Parents across the globe seem to ask the same question once their baby is a few months old: when will they start walking? It's not like mamas want their little ones to walk away from them, but it's something to be mindful of.
Considering every person develops at their own pace, the answer isn't the same for every child. According to Parents, babies begin to "pull up" on their parents and have the urge to walk around the eight-month mark. This ideally means (in a perfect world) that baby will begin standing or trying to walk by the time they're a year old. To get ready for that fateful day, here are 20 things moms and dads need to stop doing by the time their child turns one and is on the verge of becoming a walking professional.
20 Panic That Their Baby Will Get Into Everything
Sure, the fact that your baby is beginning to walk is an exciting monumental moment, but it's also frightening to imagine all the things they're now able to get into now that they're walking. Freaking out over all the *potential* dangers their baby can get into is just going to make this memorable moment a tortuous one. Relax and be happy that your baby is growing and thriving.
19 Constantly Putting Shoes On Them
While adults love wearing shoes, slippers, or socks because it protects their feet (and keeps them warm), barefoot is best for a newly walking kiddo. Another article from BabyGaga explains that the ability to feel the ground and curl their toes can make all the difference in getting better at walking.
18 Picking Them Up Constantly
Listen, I love holding a chubby little 12-month old as much as the next person, but when you see your baby trying to become independent at a young age, it's time to let them spread their wings... Or their toes, I should say. You may want to hold on to them forever, but letting them explore their surroundings on their own hands, knees, and feet is best.
17 Tuck Away The Baby Swings And Walkers
Depending on where you are on the whole "baby walker" thing, professionals think it's best to do without them while your baby is learning to walk. "By eight months old, some babies may even be too heavy for the swing to work effectively. Your 12-month-old will most likely have no desire to sit in any type of swing or chair for an extended period of time," BabyGaga notes. Now that they know what freedom is, they're going to explore it.
16 Bottle Time Should Be Winding Down
I don't know about you but I've seen one-year-olds (and younger) strolling around with a bottle before, and every time it gives me a mini heart attack. For starters, I'm afraid they're going to fall and hurt themselves, and I'm afraid the bottle is going to choke them in some way. As BabyGaga noted, "By the time your baby is 12 months old, it is generally recommended for you to get rid of the bottle completely."
15 It's Now Time For Solids
It's super easy for a parent to puree their own foods. They can buy their own veggies and fruits and mash it all together, making it safe and nutritious for baby. Although it may be hard to realize your little one now has teeth and is ready for solids, it's necessary before they turn one. Not only are solids good for their chewing and swallowing development, but they'll learn how to use their hands and fingers, as well.
14 But Stop Feeding Them By Hand
Now that they're experimenting with solids, let them learn fine motor skills by eating for themselves (with their hands). I'm sure you may worry your baby will create less of a mess if you feed them their solids, but it's a part of maturing that all babies need to succeed. Oh and don't think about utensils yet — those will come later once they're older.
13 There's No Time For Tummy Time
If you've been actively practicing tummy time with your baby for 15+ minutes a day, then your baby should no longer need the benefits of tummy time by the time they're six months old. Six months before their one-year birthday, they should be skilled at lifting their neck and turning their heads. Again, every baby grows at their own time, but if your baby excels at tummy time before their first birthday — moms can stop doing it.
12 Handing Them Everything
To make your baby a professional at the art of walking, don't just hand them things — make them come to you. If you're holding a bag of Cheerios and they're whining about wanting some while sitting there, make them get stronger and have them come to you. They shouldn't be handed everything while they're learning to walk because it can make them lazy.
11 Don't Over Do It
Every parent may want their baby to go above and beyond in the milestone department, but forcing them to walk more than they're doing can instill fear in them, deterring them from improving their walking. Sure, we all kind of wish our kids would out-succeed our neighbor's kids, but forcing them to do things before they're ready is a bad mindset, not to mention can be physically daunting for them.
10 Worrying About Flat Feet
I'm a big girl so I naturally have big feet. As a kid though, my mom was worried my big feet were too flat and may deter me in some way. Especially since they weren't that way when I was a baby. However, every baby's foot looks extra puffy when they're young; almost like there's no curve at all — which can freak parents out. However, it's just some baby fat that will "melt" away once baby gets a little older.
Whether you co-sleep with your child or not is no one else's decision or business, however, if you do co-sleep and they're having some issues walking, perhaps they need to learn more independence. Perhaps co-sleeping and being carried is making them too comfortable; after all, I wouldn't try to walk if I knew I was going to be cradled whenever I wanted to. Try having them sleep alone a few nights a week to boost their independence and confidence.
8 Put The Bath Seat To The Side
It's a special moment for parents to bathe their baby for the first time. They have a little bin or bathtub where baby can calmly float and enjoy their surroundings. However, Verywell Family says "as soon as a baby is strong enough to sit up alone, try bathing without the seats to have them gain strength and become comfortable in their body."
7 Feeding Them On-The-Go
Snacks are great and all, but when a baby is learning to walk, eating while on-the-move is a choking hazard. And sure, you may be so excited that your baby can walk and eat at the same time — or even just eating by themselves! But save the snacks for downtime when they're in a seated position.
6 Placing Baby In A Forward Facing Sling
Ergobaby explains that moms may adore their front-facing baby carrier, but it's best to pack it for storage by the time your baby begins to walk. "You can start using a baby carrier from day one... Babies who are younger than 4-6 months should only be carried in the inward-facing position in your carrier with proper head, neck, hip and bottom support." Once they reach that middle mark though, say bye-bye to the sling.
5 Don't Fix Their Walking Position
I know there are a few perfectionists out there, but when it comes to your baby's walking stance, don't try to fix them. Let them get comfortable in their body and learn how to use it. Most babies will begin with wide feet and arms out in front of them to become stable — maybe even hunched out, but don't try to straighten them out; allow them to find their groove.
4 Don't Panic When They Fall
Falling is inevitable for babies when learning to walk. Instead of stopping in their tracks (like us adults can do), they'll typically fall over until they learn how to stop. Don't panic or freak when they fall, either. It's natural and they'll panic if they see you panic (unless they're seriously hurt, of course).
3 Discouraging From Independent Play
We all love our children so much, we'd do anything to show them we care — including playing with them when they ask or mimic. However, it's important to allow your baby to be on their own (while you're in the room, of course) and let them play by themselves. Playing with them all the time may discourage their independence — only being creative when others are around.
2 Stop Being Restrictive
Parents who run after their baby while they're trying to walk is normal, but if you're only following them so they don't run into a sharp object or eat something uneditable, you're just making your life harder. Make sure to babyproof the home by the time baby is walking. Telling them to stop walking or running in the house in fear of objects will discourage walking (and drive you crazy).
1 Stop Comparing Their Efforts To Other Baby's Efforts
Let's be honest, we'd love our kids regardless of the age they start walking. This is why parents shouldn't get discouraged if someone else's kid is waking before yours. Heck, some babies even revert back to crawling once they get the hang of walking, and it's all completely normal! Be proud of your little one and where they're at in their development.
Sources: BabyGaga, Motherly, Parents, Ergobaby, Verywell Family