Maternity Glow Presents ...
The Ultimate Guide to Baby's First Steps
One of the major milestones that you don't want to miss is your baby's first steps.
In this guide, we're going to talk about when most babies learn to walk, ways to encourage walking, and ways to strengthen their resolve.
You will also learn which baby shoes are best for your baby and whether using a walker is helpful to the process.
What Age Will My Baby Begin to Walk?
If you're a new parent, the first question that you'll want to know is when your little one will start to walk. You'll want to make sure that you're prepared for the moment so that you can get it on camera if possible.
Most babies take their first steps at some point between nine months and 12 months. Within about five months after their first steps, your child should be walking pretty well. The timing is not the same for every baby, so if your child seems to be taking a little longer than this, don't worry.
Simply encourage them and help them feel more confident, and they will be walking around on their own in no time. If your baby cannot walk a little bit by the time that they are two, then ask your doctor about it.
If your little one was born prematurely, then their adjusted age may need to be considered.
Helping with Those First Steps
Not all babies are comfortable taking those first few steps, so it is your job to encourage your little one and help them feel more confident. If your baby stands up, then gets frightened, it is important that you help them to see that they are not stuck in the standing position.
Gently bend their knees to help them sit down, and then lift them back up to the standing position so that they can try it again on their own.
Once your tot is comfortable standing up for more than a few seconds, you can kneel in front of them and encourage them to come to you. If your baby is afraid, take them by the hand and try to lead them to you.
At first, you will realize that your baby is walking with their feet very far apart. This is because they are able to balance better with a wider distance between their feet. It does give them added support, but their first few weeks of walking will be wobbly.
After just a few weeks, your little one will look much more stable and sturdy on their feet. Walking is difficult, so it will take a lot of practice.
Your baby will fall, but they will learn from their mistakes and get back up again. The next time they attempt walking the same distance, they will do a better job.
Practice makes perfect, but when your tot is practicing, make sure that the area is safe in case they take a tumble. If you do see your child fall down, don't react to their fall unless they are truly hurt.
Just tell them to get back up and try again. This will help strengthen their confidence, and it encourages them to be more willing to try things that they are unsure of.
Should I Get Baby Shoes?
You may think that baby shoes are cute, but in all honesty, they should not be worn for walking until your baby is able to walk without your assistance.
Walking without shoes makes it easier for your baby to balance. When they are ready for their first pair of shoes, make sure to have their foot measured so that you know what size is best.
Choose a shoe that has a wide opening that will be easy to put on your little one's feet, and make sure that the shoe secures their foot in place when it is tied or buckled. Velcro is a good option for a toddler so that they do not trip over an untied shoelace.
Remember, kids tend to grow quickly, so make sure to get their feet measured every two to three months. Do not purchase shoes that you think that your baby can grow into to help them last longer. It will only result in your baby stumbling and falling more often because their shoes are too big.
Make sure that the sole of the shoes that you choose are sturdy. Rubber soles have good traction for when your little one starts running around on their own.
Should My Baby Use a Walker?
Walkers are a great tool to help your child learn to walk, right?
They are designed so that your tot is in the standing position, and they can move around with ease, but the truth of the matter is that a walker is actually something that can hinder your baby's stride.
When your child is in a walker, their lower leg muscles are being targeted and worked to become stronger. This is good for their muscle development, but if you are trying to encourage walking, their upper leg muscles are what need to be strengthened.
In addition, walkers can tip easily. In fact, many accidents that occur while your child is in a walker happen because the wheels go caught on something like a rug or a small toy. This can cause your baby to topple over, and it could even result in a tumble down the stairs.
If you want your child to have a walker to assist them, get them a push walker that they can use. They simply hold onto the handles and push the walker as they go.
It does not have the mobility or a standard walker, and your child will be walking instead of sitting and pushing the stroller with their feet.
Ways to Encourage Walking
If your baby is afraid to walk more than a few steps or they would sooner crawl, then you should try to play some games to encourage them. Part of being confident that they are not going to fall is making sure that your little one's muscles are strong enough to support them.
Try playing a game that has your tot mimicking what you do. You can do all sorts of movements that you feel your little one will be comfortable doing.
Start with simple movements, and then shift to things like standing up, sitting down, or stretching to touch your toes.
Have your baby stand in a spot that has a lot of space and something to hold onto. Then, scatter some balls around your tot so that they need to move to pick them up. The further they go, the more confident they will become.
You can also toss a balloon to your baby as they are standing in a spot where they are comfortable. Once they are comfortable hitting the balloon back to you, try tossing it right outside of their comfort zone to see if they go after the balloon. If they get scared, get the balloon yourself, but eventually, they will go after it.
You can also play the wheelbarrow game with your tot. Have them walk on their hands as you hold their legs. It will help them strengthen their core muscles, which is a key part of being able to walk with good balance.
Now that your little one is walking, you need to make sure that your home does not have any hazards that could be unsafe for them. If you are not sure of what may be a danger, look at your living space from your child's point of view to see what would interest you.
Walking means exploring, so if you have rooms that are unsafe for your tot, make sure to keep them locked.
Here are some other safety precautions that you may want to think about now:
- Install window guards that keep the window from opening more than a few inches so that they cannot climb out of the window and fall.
- Secure heavy objects so that the object is secure in the event that they grab it for balance.
- Keep any breakable objects in locations that they cannot reach.
- Secure all staircases and cushion sharp-edged furniture.
- Keep appliances off of the counter so that they are not pulled down.
- Secure the refrigerator, the stove, and the cabinets.
- Secure the toilet and the medicine cabinet.
- Make that there is no chest or container with a lid that your baby can get stuck in.
- Decrease the temperature of the water heater so that little hands do not get scalded if they turn the water on.
Walking is a big step for your child, so do everything that you can to support them.
If they are frightened, don't push them too hard, but try to encourage them by coaxing them towards you. Build up their confidence, and use a push toy to help them with their balance.
Remember that using a walker or baby shoes while learning to walk can hinder the process.
With your support, they will be cruising around your living space in no time.
Just remember to keep their safety in mind as the explore!