Next to baby’s first words, I’m sure many of you agree that baby’s first steps tops the list of major milestones. Everett has been showing signs of wanting to walk independently for about 2-3 months now (he’s one at the moment) and we’re still patiently waiting for him to take that exciting first leap forward!
At around eight months, when I observed many babies Everett’s age was rolling from back to front and front to back as well as crawling and he still hadn’t shown much interest in moving around, I admittedly was a little worried (yup, first time mom over here!). At that time, I had engaged Dr. Aliya Visram, prenatal and paediatric chiropractor of Wellbe Family Wellness to review Everett’s general motor skills. During our virtual appointment, we chatted about how to encourage Everett to crawl and she introduced a number of exercises for us to work on together during play time. These exercises were SO helpful to us and about a month later he started to roll, crawl, and even stand and cruise the room with support.
Naturally, seeing the success of Dr. Aliya’s previous tips, I recently did a Q&A with her all about baby’s first steps to help us and hopefully some of you to assist your baby in reaching this fun milestone!
Q&A with Dr. Aliya Visram on “Tips for Baby’s First Steps”
At what age do babies start to take their first steps?
AV: “Probably one of the most common questions parents ask me 🙂 It really does depend on the baby … not the response most parents want to hear 😉 Usually we see babies “cruising” around furniture and standing upright with assistance around anywhere between 9-13 months. However taking those first few steps really does depend on how your baby feels – their temperament. Are they a “risk taker” or do they want to be certain that they can do it before they take that first step?
We usually see this gross motor skill really develop anywhere between 12-18 months. For the most part, by the time they are 14-16 months they would be walking somewhat independently – kinda like drunk little people. Don’t worry if your little one isn’t walking by then – walking takes co-ordination and muscle strength.
If a baby doesn’t start initiating walking around 15 months – I usually have parents bring their little one in to see me so I can have a peek at their spine, their pelvis/hips, and legs. Sometimes it’s just a matter of making their body feel more comfortable before they are ready to take that step.”
What are some of the telling signs they are ready to walk?
AV: “Usually it’s things like cruising around furniture, standing pretty independently and with stability, climbing stairs, transferring their weight from one foot to the other when standing/cruising, also they become more daring or adventurous.”
What are some activities you can do to encourage baby to walk?
AV: “Here are some activities that are helpful and easy to accomplish at home:
- Encourage cruising around furniture, give them space to explore
- Offer support – one hand or two hands while walking (not great for a parent’s back, but awesome to help babe feel comfortable!)
- Keep them barefoot – helps “proprioception” – the ability to stabilize their joint
- Encourage squatting – things like standing and then bending to pick something up from the floor
- Keep toys on chairs or reachable tables
- Moving toys – or mobility walkers
- When you are puting baby down, put them down in walking position vs sitting position
- Practice, practice, practice 🙂
- PS Child proof everything :)”
What are some aids that are best suited to encourage a baby to walk? – i.e. walkers/furniture, etc.
AV: “You don’t need to get too fancy with toys and walkers etc.
Here are a few tips :
- Leave space in your home (with childproofing of course) – lots of open space for walking with soft surfaces (those foam tiles are amazing!)
- Coffee tables, chairs great aids to help initiate cruising
- Baby walkers – there are a ton out there right now I know find something that has a handle, that keeps them upright on their own (vs sitting and walking) – we don’t want too much support as they need to develop core and torso strength and control
- You can even use a small chair that can slide to help assist”
Shoes or no shoes during this stage? And if so, any recommendations?
AV: “While learning to walk – I generally recommend a little one be barefoot. If you’re outside – you can use a soft soled shoe like a moccasin type shoe. This helps them feel what they touch with their little feet and develop muscle strength. Usually once walking independently – and confidently – we can progress them to a firmer soled shoe.”
We have been utilizing all these tips from Dr. Aliya and I’m confident that in no time, Everett is going to get enough practice to walk on his own independently. He’s recently been standing a few seconds with no help and will wobble one step over to me. It’s so fun to see him move his legs!
In terms of choosing a walker, we absolutely love the Kinderfeets Cargo Walker shown in these photos. First off, the design is beautiful which is REALLY rare to find one that doesn’t have a gagillion colours, trust me, I’ve done ALOT of searching. Second, it doubles as toy storage when he outgrows it as a walker. Everett’s been using this for a few months now and at first, he would only stand and hold the handle bar. Once he started to show some interest by rocking it back and forth, I filled it up with loads of heavy books to make sure there was enough weight and support for him to walk with. Now that he’s got more control of this, I removed the books and he likes to take his wooden blocks and toy cars around along for the ride.
As for shoes, we love heyfolks moccasins and recently got these affordable leather footlets from Joe Fresh that Everett is wearing in the photos.
I hope you found this Q&A useful for your little one!