When Do Babies Start Walking? Plus How to Help Them Along

Many parents wonder: When do babies start walking? There’s a wide range of what is considered normal and it all depends on your unique and amazing child!

Many parents wonder: When do babies start walking? There's a wide range of what is considered normal and it all depends on your unique and amazing child!

Watching your child develop from a baby into a toddler (and eventually begin talking) is an amazing experience, but you may be wondering: When do babies start walking?

The short answer is: Babies start walking between 8 and 16 months.

The longer answer is: Babies reach this milestone when they’re ready! As you know, all babies are different and pick up new skills at different times.

Understand that even walking at the latter end of the spectrum is perfectly OK. (We’ll also let you know when you might want to consult a professional.)

When Do Babies Start Walking Video

When do babies start walking? How do they progress? What sort of baby walking toys do they use? How long does it take to progress from crawling to walking? What is the average baby walking age?

See how our daughter Paloma went from crawling to walking like a boss in this fun little video.

When Do Babies Walk?

Babies begin walking anytime between 8 and 16 months. Some babies begin walking even later than that.

Of course, it also depends on how you define “walking.” Some parents will boast that their baby began walking at 9 months, but they’re usually talking about the kind of walking a baby does while holding onto something, known as cruising.

For the purposes of this post, we define walking as when baby takes a few steps without holding onto anything for stability.

Get free updates on baby’s first year! – Free Updates on First Year [In-article]

Sign me up!

Signs of Walking by Months

Your baby will start exhibiting signs they are ready to walk as early as six months of age. Will your baby be on the move soon? Here’s what to look out for:

6-9 months: Your baby will learn to sit up unassisted, then will begin experimenting with crawling. Some babies skip crawling and go straight to walking, but they usually go back and start crawling at some point, too. This is the infant milestone just before walking, so it’s important to note. If your child is on the earlier side with sitting up and crawling, she may be on the earlier side with other milestones such as walking.

The same goes for babies on the later end of the spectrum, though this isn’t a hard and fast rule, and the uniqueness of each child can be totally unpredictable! But if your child can’t sit up unassisted by 9 months, it’s time to check in with your pediatrician.

9-12 months: Your baby will begin to pull himself up to a standing position while holding onto furniture. He will be able to stand unassisted for a few seconds at a time and will begin to figure out how to sit back down from standing. He’ll also begin cruising (walking while holding something for stability). This is when the question, “When do babies start walking?” gets confusing because this is kind of walking.

12-18 months: Your baby — now a toddler, so-called because she is toddling around — can walk, though she is probably very wobbly and unsteady on her feet. If your child isn’t walking by 15 months, talk with your pediatrician. This is still within the normal range, but 15 months is a good time to check in so you can address any problems early, just in case there is an issue.

Keep in mind that some kids are naturally more cautious than others and may wait to walk until they are really ready. You may not even know you have a cautious child. For example, a cautious child may take a few steps here and there but won’t try for longer distances because she feels unsturdy, while another child will just walk and doesn’t mind if she falls.

When Do Preemies Start Walking?

Preemies will usually reach developmental milestones at the same time or a little bit later than full-term babies if you use their corrected age. So if your 12-month-old child was born 2 months early, her corrected age is 10 months (how old she would be if she were born near her due date).

Micro-preemies or preemies who have health issues may not fall on the same developmental timeline, so you should talk with your pediatrician about when your child should reach developmental milestones.

How to Help Your Baby Start Walking

If you ask your friends “How can I help my baby to walk?” you’ll likely get a million different answers. Some parents choose to help by holding baby’s hand while she walks. Others may buy jumpers and walkers to encourage walking skills. But the truth is, you don’t need much of anything but patience and restraint from intervening — which can be incredibly difficult! Here are some tips for encouraging natural walking development:

  1. Trust your child. The best way to help your child to walk is to let her do it at her own pace. Pushing her into something she’s not ready for isn’t going to help and may have negative effects, such as giving your child the impression that where she is at right now isn’t enough. Children of all ages can pick up on such subtleties.
  2. Don’t use baby walkers. The America Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages their use based on the safety risks and lack of benefits. In fact, may even slow your child’s walking skills, according to research published in the British Medical Journal.
  3. Allow your baby to develop naturally. Each physical milestone is built upon the previous one. A baby can’t learn to walk if he hasn’t learned to sit, and he can’t learn to sit if he hasn’t learned to roll over. Each time he learns something new, he builds muscle strength and stability. Research performed by Dr. Emmi Pikler has shown that children allowed to develop naturally (meaning no propping them up, “walking” them, etc.) are able to spend more time in transitional postures where they learn how to move from one development to the other. These transitional postures are sometimes very strange and funny positions! But by pushing baby into the next development (like by “walking”), your child may lose out on a lot of those transitional postures. Does that mean that you’ve ruined your baby by holding his hands while he walks? Of course not! It’s just something to keep in mind to allow the most natural development for your baby.
  4. Baby proof. Baby is more likely to walk on his own if he has a safe place to do so!

How about you?

When did your little ones first walk? How was that different from other babies around you?

References

  • https://www.emedicinehealth.com/infant_milestones/article_em.htm

 

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 85,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

12 Comments

  1. this article would be extra helpful if you mentioned that not all babies crawl or walk “normally” — what about babies that scoot, or find ways to jump from place to place in a sitting position?

    • There is a very wide range of normal.

  2. Well, all my babies walked early, I guess. The first three were walking at 9 1/2 months. Walking, not cruising. But my last one WALKED 3 DAYS BEFORE HE TURNED 8 MONTHS! Walked, not cruising. Taking multiple steps…5,6,7,8 plus. I luckily have it on video. I did teach aerobic dance while pregnant with him. Teaching 2 classes just hours before he was born. I also carried him (and the other 3) in my arms most of the day while he was awake except when I put him down on the floor for play. I am blessed. I was a lucky stay at home mother.

  3. I have 5 kids. 3 girls and 2 boys. My first child started walking about 2 weeks before her 1st birthday. My second child started walking when she was 10 months old. No, I don’t mean cruising. She was actually walking independently without holding onto anything. My 3rd child took his first steps at 11 1/2 months but that was it. He didn’t actually start walking until 13 months. My 4th child also started walking when she was 10 months old. My 5th child, who is just 16 months old now, took his first steps at 12 months but didn’t really take off walking until the day that he turned 13 months old. It’s interesting that all of my girls were walking before their first birthdays but both of my boys didn’t until after they turned 1. They say girls mature faster and/or learn to do things sooner than boys. In my children’s case, this is true.

    • I have 3 kids 2 girls and a boy
      My first daughter walk at 11 months and the second one walk 10 months why my boy is actually 9 months and 2 weeks he is walking already
      He was cruising when he was 7 months old now he walking.

  4. Our baby is 6mo old and everyone is saying not to encourage baby to get up or walk in the walker but the truth is our boy does not want to stay out. He has been crawling since 5mo old. At 6mo and 1 week he was already pulling himself up and if left in his crib by himself he stands up and giggles. Also we use the walker so that he can have freedom to cruise around the home and he can run in it now and go freely backwards and forwards and turn unassisted. He started to hold his head when he was only 2 weeks old and been able to turn from his back to tummy and vice versa since 4mos old. He is super advanced and from what I hear I’m worried a bit that his legs don’t develop right as he always tries to get up and move bout the furniture last couple of weeks. He’s only 6.5 mos as of today

  5. Just taking the opportunity to ‘boast’ that my daughter started walking unassisted at 10 months, and my son took his first independant step on the dot of 9 months, proper unassisted toddling within the week. ? So not all mums who boast this mean cruising! Both crawling and cruising for us happened at 7 months and standing unassisted at 8 months for both children ??

    • My girl is 14 months and still isn’t walking. She’s tall (97%) and 80% for weight. I’m not concerned, but awaiting the day she gets the confidence to walk on her own!

      • Sorry, meant that as a comment, not a reply.

      • My baby girl is 12months this April and she is only cruising…a neighbour mocked my baby today because another baby who is 2 months younger is walking…. I held my anger but cautioned her not to try it next time….I believe my baby will walk when she keeps aside her fear….but I was really pained and it got me worried..

  6. Our 4th child (girl) didn’t walk until she was 19 months old. Our 3 older boys walked at 12, 14, and 16 months. I’m curious to see how our 5th child (girl) will follow. I think personality has a lot to do with it.

  7. Very good write-up. I certainly love this website. Thanks!


Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required *

*

Hey Mama! Get my FREE baby updates every week!

  • Track baby’s development
  • Discover safe & natural remedies
  • Access free tools & resources

SIGN ME UP!

Not on Messenger? .