 to 7 months.

This skill shows they have developed the core strength and balance necessary for more advanced movements. Sitting up helps babies explore their surroundings from a new perspective.

This boosts their curiosity and encourages them to reach and lean. Provide plenty of floor time with a variety of interesting toys placed just out of reach,

Crawling Milestone

Crawling is a critical milestone on the path to walking, usually occurring between 6 and 10 months. This stage involves complex coordination of the arms, legs, and core muscles.

Babies might start with the army crawl, dragging themselves forward with their arms, before mastering the traditional hands-and-knees crawl. Some might even try the bear crawl, moving on hands and feet.

Each style is beneficial, helping to develop muscles and coordination. To encourage crawling, create a safe and engaging environment with plenty of space and interesting objects.

Pulling to Stand

Baby girl making her first steps alone with support from furniture in the living room

Pulling to stand is an exciting milestone that typically occurs between 8 and 12 months. This action demonstrates your baby’s increasing leg strength and balance.

You might notice your baby using furniture, toys, or even your legs to pull themselves up into a standing position. This newfound vertical perspective is thrilling!

It encourages further exploration and mobility. To support this development, provide stable furniture or safe, sturdy objects that your baby can use to pull up on.


Toddler baby boy rips off a cabinet drawer with his hand. The child holds the cabinet door handle, small kid

As your little explorer becomes more mobile, baby-proofing your home becomes essential. Start by securing heavy furniture and large items to the wall to prevent tipping.

Cover electrical outlets with safety plugs and keep cords out of reach. Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and ensure that sharp corners are padded.

Store hazardous substances, including cleaning supplies and medications, in locked cabinets. Move small objects and choking hazards out of reach, and secure cabinets and drawers with childproof locks.

Supportive Footwear

Young family enjoying in time with a baby at home

The right footwear is key! While indoors, allowing your baby to walk barefoot or in non-slip socks helps strengthen their foot muscles and improve balance.

For outdoor adventures, opt for lightweight, flexible shoes with a wide toe box that allows natural movement. Look for shoes with non-slip soles for traction and a secure fit.

Avoid stiff or heavy shoes, as they can hinder your baby’s mobility and comfort. The best shoes are those that mimic the natural shape of bare feet.


Parents At Home Encouraging Baby Daughter To Take First Steps

Encouraging your baby as they learn to walk is vital for their confidence and motivation. Celebrate every small step and attempt with enthusiastic praise and smiles.

Create a safe and inviting environment where they can explore and practice walking, free from hazards. Hold their hands and guide them, gradually letting go.

Place favorite toys just out of reach to inspire those first independent steps. Be patient and positive, understanding that every baby progresses at their own pace.

Assisted Walking

Unrecognizable female person holding hands of a happy smiling Little boy ,learning to walk

Around 9 to 12 months, your baby can may enjoy holding your hands or using a push toy to practice walking. This gives them the support they need.

Push toys, like sturdy walkers or activity tables, can provide a fun and safe way for your baby to gain confidence in their walking skills. Always supervise closely!

When holding their hands, let them take the lead, moving at their own pace. Assisted walking is an important stage in your baby’s journey to independent mobility.

Baby Walkers and Alternatives

colorful empty baby walker

While baby walkers might seem like a helpful tool, they can actually hinder walking development and pose safety risks. Instead, consider using push toys or stationary activity centers.

These allow your baby to stand and move safely. They also provide support without compromising their ability to learn balance and coordination.

Always supervise your baby during these activities to ensure they stay safe and get the most out of their walking practice. Every small step is a victory!


Young mothers playing with baby girl in living room.

Playtime is a fantastic opportunity to support your baby’s walking development. Engage in activities that encourage movement and balance, such as games where they can pull up to stand.

They could also involve cruising along furniture or crawling through tunnels. Interactive toys that light up or make sounds can entice them to move and explore.

Simple games like rolling a ball back and forth or having a mini dance session can be both fun and beneficial. Remember, the goal is to make movement enjoyable!

Balanced Diet

Father feeds his baby in the kitchen

A balanced diet plays a crucial role in your baby’s overall development. Ensure they get a variety of nutrients from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins.

to support strong bones and muscles. Calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health, so include dairy products or fortified alternatives.

Iron-rich foods like lean meats, beans, and leafy greens help with energy levels, while healthy fats from avocados and nuts (in safe forms) support brain development.

Patience is Key

Father helping daughter learn to walk at home, side view

Patience is crucial as your baby learns to walk. Every child develops at their own pace, and it’s important to celebrate their unique journey without rushing them.

Resist the urge to compare their progress with others. Instead, focus on providing a supportive and encouraging environment. Offer plenty of opportunities for them to practice walking.

However, allow them to take breaks and rest when needed. Celebrate small achievements and be a comforting presence during falls and wobbles.

Doctor Visits

Rear view of shirtless toddler sitting on the table while doctor listening to him with stethoscope

Regular doctor visits are essential to monitor your baby’s walking development and overall health. Pediatricians track milestones to ensure your baby is progressing as expected.

If you have any concerns about their walking, don’t hesitate to discuss them during these appointments. Your doctor can provide personalized advice, address any potential issues, and recommend exercises.

These check-ups are also a great time to ask about nutrition, safety, and other aspects of your baby’s growth. Staying proactive with doctor visits ensures that any concerns are addressed early.

Limit Screen Time

Mixed race Indian black mother with toddler baby girl watching cartoons on tablet. Ethnic diversity. Family mom with kid using technology. Video chat, video call. Black people community.

Excessive screen time can detract from active play, which is essential for developing the muscles and coordination needed for walking. Encourage interactive activities that promote movement.

This can be playing with toys, crawling, and exploring their environment. Reading books, singing songs, and engaging in imaginative play are great alternatives that stimulate their mind.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding screen time for children under 18 months, except for video chatting. Prioritize active play and direct interaction.

Model Walking

Two male friends are out in Tynemouth, North East UK. They are walking on a sidewalk and pushing their baby sons in strollers. They are wearing warm clothing.

Babies are like tiny, curious sponges, absorbing every bit of information from their surroundings. One of the best ways to encourage your baby to start walking is by modeling the behavior yourself.

Walk around your home while maintaining a cheerful demeanor. This not only captures their interest but also helps them understand the mechanics of walking.

Try holding their hands and guiding them through a few steps. Celebrate their attempts with claps and cheers. The more they see and try, the more confident they’ll become.

Floor Space

Baby Boy walking on wooden floor.

Creating a safe and open floor space is essential for encouraging your baby to walk. Clear out any obstacles like coffee tables, rugs, and toys that could trip them up.

A spacious, clutter-free area provides the perfect environment for those first wobbly steps. Lay down a soft mat or carpet to cushion any falls, as tumbles are part of the learning process.

Consider setting up small, reachable furniture or sturdy objects for your baby to hold onto as they cruise around. This freedom to explore helps build their balance and coordination.

Tracking Progress

Woman indoors at home relaxing on sofa with her analog notebook

Keeping an eye on your baby’s walking milestones can be both exciting and reassuring. Note the dates when they start pulling up to stand, cruising along furniture.

Log these achievements using a baby journal or an app designed for tracking developmental milestones. Celebrate each step (literally!) with enthusiasm to boost their confidence.

If you notice any delays or have concerns, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician for guidance. Remember, every baby develops at their own pace, so patience and encouragement are key.

Sibling Influence

Happy boy playing with toddler on grassy field. Kids are wearing casuals. They are enjoying at back yard.

Older siblings can play a significant role in encouraging a baby to walk. Watching a big brother or sister move confidently around the house can be a powerful motivator.

Encourage older siblings to engage in simple, safe games that involve movement, like rolling a ball back and forth or playing a gentle game of tag.

This not only provides the baby with a role model but also makes the learning process enjoyable. Plus, it strengthens the bond between siblings as they share in the excitement.

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