An infant’s legs go through a process of straightening out in the first year. Baby legs must adapt from constantly being curled in the fetal position, unused, to supporting your child’s weight and coordinating steps for locomotion. Infant legs basically go through a process of unfurling. There are many misconceptions about proper baby leg development but most parents’ worries can be quelled with a trip to the pediatrician.
Babies’ legs rapidly develop from the time they’re newborns to when they first start walking. Newborns respond with simple, primitive reflexes. Those pudgy thighs will start using their muscles around 6 months, when most babies start propelling themselves forward, scooting and then crawling. Between 6 to 10 months, most babies stand with support. Leg development continues between 7 and 13 months, when babies “cruise” around furniture and walk with a little support from their caregivers. Legs continue to strengthen as baby gets more mobile. Leg development takes a huge leap when baby starts walking, usually around 9 to 17 months.
There is no way to speed a child’s development, however there are some baby stretching exercises that will help strengthen the legs. Give your baby tummy time around 3 to 4 months old. Tummy times makes your baby stronger and improves coordination. Move toys slightly out of reach and allow you child to get them. Allow your baby to kick in the water when giving baths.
Parents often get worried when their infant has bowed legs or walks funny. It’s completely normal for babies to have bowed or curved legs. According to pediatrician David Geller, bowed legs are simply a result of how babies were “packaged” in the uterus. When your child starts walking, the leg bones slowly reform as old bone is broken down and replaced to support the new activity of walking. As a result, your baby will have straighter, stronger legs. Some babies do walk funny, but just as every baby has her own personality, so does every one have her own style of walking. Her walking should straighten out and appear “normal.”
Always take your baby to get checkups from a pediatrician. A pediatrician will examine your child’s legs and track her development. Seeing a pediatrician is the best way to prevent any problems that could otherwise be overlooked.
Never force your baby to walk. He may not be ready for it. Don’t be alarmed if your child has no interest in walking even though others his age are doing it. Each baby is on his own individual timetable and babies start walking anytime between 9 to 17 months. Do see your child’s doctor if your infant hasn’t started walking by 18 months, only walks on his toes or if you have any concerns. Most babies start walking to some extent by 14 months.