Feeding Your Toddlers Growing Needs
With all the growing and developing theyre doing its no wonder that for their size, your toddlers nutritional needs can be more than double your own!* So its really important to make sure they get a balanced diet packed with energy, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to help with all that extraordinary growing and toddling!
How Do I Know If My Baby Is Ready To Walk
If youre wondering if your baby is gearing up to walk, here are some signs 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 babys 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 wont be long before your baby is walking.
When Do Babies Usually Start Walking
Every baby reaches the walking milestone at a different time. However, your baby will likely take his first steps between 9 and 15 months. She’ll lurch along like Frankenstein as she gets used to her land legsa wide stance and outstretched arms are characteristics of all new walkers.
In order to stand, your baby has to contract a lot of muscles. But to walk, she eventually needs to relax her hips and knees a bit. “The challenge is figuring out how to get just the right amount of muscle tension in the legs,” Dr. Jensen says. But 1-year-olds are quick studiesit won’t take long until she loosens up and is tearing around the house.
Once they get going, the next challenge is figuring out how to stop. “We say beginning walkers ‘fall’ into their steps,” says Dr. Jensen. Each step has more force than an adult’s because newbies don’t bend their knees or use a heel-toe motion, both of which absorb some of the impact. They haven’t figured out how to break their forward momentum by stopping with one foot and bringing the trailing foot to meet it. Their way of stopping? Falling. “Usually it goes step, step, fall,” Dr. Jensen says.
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Note that it’s not uncommon for babies to alternate between crawling and walking. If your baby sees something across the room that requires her immediate attention, she may get down on all fours. It’s like she’s thinking, I have to get there right away, walking is going to take way too long.
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When Do Babies Usually Start To Stand
Pulling up and standing are fun, exciting developmental milestones for babies and parents alike. These important skills help babies develop their arm and leg muscles and give them a whole new, upright view of the world. Plus, standing is the prelude to cruising and walking, which means your baby will soon become a lot more mobile.
According to the CDC developmental milestone checklist, chart, infants can usually begin to:
- Stand, holding on to things between 6 to 9 months
- Pull to a standing position around 9 months
- Stand unassisted by their 1st birthday
How Can I Help My Baby Walk
The basic developmental mantra is ability and opportunity, says Cummings. Theyre not going to walk until they have the ability, but they need the opportunity. Hold their hands while theyre standing and give some loving encouragement. It can be as simple as placing the furniture so that your baby can hold onto one piece and move to another without obstacles in the way or putting toys on the couch rather than on the floor so that they pull themselves up to standing. Activity centres that encourage standing to play, such as water tables, play kitchens and workbenches, are another good idea, says Zahary. A push toy that allows them to hold on while they walk, such as a play cart or lawnmower, also helps kids who are close to walking on their own get the hang of it .
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How Babies Develop Walking Skills
Your baby will develop many skills, including balance, coordination, standing up and supporting their body weight from one leg to the other. Each new skill will build upon the previous skills, making them more prepared to start walking.
Watching your baby take their first steps on their own is an experience you’ll never forget. When your baby does start walking, it happens in stages, which include these big milestones:
6 months. Babies start to sit up on their own.
6-9 months. Babies start crawling.
9 months. Babies begin to pull themselves up on furniture like the couch or coffee table, so they can stand.
9-12 months. Babies may start to stand up, hold onto furniture and explore the room.
11-13 months. During this exciting time, you can expect to see your baby start to walk on their own.
Keep in mind that each baby is different and may start walking earlier or later than when the experts deem is “normal”. There can be a lot of variation among children’s development, and that’s totally normal.
If your baby is 18 months or older and hasnt started walking yet, or if youre concerned about your childs development, contact your pediatrician. Watch out for these warning signs of late walkers:
- Your baby doesn’t roll over in either direction or sit with help
- Your baby doesn’t support some weight on legs
- Your baby doesn’t try to attract your attention through their actions
- Your baby doesnt try to talk or babble
- Your baby shows no interest in games of peekaboo
When Do Babies Make The Transition To Independent Walking
As noted in the introduction, there is a wide range of variation here. Some babies begin before they are 9 months old. Others take 18 months or more.
Why is there so much variation, and what sort of factors predict whether a child will walk earlier or later?
Human bipedalism is a difficult trick to learn. Babies face many obstacles, including their own bodies.
For instance, a baby with skinny legs and a higher muscle-to-fat- ratio will have an easier time fighting gravity, and may begin walking sooner than a plumper, less muscular infant .
The timing of walking also depends on opportunities for movement and practice.
In general, babies who get more exercise time outside a sling, crib, or cradle tend to achieve motor milestones earlier in life. More specifically, babies learn to walk earlier if they get lots of practice with assisted walking taking steps forward while someone holds their hands.
Motivation is probably important, too. For example, researchers have found that babies are more likely to start learning to walk if they show an interest in accessing distant objects .
And something as mundane as clothing can make a difference.
Experimental research confirms that its harder for babies to walk when they are wearing diapers. The bulk gets in the way forcing them to waddle with their legs farther apart and babies are more likely to lose their balance and fall .
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Signs Baby Will Walk Soon
Baby doesnt hit the walking milestone overnight. In order to develop the necessary skills, babies need to progress through a series of other milestones before they can even think about taking their first steps. The road to walking begins very early on as you let baby practice tummy time, which helps strengthen and develop good head and neck control. Tummy time also sets baby up to learn how to roll over and then sit up by himself. From there, most babies start crawling , then pulling themselves up to standing , followed by cruising.
Cruising, which happens around 9 to 12 months, is babys way of testing the walking waters and is one of the biggest signs baby will walk soon. Hell try a few tentative baby first steps while holding on to something for supportthe couch, coffee table, pretty much whatever is in sight, so make sure any wobbly furniture is securely baby-proofed. Finally, baby will begin walking independently. Its normal for baby to spend a few weeks mastering each new skill before moving on to the next one, but not every child follows this timeline or even the same progression. Some children crawl for a few days and then get up and cruise, some crawl for months before they stand up, and some children never crawl, says Carrie M. Brown, MD, a pediatrician at Arkansas Childrens Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas.
How Can I Babyproof My House For A Newly Walking Baby
Just as you did when your baby first sat up and then started crawling, try to get down to babys range of vision and take a closer look at what might pose as a hazard as your newfound walker explores a much higher space than before. Like sleep training, baby proofing, and then toddler proofing, making your home safe for your child doesnt happen just once and youll find yourself continually making adjustments as necessary.
Can your baby now reach a metal picture frame they never could before? Move it higher. Are they obsessed with pulling themselves up by the tablecloth that has that heavy crystal vase on it? Uhhh, yeah, move it them both, like, yesterday. And if baby is also starting to climb on the bookcase or media console, make sure the books and the TV are secure so theres no hazard of them accidentally knocking anything on top of themselves.
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Lastly Standing & Walking Alone
Next, babies need to learn how to stand without help. This can happen between 6-14 months, and this can really help the babys balance.
Balance is the key skill in helping baby gain the confidence to start walking on their own.
Again, dont stress if your baby is just getting good at this skill a little after their 1st birthday. Its totally normal.
After the baby has learned how to stand on their own, the first steps will likely follow!
Your baby has an innate drive to become mobile, so as they are learning, it can be best to try and sit back while they explore their abilities.
Strategically placing toys just out of reach, calling them toward you from a few steps away, or asking them to go get something might be the little bit of motivation they need to take those first few steps.
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More Reading About Baby Development
As weve seen, babies dont learn to walk on a fixed time schedule. The timing can vary dramatically from one individual to the next. The same is true for many other motor skills. To learn more about it, see my article on opens in a new windowbaby motor milestones.
In addition, check out my guide to the opens in a new windowdevelopment of crawling, as well as these articles about baby development:
What Are Signs A Baby Is Going To Walk Soon
Unlike rolling over, which seems to start on a specific dayand never stop, theres lots of build-up before the first stepso youll probably see this milestone coming from, well, miles away. Generally, you will know that your baby is getting ready to walk when they can pull themselves up, cruise alongclinging to the sides of furniture for balance and stand independently for five to 10 seconds. By the time they can stand, most babies will be walking within a few months.
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Ways To Help Your Baby Start Walking
To help your baby start walking, you can try the following tips:
Play together. When youre around your baby, you can help them feel safer during playtime. That way, they’re more comfortable exploring and have higher confidence.
Encourage moving. Moving around helps your baby build their muscles, which will help them when they start walking and eventually running. You can do this by kneeling in front of your baby, holding out your hands and encouraging them to come to you.
While toddlers are beginning to walk, it’s normal for them to take a few spills, that’s just a part of learning. While you can’t save your baby from every fall, you can reduce the chance of injury.
You can help them by “baby-proofing” your home by making their space as safe as possible:
- Put locks on doors and cabinets to help keep your baby away from unsafe items like chemicals
- Pad sharp corners of furniture
- Install a child-proof gate to prevent your baby from going down the stairs
- Keep items like pots and pans on the back of your stovetop