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Can babies walk by 6 months?

Many parents eagerly await the day their baby takes their first steps. Seeing your little one stand up and walk independently for the first time is an exciting milestone. But when can you expect your baby to start walking? Can babies walk by 6 months of age?

The Average Age Babies Start Walking

Most babies do not start walking until sometime between 9 and 15 months. Here are some general averages for when babies start walking:

  • 6-10 months – Baby may pull up to stand while holding onto furniture.
  • 9 months – Cruising while holding onto furniture is common at this age.
  • 12 months – Most babies take first steps around their 1st birthday.
  • 15 months – Majority of babies are walking independently.

Keep in mind every baby develops differently. Don’t be alarmed if your baby is a bit earlier or later than these averages.

Is It Possible for a 6 Month Old to Walk?

While extremely rare, some babies do walk as early as 6 months old. Early walking is more common in the following cases:

  • The baby has older siblings. Watching and imitating older brothers and sisters may motivate them to walk sooner.
  • Very active babies. Babies hitting physical milestones on the early side are more inclined to walk early.
  • Taller, long-legged babies. Their build gives them an advantage for balancing and taking steps.

That being said, typically babies do not have the muscle strength, coordination, or balance needed for independent walking until around 9-15 months. Early walkers may have their legs buckle under them and require support to stay upright.

Signs Your Baby May Walk Early

While uncommon, some babies do exhibit signs that they may walk earlier than their peers. If your 6 month old shows any of the below behaviors, they may be gearing up for an early stroll:

  • Standing while holding on to furniture. Babies may pull themselves up and cruise short distances as early as 6 months.
  • Squatting and standing up frequently. Moving between squatting and standing strengthens leg muscles critical for walking.
  • Walking motions while being held. Making alternating stepping motions indicates an eagerness to walk.
  • Confidently bearing weight on legs. Not buckling under weight demonstrates the strength needed to walk.
  • Balancing well and standing unassisted. This shows the balance required for walking is developing.

While displaying a few of these behaviors is encouraging, keep in mind your baby still may not take steps for several more months. All babies develop on their own schedule.

Is It Safe for a 6 Month Old to Walk?

You may be eager to see your baby walking, but is it safe? There are a few factors to consider regarding early walkers under 6 months old:

  • Strength – Babies need adequate leg and core strength to walk without falling or injuring themselves. Muscles typically reach this baseline strength closer to 12 months.
  • Coordination – Walking requires balance and coordination that is not sufficiently developed before 9 months in most babies.
  • Bone development – Bones harden fully around 12 months old. Early walking puts babies at risk of bone fractures or deformities if they fall.

While exceptions exist, walking independently before 6 months old could put your baby at increased risk for falls, injuries, and other setbacks. Most doctors recommend waiting until 9-15 months for walking.

Tips to Help Your 6 Month Old Baby Walk

If your baby is not walking yet by 6 months, that is completely normal! Here are some tips to help build your baby’s strength and skills to get them walking confidently when they are developmentally ready between 9-15 months:

  • Let them cruise furniture. Pushing chairs, tables, and other stable objects around the room builds leg strength and balance.
  • Use walkers safely. Limit use to 20-30 minute supervised sessions on flat surfaces without stairs.
  • Strengthen legs. Engage them in supported standing, bouncing gently while holding under arms, and gentle leg exercises like bicycling.
  • Nurture confidence. Provide reassurance and validation when they pull themselves up or take steps holding on to you.
  • Offer hands-on help. Walk while holding both hands until they gain enough balance and confidence to take steps independently.

With your support and encouragement, your baby will be walking solo in no time! But remember, if your baby is not walking by 6 months do not be concerned – they are right on track developmentally.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

While the majority of babies do not walk until around 12 months, always discuss any concerns about your baby’s development with their doctor. Contact your pediatrician if:

  • Your baby is over 15 months and not walking independently.
  • You notice bowing of the legs when standing or walking.
  • Your baby has fallen frequently or injured themselves trying to walk.
  • Your baby suddenly refuses to stand or appears unable to bear weight on their legs.

Early intervention can help get your baby back on track developmentally. Reach out right away if you have any worries.

The Takeaway

Here are the key points to keep in mind about babies walking by 6 months old:

  • Average age for walking is between 9-15 months.
  • Some early walkers may take steps around 6 months, but this is infrequent.
  • Babies need adequate muscle strength, balance, and coordination to walk safely.
  • Most doctors recommend waiting until 9-15 months for independent walking.
  • Talk to your doctor if your baby is not walking by 15 months or if you have any concerns.

Remember, all babies develop at their own pace. With encouragement and by making their environment safe for exploring, your baby will let you know when they are ready for those momentous first steps!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I encourage my 6 month old to walk?

You generally do not need to actively encourage or teach walking before 9 months. Your baby will let you know when they are ready by pulling up, cruising, and taking steps while holding on. Offer praise and hands-on support, but wait to actively coach walking until after your baby’s first birthday.

What if my 6 month old is only walking with support?

Many babies can take steps and “walk” with support for several weeks or months before walking fully independently. Hold your baby’s hands and walk behind them, use push walkers, or let them hold onto furniture as they build confidence. This phase helps strengthen muscles and coordination until they can balance and walk solo.

How can I help a 6 month old learn to walk?

The best way to help a 6 month old build skills for walking includes: providing cruising opportunities holding on to furniture, strengthening leg muscles with supported standing/squatting/bouncing, using supervised walker time on flat surfaces, and offering reassurance when they try standing or steps holding your hands. Going at their pace is key.

What if my baby is not trying to walk at 6 months?

If your baby is not attempting to stand, cruise furniture, or walk with assistance by 6 months, talk to your pediatrician. But in most cases, not showing these early signs yet is completely normal and does not mean your baby has a delay. Many healthy babies show no interest in walking until closer to 12 months.

Do early walkers walk sooner?

Babies who display early walking skills like standing, cruising, and taking steps with support typically do end up walking independently at an earlier age. But keep in mind averages are just guidelines. Whether your baby walks at 10 months or 15 months, they are developing just fine.


While some babies do take their first steps around 6 months old, this is well before the average age range. Most babies will not walk independently until sometime between 9-15 months. The exact timing depends on each baby’s strength, coordination, and confidence. While waiting for those first steps can feel long, the best thing you can do is let your baby develop at their own pace. With your encouragement, they will be walking before you know it!