Milestones are a part of a baby’s development, but sometimes the pressure for baby to perform these milestones on what doctors think is the correct time table can be frustrating. All three of my children were born with, well, large heads. They never were “on time” with lifting their giant heads while laying on their bellies during tummy time.
My first two children walked right around their first birthday. I wasn’t worried about them walking or how long it took. However, I know many moms experience anxiety and fear when their kids reach their first birthday and still aren’t walking.
What’s “normal” anyway?
According to Babycenter, babies can walk anywhere from 9 to 15 months, and some babies even wait longer. Babies go from crawling, to pulling up, to cruising, to walking. But not every baby follows this pattern. Don’t fret if your child doesn’t walk by their first birthday. According to Parents.com, 90 percent of babies walk around age 1. If you feel like something isn’t normal, consult your child’s pediatrician or someone in the medical field you trust.
How to Help
If your baby is learning to take steps, they will surely be wobbly at first. Try to encourage them to walk. If they drop a toy, show them how to bend their knees and recover. You can try holding their hands while they take steps or even invest in a push toy. A birthday party is a fun time to get some new walking toys for baby. If your baby is frustrated, be there to give them lots of cuddles and kisses. Learning new skills is exhausting and takes time. Don’t give into pressures from others. You know what you’re doing and so does your little one. Keep in mind that regression may come with the adoption of new skills, so learning to walk may impact feeding and sleep patterns. Don't panic! It will all return before long.
When to Worry
Experts say if your baby isn’t walking by their second birthday, this is the time to worry and discuss it with your pediatrician. Trust your mom instincts, however. If you feel something isn’t right, bring it up earlier. One thing I have learned with my kids is that if something is bugging me with their development, it is best to discuss it with a health professional. Otherwise, I will worry and fret and lose sleep over many silly things.
Before you know it, your baby will be running and you’ll be chasing right behind them. Don’t worry if they don’t fit into the timetable at your doctor’s office. Take care of your baby and enjoy each milestone, no matter if they come on time or not.
Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 3 in Arkansas where she can’t wait for her little girl, Audrey, to learn to coo and giggle.