My oldest daughter walked right at a year, and my youngest well before. Parents often spend time thinking about everything that they’ll need to do to get ready for this new and exciting stage. If your baby isn’t walking yet, however, you may be wondering why. Worries may fill your brain, as they did when my middle daughter hadn’t taken her first step at almost 14 months old. Why isn’t your baby walking yet, and when should you worry?
How old is your baby?
Walking before 11 months of age is considered early, and between 11 and 15 months of age is considered in the normal range. A baby isn’t considered to be a late walker until after approximately 15 months of age, which surprises many parents. Don’t worry if your baby isn’t walking by their one year well-child visit-there’s still plenty of time.
What is your baby’s birth order?
Though there’s no research to this effect, my husband and I definitely found that we spent much more time encouraging our oldest to walk. By comparison, we carried our second child a lot more, because it was easier. As a result, we think that impacted her reluctance to start walking early…after all, she didn’t need to walk, because we were carrying her everywhere. My youngest daughter was the earliest walker in the bunch, and we wonder if it’s because she was so anxious to keep up with her older siblings.
Though there’s no real proof of our theories, you might want to think about your baby’s birth order and if it plays a role in how you treat them in respect to walking.
Does your baby wear shoes?
Shoes may actually hinder your baby’s ability to walk early. Wearing shoes, especially those with hard soles, makes it difficult for them to feel the floor and develop their arches naturally. If you do opt to put your baby in shoes, select shoes specially designed for pre-walkers. They will have soft, pliable soles that allow baby’s feet to stay warm while still feeling their way around. In addition, make sure your baby is wearing shoes that are the proper size. Hand-me-downs aren’t the best choice for baby’s first shoes.
Do you encourage your baby to walk?
Though there’s no way to make your baby walk before he or she is ready, do try to encourage your baby to walk. Place items out of his reach and encourage him to get them. Try walking with him while holding hands. Provide opportunities for baby to pull up. Invest in a small push toy that will give them the chance to walk semi-independently. These activities won’t convince your baby to walk, but they might offer him or her some encouragement and incentive to consider it!
Is your baby on target developmentally?
Has your baby met all of their developmental milestones up to this point? Are they crawling? Pulling up? Smiling, laughing, and trying to talk? If walking is your only concern, more time may be all your baby needs before they start walking independently.
If your baby isn’t meeting their other developmental milestones, make sure you discuss it with your pediatrician. There’s a chance that your child may have a gross motor delay, and the assistance of an occupational therapist may be helpful in teaching your child to walk.
Often, time is all your baby needs to start walking independently. After all our worry, my fourteen month simply woke up one morning and walked across the room. If your baby is still not walking at their fifteen month check-up, take the time to discuss the situation with your pediatrician. They may have further suggestions for you to help your child take their first step.
Read more by this author:
Helping Baby Learn to Crawl and Walk
5 Reasons to Keep Your Baby Barefoot