The Wonders of Walking
The path from sitting up to crawling to walking is an exciting time for new parents. But if baby isn’t reaching big motor-skill milestones according to what parenting books advise, many parents begin to wonder, “Is my baby all right?”
Refer to this quick-reference guide as your baby starts down the path toward sitting up, crawling and walking, but don’t be alarmed if you aren’t checking off all the milestones on an exact schedule. All babies develop at different paces, so discuss your baby’s development with her pediatrician and enjoy her progress every step of the way. Before you know it, she will be a toddler running around the house.
Milestones: Baby raises his head and chest when lying on his stomach, stretches his legs and kicks. At this stage, baby can open and close his hands. You may even notice that he brings his hand to his mouth and rattles any toy placed in his hands.
“Start to look at the overall big picture … focus on your baby’s brain development, which is the gateway to each stage in his life,” says Dr. Sameena Evers, a pediatrician at Dilworth Pediatrics in Charlotte.
Milestones: Baby rolls front to back and back to front. She can sit with her hands at 5 months and without her hands at 6 months. She can tug at anything close by, like a cup you are drinking out of or keys on a table. She can also reach for different objects. Thanks to her new fascination with what the world has to offer, she will even begin to move objects from hand to hand.
“If your child isn’t rolling on his back, bring that up at the next wellness check,” says Dr. Kimberly Ramsdell, a pediatrician at Ramsdell Pediatrics in Apex.
Milestone: Parents may notice the most significant growth at this stage. Baby crawls forward on all fours and sits up on her own. She can pull herself up to stand and walks holding on to nearby furniture. Baby stands without support for a moment and may even walk a few steps without support.
“Interestingly, some children never crawl at all but proceed straight to pulling up, cruising and walking. This causes some parents alarm, but pediatric development experts recognize that crawling is not an essential developmental milestone,” says Dr. Caroline Brown, a pediatrician at Twin City Pediatrics in Winston-Salem.
Milestone: It may seem as though your child is more independent and more of an explorer at this age. That’s because he is! At 18 months, your toddler is more interested in using his legs to walk around the house, discovering all that he can. He can now push and pull large objects and even throw a ball while standing.
Milestone: Now your toddler can jump in place and typically begins to run. He can climb up and down from furniture and stand on his tiptoes. At this stage, you may notice he is carrying around his toys while walking and even kicking around a ball.
Source: You Raising Your Child: The Owner’s Manual From First Breath to First Grade, by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. (Simon & Schuster Inc., 2010)