Your 43-Week-Old Baby - Parenting Week by Week

Your 43-Week-Old Baby

January 2, 2019

Your 43-Week-Old Baby

Your 43-Week-Old Baby
Your 43-Week-Old Baby

Milestone: Walking

You’ve been seeing all the signs: first there was pulling up, then “walking” while holding onto your hands, and now all of your furniture does double duty as backdrop for cruising.

But soon enough, your kiddo will have the courage, muscle strength, coordination and balance to take one step (or a few!) on their own. At first, they may simply move between the coffee table and the couch. But before you know it, you’ll be in, “Look ma, no hands!” territory. The more they try walking, the more comfortable they’ll get with this incredible new skill. While the first attempts usually involve lots of toppling over, you’ll be amazed at how quickly babies become confident, independent walkers.

Seeing your baby learn to walk brings a mixed bag of emotions. You’ll feel excited, proud and probably a little terrified about them getting hurt if (or shall we say when) they fall down. And strangely enough, you may feel a twinge of sadness that your little baby is transforming into a toddler right before your eyes. Walking is a major milestone. So be sure to capture lots of cute videos of those sweet, shaky early steps.

Keep in mind: Even if you’ve covered all the baby-proofing bases in your home, a new walker isn’t the most stable walker. Bumps and bruises will happen. Just stay close by to help or give a reassuring hug. No matter what, you don’t want your child to be fearful of falling down or associate walking with something scary. Be encouraging as they build up their confidence, help them shake off those inevitable stumbles and send them back on their way with a smile.

How to encourage new walkers

You don’t need to do much to help your tot get the hang of walking (it’s really amazing how children master a new skill on their own once they’re ready!).

If your little one is apprehensive, sit just out of reach and encourage them to step toward you. On a day-to-day basis, give them lots of time to roam free, rather than be in an activity center, high chair or stroller for long periods of time. And no matter what, don’t turn to a baby walker to jumpstart walking. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents not to use baby walkers as they actually impede learning to walk. The AAP says they also create a serious safety hazard because they can tip over easily when bumping into obstacles like a rug or toy. Children in walkers can also navigate themselves into dangerous areas. So steer clear (pun intended).

Push toys are a safer alternative and give new walkers a little extra support as they navigate the world on their own two feet. A toy stroller (for dolls) is also a great choice for new walkers. Not only do they love playing pretend, but they’ll be a bit more stable as they cruise around the living room or park tending to their very own baby.

As with any milestone, walking will happen on your child’s own unique timetable. Many parents see first steps around the first birthday. Or, it may not happen for several more months. However, it’s always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s development.

When do babies need shoes?

Baby shoes are adorable, but not actually necessary unless your child is walking outside or on a surface in which you want their feet to be protected. It’s actually better to let babies pitter-patter around barefoot as much as possible to help their foot muscles, bones, arches and ankles continue to develop and strengthen. So, when you’re just hanging out at home, let your kiddo go barefoot or put on socks or booties.

When buying baby shoes, make sure they’re flexible, have light soles and good traction. Slip-on, Velcro and snap-closure styles are easy to put on and remove. While you can certainly order shoes online, it’s helpful to head to a real shoe store to ensure your baby is wearing the appropriate size and fit.

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