Parents encounter lots of myths every day when it comes to their babies, like, how you can tell a baby's intelligence from her head shape. Sigh. But the ones that often cause parents to worry are those related to baby's walking. Is it true that you should get anxious that your little one isn't walking by 12 months? Read on:
Myth #1: A walker will help your baby learn how to walk faster Buy something more useful instead, mom. "Many parents think walkers will help their children learn to walk. But they don't," said HealthyChildren.org, a resource site for parents run by the American Academy of Pediatrics. "In fact, walkers can actually delay when a child starts to walk."
“Babies who use walkers learn to crawl, stand and walk later than they would have otherwise, and continue to show delayed motor development for months after they have learned to walk,” says pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene in an article for The New York Times. Why? Because they skip on crucial steps in learning how to walk like pulling oneself upright, he explained.
Myth #2: Babies should be walking by their first birthday Yes, many babies are able to walk by 12 months, but some are also just starting to take their first steps at this age and that's fine too. "Some perfectly normal children don't walk until they're 16 or 17 months old," says BabyCenter.
So, when do you worry? "If your child doesn't stand with support at 12 months, can't walk at 18 months, or isn't able to walk steadily at the age of 2 years, bring it up with her doctor," adds BabyCenter.
Myth #3: Baby shoes are a necessity Baby shoes are so expensive because your baby will outgrow it fast. Don't also fall into the trap that it will help your baby practice his walking. "Hold off on introducing baby shoes until your baby is walking around outside or on rough or cold surfaces regularly," said BabyCenter.
Let your baby go barefoot! Being able to feel the ground beneath means there is less need for a toddler to look down. “[Looking down] puts them off balance and causes them to fall down,” Dr. Tracy Byrne, a podiatrist specializing in podopediatrics, tells The Guardian.
Plus, a lot of shoes for children sold in shops are not all suitable for feet that are just learning to walk, said Dr. Bryne. “They are too stiff, too rigid, with no flexibility at the sole and too much heel raise. It is of particular concern with toddlers learning to walk because it causes them to bounce and tip forward.”
Myth #4: Something's wrong when you toddler is piki or sakang Piki, also called knock-knees, is when the knees and legs are closer together when walking, which creates a bigger gap than usual between the feet. Knock-knees usually show between 2 and 3 years old and the condition corrects itself by age 7 or 8.
The opposite of knock-knees is bowlegs or sakang — the legs bend outward, so the knees don’t touch. It should start to straighten out and correct itself gradually by age 3. There are instances, however, when you do need to worry about your child's odd way of walking. Read more about it here.
Myth #5: Smart babies learn how to walk faster All parents want a smart baby, but assume walking is a sign of your little one's brain power. "Walking is related to a tot’s temperament and opportunity, not intelligence,” Brenda Nixon, a parenting expert and author of The Birth to Five Book, tells Babble.
Babies have a lot of things to learn and explore, and some babies may be very interested in walking and some less so. “Children focus on different skills at different times, so there is a wide range of normal,” Helen Neville, a nurse specialist tells Babble.
Give your baby lots of opportunities to walk. When it's lunchtime, for example, support her while she practices walking from the living room to the kitchen, instead of just carrying her. Give it time, try not too worry too much, and chat with your child's pediatrician if you have any concerns.