When Do Babies Start Walking? Your Toddling Timeline

When Do Babies Start Walking? Your Toddling Timeline

Baby walking is such a huge milestone! But is there anything you can do to help baby walk? What’s the earliest baby starts walking? Is walking before crawling a thing? Basically, when do babies start walking?
As mamas, sometimes it can feel like we spend our days worrying.

Worrying over what our little ones can or can’t do, and whether their behavior is “normal” or not.

And when it comes to baby walking, this is one milestone on a list of many we’ll be monitoring closely.

Even before they’re even born, we might have pictured the moment of baby’s first steps… not to mention the fun and chaos that follows.

But when do babies start walking? Are there certain steps to walking (pun intended)? Is a 1-year-old walking the standard?

Here’s our simple guide, to help you know what to expect.

In this article: 📝

  • When do babies walk?
  • How do babies learn to walk?
  • When do babies start to walk?
  • How can I help my baby learn to walk?
  • Baby’s walking: what next?

When do babies walk?

So at what age do babies start walking?

As your baby’s first birthday inches closer, wondering when should babies walk can be a frustrating generalization to have in the back of your mind – especially if they don’t seem interested in learning to walk yet.

So, let’s start by saying relax, mama. You’re doing a great job!

As with most things when it comes to baby development, there’s a huge range of “normal” behaviors.

The saying “walking by 1, talking by 2” is relatively accurate, as in both the US and the UK the average walking age for babies is 12 months.

So a 1-year-old walking could well be on the books.

But it’s also common for baby’s first steps to take place anywhere between 9 and 16 months of age – so the window of opportunity is pretty wide.

Some medical authorities suggest getting advice from your family doctor or pediatrician if babies are not walking at 18 months, but there’s often no cause for concern.

You can trust your instinct, but seek reassurance if you’re starting to worry.

We shouldn’t expect all babies to follow the same timing and developmental progression, but we know it’s hard not to compare children of similar ages, especially with key milestones like baby’s first steps.

Rest assured, though.

Research has shown that the age a baby learns to walk bears no significance on their motor development and cognitive ability as they grow up.

So, try not to stress. Baby learning to walk will happen when they’re ready!

What is the earliest age babies start walking?

The current Guinness World Record for the youngest baby to walk is just 6 months old. Wow.

But there may be another contender ‒ Delilah Moore could be the new youngest walking baby, walking unaided at 4 months old, having started standing by herself from 3 months old, according to Bury Times.

But you might have heard of newborn baby walks and babies walking after birth.

These aren’t technically early walking babies, although “Baby Walks After Being Born” is certainly a YouTube video we’d click on!

Instead, it’s a sort of reflex ‒ baby can’t support their own weight or fully balance themselves for a good few months (like, 12), so don’t expect your baby to be walking after birth!

But what about babies walking too early? Like, properly walking?

Can a baby walk at 6 months?

It has been known to happen ‒ at the time of writing, the official youngest walking baby is 6 months old.

If baby’s ready to walk, they’ll let you know in their own way.

Can a baby walk at 7 months?

Having a 7 month baby walking is pretty rare, but not unheard of.

There’s not really such a thing as baby walking too early ‒ if they’re ready, they’re ready.

Can babies walk at 8 months?

Yes, some babies can walk unaided at 8 months.

But it’s best not to expect a walking baby under 12 months old, although you can certainly encourage them to get moving.

How do babies learn to walk?

When we’re new to the world, walking is a pretty big deal.

First, babies have to develop enough muscle strength to hold themselves upright and be able to transfer weight between their feet.

No small thing, considering 70% of our body mass is above our hips!

Both balance and muscles are fundamental when it comes to baby learning to walk.

And it’s a mental challenge as well as a physical one.

Some babies might be outgoing, learning to walk across the room in no time after figuring out how to stand.

Other babies who are more timid might take more time to learn to walk because they need to gain confidence. That’s fine, too!

There’s no “wrong” way when it comes to baby walking.

Signs baby will walk soon

As they’re learning to walk, there are some tell-tale signs they’re preparing themselves for baby’s first steps.

So what are the steps to walking, or key walking milestones to look out for as baby’s taking their first steps?

Pulling themselves up

From around 8 months old, baby will be pulling themselves up to a sitting or standing positions ‒ a key sign of them learning to walk.

With each pull-up, baby’s building their core muscles, leg muscles, and coordination ‒ all things they’ll need when they’re talking their first steps to walking.

Pull-ups lead us to the next walking milestone…

Standing unaided

Whether baby’s pulling themselves up, or you’ve propped them up to a stand, standing still is a big milestone when it comes to baby learning to walk.

If they’re standing by themselves, then baby walking will likely be just around the corner.

Fussiness and wriggling

When it comes to answering “when do babies walk?”, the wriggles are a key indicator.

Sitting still, standing still, and even crawling aren’t enough movement for baby right now.

They’re keen to get moving.

Cruising and walking with help

Holding baby’s hand while they’re ‘walking’ about the room is another of the signs that baby will walk soon.

Before too long, you won’t be moving fast enough for baby.

The next step? Cruising.

No, baby’s not getting their driver’s license just yet ‒ we’re walking about baby walking while using nearby objects to hold onto, like the tops of tables, chair legs, toy chests ‒ whatever they can get their hands on!

If baby’s cruising, now’s a good time to get to baby proofing. You’ll have baby walking in no time!

Is baby walking before crawling possible?

Yes, some babies walk before crawling ‒ it’s not all that common, but has been known to happen.

Some babies start walking without ever really crawling.

There haven’t been many studies on baby walking before crawling and how it could impact them developmentally, so we can’t really say whether learning to walk before crawling could affect baby’s motor skills.

When do babies walk down stairs?

If baby’s walking around a house with stairs, you’ll want to invest in a stairgate ‒ baby walking downstairs won’t be happening for a good while yet.

Baby learning to walk down stairs will usually happen around 18-24 months, but they should be accompanied by an adult.

It won’t be until they’re around 3-4 years old before they can walk down stairs without supervision.

When do babies start to walk?

Your baby may be on the move long before they learn to walk – by crawling, scooting, or rolling.

This builds the all-important muscle tone.

Sometimes, the period between learning these movements is a matter of days – or sometimes, months.

Lots of babies walk around 4 months after learning to pull themselves up onto their feet – and they’ll be cruising along the furniture before taking those first cautious steps out into the big wide world (or big wide living room).

But again, this isn’t the same for everyone.

When they’re in the process of learning to walk, you might notice an increase in fussiness when they’re awake (oops, sorry!) and some disruption to their sleeping habits (REALLY sorry!).

Your baby walking is a big developmental step, so it can knock everything else out of sync a bit.

When should a baby walk without support?

Between 12-18 months, you can expect to see baby walking without help, so make sure everything is baby-proofed, because they will be curious!

Reasons for late walking in babies

If you’re worried about baby being 15 months and not walking, more often than not, it’s nothing to fret over.

Babies not walking at 18 months is more common than you think, but it is worth looking into, just in case.

There are a few reasons for late walking babies, but if baby is 18 months old and not walking, you should book an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Here are some of the possible reasons for late walkers:

  • Some genetic disorders can cause delay in motor development.
  • Premature babies often have some delays with milestones ‒ usually by a couple of months.
  • A nervous baby might be more reluctant to start walking. Try building their confidence with encouragement whenever they move.
  • Low muscle tone can be a reason for late walking babies, but this can be remedied with more baby-friendly exercise and tummy time.
  • Preexisting medical conditions could cause late walkers, such as if baby has to spend some time in NICU at birth, or if they’ve suffered any illnesses or recent fevers.

When should I worry about my baby not walking?

If baby is at 18 months and not walking, it’s best to check in with your doctor ‒ chances are, it’s nothing to worry about, but they could give you some useful advice to get baby walking.

How can I help my baby learn to walk?

It’s easy to go into helicopter-mama mode when your baby starts moving, but the bumps and falls are all part of the journey.

In communities where it’s traditional for babies to be carried most of the time, children tend to walk later than those encouraged to move independently.

So, the best thing you can do when it comes to encouraging babies to walk – and minimize your stress at the same time – is to give them plenty of open-ended playtimes and a safe environment.

In all honesty, you don’t really need things to help baby walk. They usually have all theyll need to get walking inside them.

If you’re wondering how to go about teaching baby how to walk or how to encourage baby to walk, here are some tips that might help:

Baby-proof everything!

If you know your environment is safe, it means you can relax a bit more once baby starts walking around the house.

It also means they’ll develop confidence more quickly, knowing they can try these new skills and not hurt themselves every time.

If you have hard flooring, padded play mats can help protect bums, knees, and heads from the inevitable bumps and bashes.

Plug covers, corner cushions, and drawer locks mean they won’t cause too much mischief once baby starts walking.

Having this all sorted out pre-walking means no last-minute panic when they surprise themselves with their first steps!

Do walkers help babies walk?

Despite the name, baby walkers are a big no-no when it comes to your baby learning to walk, and many health professionals are actually calling for them to be banned.

Baby walkers can prevent healthy leg muscle forming because of the position they hold your little one in, and they can leave them at higher risk of injury, too.

Instead, stationary activity centers or push/pull along toys can help build leg muscle and confidence when your baby is learning to walk.

How long should babies be in a walker?

As we mentioned before, getting a walking aid for babies is probably not going to help them when learning to walk.

But if you’re really keen to use a walking aid for babies, they should only use them for up to 20 minutes at a time.

At what age can a baby use a walker?

So what’s the right age for baby walker?

Well, they’re not intended to be used for babies who are learning to walk, so from 4 to 10 months is the best baby walker age.

Walking toys for babies

What about the best toys to help baby walk?

Well, as long as they’re not actual baby walkers, most walking toys for toddlers should be find to use.

Some baby learning to walk toys can be great for getting baby moving during the cruising stage of learning to walk.

Encourage your baby’s movement.

This is everything!

Your baby loves to please you, so praising them for pulling themselves up or doing some cruising along the edge of the sofa will mean they know they’re on the right track, so they’re more keen to learn to walk.

While supporting your baby’s arms, you can encourage them to take some steps across the room.

You can try using their favorite toy as an incentive, and plenty of cheers and clapping when they start to become more independent will keep them motivated.

Be gentle and understanding.

While plenty of encouragement is fantastic, pushing a baby too hard can have the opposite effect.

From a very young age, our babies develop their own personalities.

As every mama will know, it’s impossible to make a baby do something they just don’t want to do – so pushing too hard (or too soon) could create a negative association, which won’t help them learn to walk.

Before you know it, your little one will be running rings around you, and you’ll forget what all the worry was for!

Once your baby is walking confidently, experts suggest giving them 3 hours per day of fun physical activity.

So there’ll be plenty of time to explore!

Baby’s walking: what next?

And just like that, it’s on to the next milestone!

While your baby may have nailed a pretty cute “mamama” or “dadada” type of sound, forming proper words and small sentences is still a little way off.

For now, you can enjoy this exciting time and get your camera ready to capture those adorable, bumbling and stumbling, first steps!

So now you know all there is to know about “when do babies start walking”, don’t forget to share baby’s first steps with the other mamas on Peanut!

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