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Baby Development: The Steps to Baby’s First Steps

It’s baby’s first big move to becoming an independent little person: her first steps! Here are the five gross motor milestones that precede baby’s ability to walk.

It’s what every parent waits for with impatience: Those first camera-worthy steps. Despite all of the many concerns accompany raising a child (Am I feeding baby enough? Is her development on track? Will I ever sleep again?), you’ll be delighted to watch as your baby hits each big gross motor developmental milestone on the path to walking, from lifting her head to standing. Keep in mind that the pace and order of these milestones can vary a lot from baby to baby — and for the vast majority of infants, differences in developmental timelines are normal and healthy. So if you’re already a mom, don’t be surprised if your second (or third) child seems to be developing some skills slower (or faster!). Here are the five exciting gross motor milestones you can expect your baby to achieve within the first 12 to 18 months of life that lead to your baby’s first momentous steps.

Lifting her head and rolling over

Lifting her head and rolling over After nine months scrunched up in your womb, your baby’s first big job will be gaining the muscle control required to control and lift her head (to 90 degrees by 4 months) and then roll over from tummy to back and back to tummy (usually by about 6 months). Both skills are helped by plenty of “tummy time,” or practice mini-pushups to develop necessary muscles. Once your baby does start rolling over, try encouraging rolling in both directions to help build up balanced muscles on both sides that your baby will rely on when it’s time to start sitting up and crawling.

Sitting Up

Once your baby’s got the hang of lifting her head, she’ll likely be ready for a change of scenery — at which point, she’ll start sitting up. Your baby will likely be ready to sit up with support by about 3 to 4 months old, and by 6 to 9 months your baby will have developed the muscle support to do so without support. Encourage your baby to explore sitting by propping her up in her stroller or your lap.

Life changes for everyone once your little one learns to move on her own! Get ready for some exercise, because baby has exploring to do. You may be amazed by just how fast a baby can crawl — and how quickly time passes, because soon your little one will be standing and then walking. This time of life calls for a diaper that can keep up. Huggies Little Movers give your baby a more comfortable fit as they set off to explore the world.
Little Movers Diapers have double grip strips and a unique contoured shape so baby can explore more with a comfy fit that lasts.

Crawling

While you might have imagined your crawling baby traveling on her hands and feet, babies have a variety of crawling styles: Some move around on their bellies, some crawl backwards or sideways, some scoot. Most don’t begin until close to 9 months or later — although some skip crawling altogether and move straight to standing up. If your baby doesn’t crawl, in fact, she may end up walking even earlier.

Standing

Though babies don’t start standing until about 7 months at the earliest, most begin building the muscles they need to stand by extending their legs and bouncing on your lap. Your baby will start to pull herself up by holding onto your leg or a piece of furniture. In the early months, she may get stuck in the standing position — a situation which can quickly become frustrating, especially if it results in a lot of falling down. You can help by gently lowering your baby into a sitting position until sitting becomes more natural. Most babies get the hang of standing (and sitting back down) by 14 months.

Walking

Break out your phone — the moment has finally arrived: Baby’s first steps! Learning to walk takes strength, coordination and plenty of practice. Standing, bouncing and eventually “cruising” around by holding onto one piece of furniture to the next helps your baby hone the skills she needs. Some babies start walking around 9 months, but many don't start walking well until 14 months or later; up to 18 months is rarely a cause for concern. When your baby walks often has to do with genetics, as early and late walking tends to run in families, as well as her weight, build and personality. So relax, mom, your baby’s time to walk will come.

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