6 Signs Baby Will Walk Soon
Are you eagerly awaiting baby’s first steps? It’s a major developmental milestone, and one that so many parents look forward to. Whether they’re just starting to support themselves or already expert standers, here are some telltale signs baby will walk soon.
Before we can get to the signs baby will walk soon, it’s important to know when exactly this milestone occurs, but—like all the other developmental steps–there’s a broad range. According to Oklahoma-based pediatrician, Denise Scott, babies can start walking anywhere between 9 and 18 months.
Throughout their first year of life, babies work through a series of milestones that ladder up to those eagerly awaited first steps. Some of these include rolling over, sitting up and crawling. As babies get closer to taking their first steps, you’ll notice some signs baby is about to walk—once you spot these you’ll want to keep your camera close at hand to capture your cutie’s first official steps! Below, some signs baby will walk soon and how to encourage this milestone moment.
Sign #1: Pulling up
Baby can’t start walking until they’ve learned how to get themselves upright. “Usually, babies are getting ready to walk when they start pulling up on their own—they want to stand,” says Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with Children’s Medical Group in Georgia. To do this, you’ll see baby use the sides of furniture (like a couch) to pull up to stand, says Mona Amin, a Florida-based pediatrician and BabyBjörn pediatric ambassador. Lots of parents notice this start to happen around 8 months, but it could last for up to three months before you see any independent steps. (And, FYI, once baby’s pulling up to stand, you’ll want to finish babyproofing.)
Sign #2: Practicing standing
As a part of pulling up to stand, baby may begin to test the waters and practice standing. They may only stand for a second or two before they fall, but it’s a sign they’ll walk soon. “Walking requires the motor skill pattern, balance and confidence on their own two feet,” Amin says. “The latter two take practice where they may fall and get back up. This trial and error helps them walk.”
Sign #3: Cruising
Cruising occurs when baby takes tentative steps while holding onto furniture, like a couch or a sturdy table (another reason why it’s so important to childproof!). Keep in mind, however, that some babies cruise around holding onto furniture for months, while others start walking practically the moment they get up on two feet, Shu says. There’s a range, and both ends of it are normal. To encourage baby, Amin recommends gently holding them under their armpits to assist them. (A push toy can also help when used for a limited time, but never use a sit-in baby walker, as these are unsafe.)
Sign #4: Fussiness
Remember the dark days of teething? You may experience something similar once baby is about to walk. Babies may get fussy and less tolerant when they reach a new milestone, says Ruben Espinoza, a pediatrician with Banner Medical Group. “This could be because of the ‘brain work’ the child is putting in to meet this developmental leap.” One area you may see baby become extra fussy? Mealtimes, says Shu, as baby may become a pickier eater. Hang in there—the fussiness could signal you’ll soon have a walker.
Sign #5: Sleep changes
Baby goes through many sleep changes during those first two years of life, Amin says, but some can occur as baby progresses through a milestone. “Some may sleep more, while others may sleep less,” she notes. (Many parents also attest to this once baby goes through a growth spurt, around 10 months.) While sleep changes could be a sign baby will walk soon, don’t hesitate to bring up any concerning sleep disturbances with your pediatrician.
Sign #6: Increasing confidence
Once baby has gotten the hang of pulling themselves up and feels more confident and steady, they’ll probably start testing the waters of balancing on their own. Not only will they cruise alongside furniture and objects, but they’ll also begin to move from object to object, Amin says. Espinoza once again stresses the importance of childproofing, as some children may begin to climb quickly after their first few steps. However, while some children may take off right away, baby’s confidence level will depend on their personality, Shu adds. A braver kid might give it a go right away, while a more cautious one might want to be more confident they won’t fall before letting go of the sofa.
Seeing baby take their first steps is undoubtedly one of the most exciting moments for a parent, so it’s natural to become excited as the milestone nears. Don’t worry if baby is a little behind the curve, and remember there’s a range when it comes to development. Of course, don’t hesitate to bring up any concerns and questions with your pediatrician. In the meantime, until baby is ready, be patient, encourage them as best you can and finish up any last minute babyproofing.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Mona Amin, DO, is a board-certified pediatrician based in Florida and a pediatric ambassador with BabyBjörn. She is also the host of the PedsDocTalk Podcast. She received her degree from ATSU School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, and completed her pediatric residency at the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital in Albany, New York.
Ruben Espinoza, MD, is a pediatrician and the division medical director for primary care at Banner Medical Group’s east region in Arizona. He completed his medical degree at Universidad Autonoma De Baja California and his residency at Elmhurst Hospital Center-Mt Sinai Services in New York City.
Denise Scott, MD, is a pediatrician with JustAnswer and a pediatric endocrinologist based in Oklahoma with over 30 years of experience. Certified in culinary medicine, Scott also runs the blog Feed Future Health and is the author of Feed Your Child’s Future Health: Prevent Disease Before It Starts. She received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch and completed her residency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center with a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.
Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician with Children’s Medical Group, located in Georgia, with over a decade of experience. She earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia and completed her pediatric residency at the University of California, San Francisco.
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