When Will My Daughter Walk?

Julie Ryan Evans
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Photo by Julie Ryan Evans
My daughter, Lila Claire, is 14.5 months old; and while she's taken a few steps here and there, she pretty much just refuses to walk.

I stand her up; she sits down, shakes her head and says, "No!"  She's scared to even cruise from one piece of furniture to the next if there's a mere inch of space in between.

I call her "chicken baby" because she's so frightened of letting go; she looks at me and says, "cluck, cluck."

Everyone says "don't rush it", "you're in for it when she starts walking," but I'd rather chase her all day than have her stay at dirt-level much longer. And as I increasingly see other children her age (and younger) take off toddling, I'm wondering if I should start to worry.

Bonnie Offit, M.D., a pediatrician at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, says the average age a child walks is 13 months. So Lila Claire is definitely lagging behind, but Dr. Offit says it varies from 9 months all the way to 20 months and can involve a hereditary component. (For the record, I walked at 6 months!)

"Brain development can vary quite a bit and the younger the child, the more dramatic the differences appear," Dr. Offit said. (Yep, it's pretty dramatic when a child five months younger than mine is running circles around her.)  She says that if a milestone is more than two to three months from the average, it may warrant more careful monitoring.

So I'll give it another month or two before I start to worry too much, and I'll glom on to this positive piece of information Dr. Offit offers: "Many gifted children and adults have some unusual developmental patterns such as late gross motor development ..."  And I may just offer it up the next time someone cares to remark on the fact that she's still not walking yet.

When did your children walk?

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