Your baby on the move
11631 Dr Fysh - Jan 11, 2016
When you have a new-born to care for it can feel like time is going very slowly indeed but before you know it your helpless little one will be growing and, before long, moving around.
It’s important to bear in mind that all kids develop at a different rate and it really doesn’t matter if other babies in your mum’s group or circle of friends are crawling before yours.
In the first months of life babies have very little control over their neck muscles. You can encourage babies to develop more control by giving them regular ‘tummy time’ from the age of one or two months. Put them on the carpet or rug facing down and they will want to lift their head to see what is going on around them. This natural inquisitiveness gives the neck muscles a good workout. By about 12 weeks most babies will be able to hold their heads up reasonably well.
Once your little one has mastered head control, he or she will rapidly want to move on to bigger challenges. By 6 months they will be able to do mini press-ups lifting their head and chest off the ground.
Some babies manage to roll over on their own as young as three months but others will be seven months before they manage it.
Whenever it happens, it will happen suddenly and that’s why it is so important never to leave a baby unattended somewhere high up like a changing table or even a sofa. You may think it is safe as you’ve never seen your baby move but that first flip could come at any moment and you don’t want to risk injury.
Babies often manage to sit up unaided at around 8 months old. Don’t expect them to spend much time sitting still and enjoying the view though. From this position the natural next step is crawling. Some babies crawl forwards first, some go backwards. Arms and legs will rapidly strengthen with all this new exercise and you may be surprised how quickly crawling progresses. Some babies will prefer to shuffle around on their bottoms and avoid crawling altogether.
Once baby develops the upper body strength to pull itself up, things will really start moving! By the end of the first year he or she will probably be on her feet, 'cruising' round the furniture. Once she can stand it won't be long before she begins to walk unaided.
By 14 to 15 months most toddlers will be walking. This is the time to use push-along toys to help get them moving as much as possible and give them the confidence in their sense of balance and strength.
Babies who bottom-shuffle rather than crawl tend to walk a little later than those who crawl but there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. If your child is not walking by 15 or 16 months you may want to talk to your doctor to discuss any concerns you have.
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About Dr Fysh
Dr Fysh is one of the country’s leading consultant paediatricians, currently a consultant at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians. Having experienced first-hand the suffering caused by serious medical conditions to babies and young children and the emotional and financial strain that this can place on parents on a daily basis. He joined the board of directors as Chief Medical Officer and has been instrumental in the building of the NurtureFirst product.