5 Things to Know about Baby’s First Steps

by Hannah Howard May 10, 2024

baby playing

As far as developmental milestones go, walking is a gigantic one. Your baby is becoming their own independent person with those first adorable, wobbly steps. They’re well on their way to…not being a baby anymore. It’s truly amazing and might bring up a whole lot of feelings—it certainly did for me.

Baby’s first steps usually happen sometime around their first birthday—but mileage may vary considerably (more on that soon). For your little one, it means entering a whole new stage of life, where the world is their oyster for exploring on their own two feet. For parents, it’s a whole new chapter, too. You officially have a toddler to chase around.

Here’s a primer on what to know as your little one learns to walk. 

Walking is part of a chain of milestones

My family just visited a goat farm, where the rambunctious kids pulled their body weight onto their four legs almost immediately after being born. Human kids take a lot more time.

Walking doesn’t just happen out of the blue. For months before putting one foot in front of another, your baby has been building strength and skills like muscle control, balance, and coordination. Probably, they’ve already mastered other milestones before walking, like rolling over, sitting, and crawling (or scooting). Usually before they step, they’ve been pulling up to stand and experimenting with holding on and exploring….everything, a stage known as cruising. Furniture helps them balance as they use their legs to take some wobbly steps.  

Walkers can be excellent supports

Walkers can help support independent walking. Our choice is the Baby Einstein Ocean Explorers Dive & Discover 3-in-1 Submarine Walker. With three height positions and three ways for baby to play and learn, infants 6 to 24 months will love to explore the sights and sounds of the sea in this submarine-themed walker. As baby grows, they can graduate to the Push- Behind Walker function, which is a great way to practice taking steps. You can also detach the electronic toy station to let baby learn at home or on-the-go.

There’s not one perfect time

Some babies might take their first steps at 9 months, other babies might start to walk at closer to the 18-month mark. That’s a wide range, because babies are different, and each child develops at a unique pace. If your baby needs some extra assistance, seek it out.

The average age for walking independently is 12 to 15 months. If your baby isn’t taking a few steps on their own by 15 months or isn’t walking independently by 18 months, schedule a chat with your pediatrician to check in.

Barefoot is best

Eschew the shoes when you’re at home, or whenever possible—the sandbox or soft grass are also great opportunities to go barefoot. The soles of your baby’s little feet have thousands of nerve endings, so they’re super sensitive to vibrations, textures, temperatures, and other stimuli.

Your baby’s contact with feet on the floor (or another surface) gives them sensory feedback that can be helpful as they learn to support themselves on the move. When shoes are necessary, aim for a flexible fit with a wide toe box.

Don’t be shy about asking for help

Your pediatrician is your first resource. If you’re at all concerned, have a conversation—that’s what they’re there for. They might suggest a Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist, who will start by conducting a thorough evaluation of your child.  

If you’re concerned because your child has not yet begun to walk, know that you’re not alone. A pediatric physical therapist can provide comfort and guidance, and early assessment is crucial. Before long, your little one will be off exploring the world. 

Hannah Howard


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