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"When's My Baby Going To Walk?"

Facts on when babies walk from top developmental expert Lisa Nalven, M.D.
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Maybe it seems like every other kid in the playgroup is trying to walk or toddling, while your little guy is still down on all fours. What’s up with that? And furthermore, when will he get up? Relax with these reassuring words from a top developmental expert.

Fact: Babies don’t develop the same skills at the same rate. "There’s a wide range of normal with walking—anywhere from nine to 18 monthsis typical," says Lisa Nalven, M.D., director of developmental pediatrics at Kireker Center for Child Development in Ridgewood, New Jersey. "If your child is not making progress—pulling to stand, guiding himself along furniture, walking with hands held, briefly letting go—speak with your pediatrician."

Fact: Babies need good muscle tone to walk. "If kids don’t get enough tummy time, they don’t build the neck, trunk, and extremity muscles they need to crawl and walk," says Dr. Nalven. "It’s harder now for kids to get enough, with the recommendation for back sleeping. And babies who are in their car seats a lot or held all the time, rather than put on the floor, may have delayed walking." What she recommends: Place your child on the floor with something of interest (like a colorful toy) just out of his reach so he’s encouraged to crawl toward it. If your child is on the verge of walking, you might have him lean up against a sofa and lure him to take steps with a toy placed a few feet from where he’s standing.

Fact: Kids can be cautious. "Even though they have all the skills and are able to walk independently, sometimes children just won't let go of the physical supports, like furniture," says Dr. Nalven. Entice your tot to explore by holding his hands as he practices steps. Before you know it, he’ll let go and be off and walking on his own.

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  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 13reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 My son is a 13 months now and he really gets around. He holds onto everything to walk but will only let go to stand in the same spot,until a few weeks ago,then he actually took a few steps alone. I was very excited because he is the smallest of my three children. And my other two never crawled because they were so "healthy," they scooted on their bottoms. It's almost like i am experiencing it for the first time instead of the third! My other two didn't walk until they were well over 18mnths. and he is already trying. I get super excited just watching him try. I am trying not to rush him but it is a joy just to be able to see my child walking,at to me a young age. I encourage him to walk without holding anything. IF i could give advice to any mother out there,it would be to NOT buy a walker,it has made my son dependent on holding something. while they come in handy most of the time, it does in my opinion delay the walking. So if you are home with your child all day,then if possible, do not get a walker,just a playpen will do just fine,bc they will learn to stand and hold themselves up,just the same. October 11, 2012
    Rated 0 out of 5 by great article..my baby is 4 months and this will help me to encourage more tummy time with my baby so my baby can walk when the time comes..thanks October 5, 2012
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I find that I often forget to place my 7 month old on her tummy throughout the day. I have the best intentions in the morning, "I will remember tummy time today", but the next thing you know it's bed time! What holds me back the most is her feeding schedule. I don't want to place her on her tummy after she has eaten solids or had milk. So I place her sitting up to play with her toys. I feel guilty because I know that she needs tummy time to begin crawling, arg! Well, tomorrow is a new day. March 11, 2012
    Rated 0 out of 5 My son just turned 9 months. He started walking around eight months but completely skipped crawling. He rolls or "back flops" across the floor if not on his feet. I have been told this is not a good thing, that he should have crawled first. I know that he should have but he didn't....is this a problem? December 26, 2011
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