The Wonders of Walking

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The path from sitting up to crawling to walking is an exciting time for new parents. But if a baby isn’t reaching the big motor-skill milestones according to the parenting books, many parents begin to worry “Is my baby alright?”

Use this guide as a quick reference as your baby is on the path to 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 continue to discuss development with your pediatrician and enjoy your baby’s progress every step of the way. Before you know it, your baby will be a toddler running around the house. 

3 Months
Milestones: Baby raises head and chest when lying on stomach, stretches 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, pediatrician at Dilworth Pediatrics in Charlotte.

7 Months
Milestones: Baby rolls front to back and back to his front. She can sit with her hands at five months and without hands at six months. Anything that is close to your baby like a cup you are drinking out of or keys on a table, are now liable to be tugged at. Your baby can now reach for different objects. With this new fascination the world has to offer, baby will also 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, pediatrician at Ramsdell Pediatrics in Cary. 

12 Months
Milestone: Parents may notice the most significant growth happening 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 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, pediatrician at Twin City Pediatrics in Winston-Salem. 

18 Months
Milestone: It may seem as though your child is more independent and more of an explorer, and that’s because he is! At this stage, your toddler is more interested in using his legs to walk around the house discovering all that he can. Your baby can now push and pull large objects and even throw a ball while standing. 

24 Months
Milestone: Now your toddler can jump in place and usually begins to run. Your child can climb up and down from furniture and stand on his tiptoes. At this stage, you may notice your child 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).

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View all articles from the 2014 Baby & Toddler Guide