A baby’s first steps are a huge milestone to reach. While some babies may take a few weeks or even months to learn how to walk, most babies will be cruising and walking during their first year. However, some are late walking babies. This is when their parents start to worry. The truth is that there are many reasons for late walking in babies. Generally, babies learn to take their first step during 10 to 12 months. But, if the baby doesn’t walk until 14 months, then it might be considered as delayed walking.
What are the reasons behind delayed walking in babies?
It’s common to see parents worrying about the delay in their baby’s walking. However, they must understand that every baby is unique and might learn things at their own pace. Every child has a developmental timetable, thus do not panic about it. To be precise about the Baby walking problem, let us have a look at the reason that might lead to this condition:
1. Premature Birth
In some cases, a baby is born prematurely. You must know that premature birth of babies also leads to delay in learning to walk or even other skills. Thus, if your baby was born prematurely, it is absolutely fine to expect a delay in walking.
2. Delay in Motor Skills Maturity
Another reason behind a baby walking dealy can be a delay in motor skill maturity. Delay in motor skill development does not mean that there will be dealy in other skills as well. Also, do not worry as in most cases this delay is not a cause of any serious problem in babies.
There are chances that the baby is taking too long to walk due to the link with parents. If the parents of the baby also learned to walk after long, then the baby may also take a similar time to walk.
4. Baby’s Temperament
Many babies learn to walk after a long period than usual due to their natural temperament. He or she might rush in learning to walk and find comfort while lying down maybe. Thus, the baby might be happy to lie on their back and not trying to walk sometimes and it is not a big concern.
If the babies are not allowed to move and try to walk on their own, they might delay in walking. Allow the baby to move on the floor and put the effort into walking. Besides, if the baby was sick for a longer period, they might also lack practicing their motor skills.
6. Deformities in Muscle Tone and Power
Infants with joint hypermobility might take longer than expected to walk. This delay is due to muscle weakness and tightness. This affects the baby’s ability to standing and thus causes a delay in walking.
What is the right age for a baby to walk?
Each baby is different and learns things at different times and ages. Usually, a baby is expected to start walking between 9 and 15 months. However, this time differs for every kid because each of them has a different mentality. Some find it exciting to try walking whereas some might not want to put effort into it. Babies who have elder siblings at home or in a lively environment try to walk early to imitate them.
Few Tips to Encourage Baby to Walk
If you are stressed about the delayed walking of your baby, you can certainly do few things to encourage him to walk. Even at the age of 14 months, few babies need more time and practice to master walking. Your baby might be a good crawler but avoids walking due to comfort. But you can slowly guide and help your baby to start walking. Here are some ways to do so:
- Floor Time
Parents can get on the floor and hold their baby’s hands in a standing position to assist the baby is taking his or her first steps. Give ample time to babies to practice walking and opportunities to try walking. Thus, give as much time as possible for your infant to slide, crawl, and pull up.
- Avoid Putting Shoes
Many parents assume that making the baby wear shoes will help them to learn to walk fast. This is not true at all. Putting shoes on the baby’s foot restricts them and makes it difficult to walk. Especially, when the baby is learning to walk inside the house, keep him or her barefoot.
- Baby Walker Are Not Safe Always
One of the famous walking tools for kids is a baby walker. It might seem like they are the best way to teach kids to walk, but it is not so. Some baby walkers are not even safe for babies to use. In some cases, they might lead to delayed walking in babies.
- Create a Safe Place to Explore
When you leave your baby on the floor to practice and learn walking, make sure to remove anything that might cause harm to the baby. Avoid keeping things with sharp edges from the floor that might cause a serious injury. You can keep the baby’s toys on the floor to grab his or her attention to pick them up by walking.
- Supervise the Baby
Although you can leave the baby on the floor freely, you should not leave them alone. There can be some unfortunate situation under which your baby might get harmed. Thus, even if the baby just crawls, make sure you are there to save him or her from any accidents.
When to consult a doctor?
In many cases, reasons for late walking in babies do not address any underlying serious concern. However, unfortunately, if you witness a delay in other skills than walking, it might be concerning for you. If you think that there is some other issue that is stopping your baby from walking, it is not a big deal to visit a doctor.
Delayed walking can also be caused by serious leg problems or other medical condition that requires treatment. Rickets, hip dysplasia, muscular dystrophy, etc., can also be the reasons for late walking in babies. There can be other developmental issues that should be left unaddressed for a longer time. Thus, you can consult with a doctor to check if any of these is the reason behind the issue in your baby’s case.
Many parents compare their babies with other babies and compare their milestones as well. This is not the right practice. Every baby follows a different progress chart that cannot be compared or matched with another baby. Let your baby take the time that he or she wants to take their first step. However, if you discover unusual reasons for late walking in babies, then it will be wise to visit a doctor and seek consultation.