When you think your baby is ready, hold her gently around the ribcage underneath the armpits and "stand" her up. You'll notice that she will make "stepping" movements with her feet automatically. This is in preparation of learning to walk so practice as often as you both want to. If, however, after much practice, your baby seems interested in walking, but just can't get it all together, don't worry. Babies develop in their own time and have been know to walk unaided as early as seven months and as late as 20 months.
Reassuringly assist her and enjoy this wonderful time. Hold her hand and help this process along, guide her steps. Show her how to hang on to furniture for support and when she looses her balance, encourage her to bend her knees and fall back on to her bottom.
At the beginning of toddlerhood, she will probably walk slowly with her arms held out to the side or up in the air for balance, as if all walking surfaces were tightrope wires, and by the end she will be a two-footed locomotion.
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Herman Delooz MD PhD FCCM FFAEM (Hons)
Former President of the European Society for Emergency Medicine. Former Editor of the European Journal of Emergency Medicine.