What to Expect When Your Baby is Learning to Walk
Little Man started learning to walk he would go between me and Hubbaloo This started right around when he was 13 months old. The first day, literally, that he started – he face planted hard into the base of the couch. Poor kiddo promptly got an enormous, unicorn horn-style bump in the middle of his head. And man did I feel terrible. It didn’t help that he promptly stopped even trying to walk for a good three or four days. He had clearly decided that this walking thing that everyone else was doing was just way too dangerous for him to do. After a couple of days getting from point A to point B on his knees, he seemed to rethink the danger of walking and began trying it out every so often.
Expect a lot of falls
Learning to walk is a big deal. If you think how much muscle coordination goes into a move that many of us take for granted on a daily basis, it is understandable that it takes some time for babies to figure it out. Add to that the additional communication from your babies brain to his or her legs and feet to take them in a specific direction, its amazing it doesn’t take longer for them to master! Because of all this, your child will likely fall down a lot. Sometimes it will be on their butt (yay!) and sometimes it will be face first (boo!).
Your Kid Will Teach Him/Herself to Fall
So with the learning to walk comes another learned milestone – learning to fall. You’ll notice that your baby learns to fall rather quickly, most of the time. After my son bonked his head, the next time he fell face-forward he threw his hands out instinctively. And as he still continues to master walking, you can see him tottering and making the conscious decision to fall onto his bottom rather than to topple forward.
You’ll Likely Experience Some Degree of Anxiety – Especially when they fall hard for the first time
With these falls, you can expect to feel anxious and worried a bit more. But keep in mind that your kid is less likely to freak out if you remain calm. It can be a difficult thing to do, especially depending on the severity of the fall, but if you can remain calm you will likely be able to soothe your baby quicker and more efficiently than if you’re worked up. If you’re worried they may be truly injured, you remaining calm and therefore calming your child down will also help you to better assess the situation. If you’re on the fence regarding whether or not to seek medical attention, it never hurts to err on the side of caution. Go ahead and reach out to your pediatrician. They also may be able to give you some guidance regarding what constitutes an emergency. That way you don’t have to worry quite as much when the next injury comes along.
Expect them to get into Everything
When I say everything, I mean everything. Now that your child has learned to walk, they will be running toward open doors, open baby gates, grabbing anything that is within grasp of their tiny little hands. Now is a great time, if you haven’t already, to go through a full-blown babyproofing checklist. Anything you had put off needs to be done now.
When Can I Expect My Baby to Start Walking?
Just like every other milestone your child will go through, learning to walk can happen any time within a pretty broad length of time. Most (read: not all) babies, however, will start to walk sometime between 9 and 12 months. My little guy didn’t start until 13 months. Too be honest, I wasn’t too worried when it didn’t happen by the time he turned 1. I did, however, watch every time he walked around a table I watched and waited for those first steps to come. And eventually they did.
Keep in mind, though, that your kid will learn to walk in his or her own time. You can’t base your expectations on your friend’s daughter who was cruising at 6 months. If your kid decides he or she doesn’t want to walk until he’s 16 months old – that’s not a bad thing. However, as with everything else in the parenting world – go ahead and communicate any concerns with your doctor. He or she should be able to give you any advice or encouragement related to your child’s developmental milestones.
What shoes does my baby need?
Honestly, your baby doesn’t need shoes once they start learning to walk, unless you have them walking outside. They’re going to feel more comfortable and secure in their own ability to walk if they can really feel what they’re doing, so let them be barefoot! If you want to cover their feet because they’re cold, make sure their socks have grips on the bottom. And if you do put them into shoes, soft soles are the way to go. Soft soles let their feet move the way they’re supposed to and still allow your child to rely on their own footing.