When to expect your baby’s first steps

If your baby has started cruising the room using furniture for support, they’re a Big Kid now. Pretty soon, they’ll be taking those first baby steps towards independence. 

This is an exciting time for parents, though it can have its worries too. This guide aims to make it easier for you and your Big Kid to enjoy this crucial milestone in their development.

When do babies take their first steps?

There’s a simple answer: it depends! 

Being a Big Kid is an adventure, not a competition. They’ll do their own thing in their own time, so don’t worry if your child isn’t the first, they’ll be walking soon enough with your support. 

Here’s an idea of what you can expect as you build up to the big moment:

  • 7 to 12 months. Your baby will likely develop the ability to pull themselves up into a standing position using furniture (or you) as support. As they become more confident in this, they’ll start to explore by cruising along furniture. 

    Your Big Kid doesn’t need a saggy old nappy holding them back! Pull-Ups® Explorers are designed to help them cruise in comfort. They flex and protect both day and night, helping Big Kids explore, learn and develop from nine months onwards. 

    As your explorer becomes more mobile, you might want to look at ‘baby-proofing’ your home for the safety of your baby - and your precious possessions!

  • 1 year onwards. Through cruising,your Big Kid will develop the strength and confidence to take their first steps. Many babies take their first steps between 12 and 17 months. 

    During this phase, there are various ways to encourage your baby to walk, but there’s no rush. Some babies take their first steps before their first birthday, if yours doesn’t it’s no big deal. They’ll be giving you the run around soon enough!

Is walking early bad for babies?

It’s only natural to compare your baby with others, but the precise timing of their first steps isn’t something to worry about. A survey by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) said:

“In short, by the time they reach school age, children who start walking later than others are just as well coordinated as those who were up on their feet early.”

Late or early, your child’s first steps are a huge event for you both. The important thing is to relax and enjoy it. If you‘re still concerned about your baby’s development, seek the advice of your health visitor or GP. 

How to encourage your baby to walk

You can have fun helping your baby develop their strength, balance and coordination in various ways, including:

  • Holding their hands and helping them walk towards you as you sit or kneel in front of them.
  • Find a stable, wide-based ‘toddle toy’ that they can push along as they find their feet.
  • Improve their balance and coordination by letting them (if you can) toddle about barefoot. This will also enable their feet to grow more naturally.

Training and strengthening

Your baby won’t start walking until they’re good and ready, but there are things you can do to help strengthen their leg muscles:

  • Baby yoga. Some simple, gentle yoga exercises can help improve your baby’s strength and coordination. You’ll find all kinds of videos online to help you get started.
  • Bouncing. Holding your baby’s hands while they bounce with their feet on your lap is great fun. You’ll get tired of it before they do!
  • Playing. The more fun you have interacting with your baby, the more active they will be. All activity at this stage helps babies develop strength and coordination. So, enjoy yourselves - it all helps.

Should babies wear shoes when they start walking?

‘Do babies need walking shoes?’ and ‘when should I get my baby walking shoes?’ are common queries and, like all excited parents, you’ll probably want to get your Big Kid ‘first steps’ shoes as soon as you can.

The truth is, to help your baby’s feet develop naturally, they need to be barefoot as often as possible. Once your baby has mastered walking in the house and is ready for the great outdoors, they will need shoes - even then, it’s important they spend time barefoot every day as their bones grow.

Walking isn’t a doddle

It takes time for every Big Kid to develop the strength, balance, coordination and courage to finally let go and take their first bold step. As they approach this important milestone, support and encouragement are the best things you can give them. Find out more about how you can help your Big Kid explore, learn and develop with Pull-Ups® Explorers.