Walking is a pretty tough thing to master. It’s a shame most of us have no memory about how hard it was. You have to build up your leg muscles from scratch then learn how to balance. So, it’s essential your baby takes – er – baby steps. One step at a… okay, we’ll stop. While learning to walk isn’t an exact science, and every baby will pick it up at their own pace, there are certain progression markers that you can look out for.
The first six months
Wriggly worms: The socks are off! Literally, all the time and usually seconds after you’ve put them on. Your baby has just discovered their arms and legs and how much they can kick them about given the chance. Tiny babies don’t need much to amuse them: simply laying them on the floor with the freedom to kick about and squeal is enough. It also helps them gain that initial leg strength.
Tummy-time mastery: Tummy time is the foundation to which all things baby are built upon (muscle building, developing motor skills, farting…). You can practise tummy time pretty much from birth; laying baby on your chest or legs counts. Build up time spent doing this each day and your progress marker is when your baby can do this on the floor independently, lifting their head and neck, rolling about a little.
6 – 8 months
Crawling and exploring: One word: baby-proofing. Here’s your shopping list: baby gate, corner protectors, slam stoppers. While they’ll be with you all the time, it only takes the blink of an eye for them to trap a finger. Crawling generally happens around 7-8 months, but at this point we want to stress, if it isn’t happening in line with your milestones, don’t worry, it’ll come.
Bottom shuffling: Firstly, not all babies do this (which is a shame because it’s very cute). Some crawl then walk. Some bottom shuffle, crawl then walk. Your kid might also go from bottom shuffling to walking without crawling. Different babies, different styles.
9 months and beyond
Holding up well: Remember, baby is going to be as keen as you are for them to get moving. You’ll notice at this point they’ll start holding onto things (coffee table, edge of the sofa, your leg etc.) in a bid to stand upright. They’ll still be wobbly so be there for support at all times, but you knew that bit.
Baby steps: Between 12 and 18 months, they’ll crack it. Sitting up, laying down and crawling, well that’s baby stuff. You’ve now got a toddler on your hands. The pitter-patter of tiny feet has unlocked a world of adventure, a world where you’ll have to be one step behind them and two steps ahead all the time. Now, that’s a challenge.