Diapers May Delay Your Baby's Ability to Walk, But Here's Help

This Just In 38

baby walkingWatching your baby take his very first steps is one of the most thrilling moments any mom experiences. That's probably why we tend to obsess over when exactly our babies will start walking.

It's no big secret that walking happens at different times depending on the baby, and some parents are even fortunate enough to see their little ones take off before their first birthday. But for those of you who are still waiting for the big moment and are wondering why your baby isn't walking yet -- there might be a simple, yet very surprising thing that is slowing him down.

Believe it or not, your baby's diaper may hinder his ability to walk.

Yes -- his diaper. (What the heck?!?)

A group of scientists studied 60 babies and their walking patterns and discovered that diapers affected how soon babies walk and how adept they are at it (babies tend to take wider, shorter steps when wearing diapers).

Ok, so I guess on the one hand, this is good news, because now there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for us moms who happen to have late walkers on our hands. (It's all our fault for insisting that they wear diapers. Gah!)

My little guy was a late bloomer, and didn't take his first steps 'til he was 13 1/2 months old. And while I was definitely a little bit concerned that he wasn't up and moving as early as some of my friends' kids, if someone had told me to take his diaper off to speed things up, I highly doubt I would've complied.

I mean, diapers kind of serve a purpose, you know. Somehow I'm thinking having a delayed walker is a much better alternative than getting down on your hands and knees to clean up poop all day long. (I'm just sayin'.)

But if you are eager to get your baby walking, here are a few tips:

  1. Use thin disposable diapers rather than thick cloth diapers. (The researchers found that babies with thick cloth diapers fell down more.)
  2. Give your baby some naked time. After your baby has a wet or dirty diaper, let him or her roam around naked -- or at least "commando" -- so he can practice walking.
  3. Change the diaper more frequently. Based on this research, the thicker the diaper, the more babies fall down. And the fuller the diaper, the thicker it usually is -- so changing it more often will keep the thickness to a minimum, making it easier for baby to walk. (Makes sense, right?)
  4. Take Baby steps (literally) -- When my son was learning to walk, I would stand him up a couple feet away from me, and stretch my arms out and encourage him to walk over to me. Taking "baby steps" made him less hesitant to give it a go for sure.
  5. Relax and let things progress normally -- Bottom line, your baby will walk when he's ready to walk. Let him get used to pulling himself up and standing, and he'll take off when he's ready.


What tricks have you used to help your baby get moving?


Image via Mary Fischer



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nonmember avatar rollingmyeyes

I can't believe I read this article. Talk about pointless. The whole thing is pretty dumb, but the part where she says "change their diaper more frequently" is making me roll my eyes. Aren't you supposed to keep your kid in a dry diaper for SANITARY reasons? If you can't figure that out you have bigger problems than your kid taking a little bit longer to get the hang of walking.

Mocha... MochaCocoaBean

...how, exactly, does a baby learn to walk without wearing diapers? I'm sorry, this seems like a worthless study (and article).

handy... handy0318

Stick with #5 moms... please, just let baby progress at his own rate.  Babyhood is just a blink of the eye anyway and all childhood is fleeting. Don't be pushing things along any faster than they need to be.

bella... bellacazzate

Out of 18 diaper-wearing first cousins, the "slowest" walker began at just shy of her first birthday. The youngest--I sh*t you not--was six months! My poor aunt. 

nonmember avatar Katy

Diapers have been around forever! Cloth diapers even longer! This is a joke, a lot of today's kids and walking slower, it could be anything! Mine walked at 9 months but wouldn't indepently walk until 16 months but the doctor was not worries so she wants to run holding onto the couch she just needed to get brave enough! Some kids are slower bc there parents don't do tummy time and we also sleep our children on their backs vs stomachs now. That can play a big thing into the walking. Also crawling longer has been proven for smarter children something to do with the position and how their brain processes. So who really cares as long as they walk eventually!

Jaime Swift Sundin

Such BS my son was in a diaper and walked at 9 months kid you not.

Witch... Witchymom434

Also find an infant specialized chiropracter.  I had one in north carolina and she said there were several kids at 2 and 3 yrs old still crawling, she would adjust their backs gently, and they would get up and walk across the room.  If their backs hurt from falls, birthing, or sleeping wrong, they won't push forward like adults


Mary Breitrick

this really dumb, i changed my daughter as soon as she wetted or pooped, she was always dryed and she didnt walk tll she was 13 months, just about all the parents i knew that had kids that walked early the parents let sit in there own filthy the parents didnt care, so what was the point of this

Mommy... Mommytolas

Ok this is such crap. My daughter was raised in pampers and changed every hour and half, I was her daycare teacher so I am quite sure of it. She walked at 9 months after I spent months trying to force her to crawl and panicking that she was the only baby that couldn't. My son was raised in pampers changed every hour and half again I was the infant room teacher so I am quite sure. He crawled at 5 months and didn't walk till 13 months and again I was that worried stressed out mom who tried to get him to do what I thought he should be doing. Now that number three is six months he is army crawling and pulling to stand and mostly I am just hoping he stops and stays a baby a little longer! Oh and he also a pampers baby also changed every hour and a,half and I am still the infant room teacher.

Amanda Jean Henderson

Makes sense! Just because it doesn't apply to you doesn't mean it doesn't need to be said. Some times pants and a diaper can cause a lot of bunching up in the crotch. I can definitely see how that would make it difficult for some babies.

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