Your baby's first year is full of unforgettable milestones, including taking the steps she needs to start walking. Most babies are walking between 9 and 15 months old, and each baby reaches her walking milestone when it's right for her. Regardless of your little one's exact walking age, she'll spend months giving you hints that she's working up to her walking debut.
Sitting Up and Moving
Sitting up is a milestone in itself, but it's also your baby's first sign of getting ready to walk. Before she walks, she must first learn to keep her body upright without using her hands. This often happens around 6 months old. She'll also start getting interested in getting from one place to another any way she can. For some babies, this is rolling, while others prefer crawling or scooting. Any movements that help build her leg and torso muscles are going to help her walk.
By 9 or 10 months old, your baby is likely pulling herself up beside sturdy furniture or your legs. This is helping her build balance and the muscles in her legs. She's also learning how to sit down -- often just plopping on her bottom at this age -- and get back up. She might not try to take any steps yet. When she wants to go somewhere, she'll probably drop back down to the floor to crawl or scoot instead of moving just her feet.
When your baby is getting ready to start walking, she'll develop the ability to catch herself with her hands. She might already catch herself some when she lets go of furniture while she's standing, using a hand on the floor to maintain balance and keep her torso upright. You can test this skill by picking her up and tilting her forward so she's looking at the floor. When she puts her hands out as if to catch herself, she's getting ready to walk.
Now that she has the basic skills she needs, your baby is ready to practice moving her feet independently. This is the last skill she needs before she takes those precious first steps. After pulling herself up using furniture, she will hold onto the furniture as she cruises from one end of it to the other. Or, she might reach out and grab the next piece of furniture for some more cruising, such as going to the end of the couch and reaching out to grab the coffee table for some more practice. If you hold both her hands over her head, she's likely to try to walk some more. Letting go of one hand at a time can help her improve her balance skills before she heads out on her own.
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