The first step to walking (pardon the pun) is for your baby to begin crawling. This helps your baby to use and strengthen the muscles she needs to take her first walking step, and it also is a way for her to start traveling around the house on her own – much to your terror.
First, she’ll learn balance, on her hands and knees, before figuring out how to do the shuffle and start moving backward and forward!
1. When it develops
“Most babies learn to crawl between six and 10 months. But some children never crawl, instead opting for bottom shuffling, slithering on their stomach, or moving directly to pulling up, standing, and walking. It’s getting mobile that’s important, no matter how your baby does it.” – babycenter.com.au
2. How it develops
Usually it starts just after the six or seven month mark, when your baby is able to sit up well with no support.
“Over the next couple of months, your baby gradually learns to move confidently from a sitting position to being on all fours, and she soon realizes she can rock back and forth when she’s got her limbs straight and her body parallel to the floor. ” – www.babycenter.com.au
At around nine or 10 months, she’ll figure out that pushing off with her knees gives her just the boost she needs to get mobile. From here she’ll learn and master the crawling/sitting transition, before moving on to moving one arm and the opposite leg, or cross crawling.
3. What’s next
Once your baby is an expert at all things crawling, it’s only a matter of time before she begins to take the next step, and starts to learn to walk.
“Once she gets the feel of balancing on her legs, she’ll be ready to stand on her own and cruise while holding onto furniture, and then it’s just a matter of time till she’s walking, running, jumping, and leaping.” – www.babycenter.com.au
4. Your role
Encourage her crawling, doing whatever you can – such as placing toys and objects just beyond the reach of your baby. You can also coax you baby towards you, and then progress by creating a little obstacle path of cushions and soft pillows or boxes, for your baby to navigate around.
But once your baby is mobile, make sure your home is childproofed! Especially on stairways, power sockets, and the kitchen and laundry areas.
5. When to be concerned
All babies are different, and advance at different rates. However, in saying that, if you baby hasn’t shown any development or interest in mobility by the time she’s one, it is a good idea to bring it up at your next doctor’s meeting. Bear in mind that if your baby was premature, they may take several extra months to reach this, and other milestones.