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Baby's First Steps

Read how to promote your baby's physical development -- from rolling and crawling to standing and walking.

In this article, you will find:

Your developing child

Baby's First Steps


Your child still needs plenty of time to practice his moves. Let him crawl around to his heart's content in safe rooms; don't constantly transfer him from high chair to walker to stroller to crib. Put him on the floor for most of the day. Encourage him to wander and explore and then to stop and examine whatever he finds (though make sure beforehand that anything he's likely to find will be safe). Try not to discourage him; give him room to roam and babyproof thoroughly enough so that you won't constantly be saying, "No!"

Your baby will probably figure out how to work himself all the way around from lying on his stomach to sitting up during the ninth, tenth, or eleventh month. Yet even if he can't get there himself, if you sit him up, he should probably be able to sustain a sitting position for some time by the tenth month.

The key has always been maintaining balance. Throughout this year, your baby has learned to coordinate his muscles from the top down. First came control over his neck and head, then his shoulders and upper torso. After that, he began to use his arms and his hands with ever-increasing dexterity. Then came the hips, thighs, and knees, and suddenly your baby was crawling. By now, your baby has control over nearly every muscle in his body. All he needs to do is practice keeping everything in sync so that he can maintain balance.

Not only can your 9- or 10-month-old baby now sit for quite some time without toppling over, he can use only one hand to support himself, so he can use the other to pick up toys (or other objects) and play with them.

Of course, your baby is not content to just sit around anymore. During the next three to six months, your baby will make developmental leaps and bounds. (Actual leaps and bounds come later in the second year.) Your child will probably achieve the following milestones very soon:

Baby Doctor

If you're worried that your child may be developmentally delayed, consult your pediatrician. The doctor will probably reassure you that your child is perfectly normal, but it doesn't hurt to ask. After all, this reassurance may be just what you need to hear.

Baby Doctor

Don't worry if your child appears to be bowlegged when she first stands. Nearly all babies are. Even when she stands with her feet together, her knees probably won't touch. Rest assured that this is perfectly normal. Your child will probably remain bowlegged for at least another year.

  • Pulling himself up to a standing position (9 to 12 months)
  • Cruising along the edges of furniture (9 to 13 months)
  • Standing on his own with no support (9 to 14 months)
  • Walking (10 to 15 months).

Again, please keep in mind that all the ages included here represent average ranges. Your baby will progress at his own individual pace. His development may fall at the beginning or end of the range, or even outside the range, without cause for concern on your part. Just because he pulls up at seven months and walks at nine months doesn't mean he's from the planet Krypton, and just because he still hasn't done any of these by his first birthday doesn't mean anything is wrong.

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