The 14 (at least) Milestones Between Crawling and Walking

Did you know there are several fun “milestones” between hands-and-knees crawling and walking? Really, development is an unending string of new reflex after new reflex, but popular perspectives tend to break it up into the major highlights. But then we loose the whole picture. Let’s put part of that picture back together again!

Babies who are not walked (and some that are) will typically discover most of the following movements. It’s both a progression–not necessarily in this exact order–and overlapping waves.

  • Starting with crawling on hands and knees…

Kneel-sitting (sitting back on both forelegs)

Kneel-standing (“standing” on both knees)

  • “Pulling up” by stepping on one foot
  • “Pulling up” by pulling with both arms
  • “Pulling up” by pushing with both legs




Bear-standing and bear-walking (on hands and feet)

  • Cruising with two hands, side-stepping
  • Opening outward  with one hand/foot out while holding on with one hand

Stepping forward and backward while holding on with 2 hands

Cruising with one hand, forward-stepping



  • Letting go to stand hands-free
  • Squatting while holding on



  • Standing from squatting, and squatting from standing, hands-free
  • Toddling (like a penguin) while holding something in both hands
  • Walking cross-laterally (forward-stepping)
  • Running. Flying?

That’s a lot happening between crawling and walking that is not often talked about! All of these in-between movements prepare the lower back, hip joints, ankles, foot arches, and core support for being upright on two feet. They also support necessary brain connections and the ability to integrate the new sensory information and stimulation they’ll be taking in.

This is part of why babies will walk best if they are not “walked” by bigger people. Their bodies are attempting to put all of these important pieces into place, so walking them can interfere with this process and cause compensations that make the natural developing reflexes/movements more difficult or even inaccessible.

Once a baby has explored all or most of the above preparations, and when he is allowed to do so in his own timing, you will see a very confident little walker emerge with great balance and poise!

If you are concerned about developmental delays, professional support may be needed. Please follow your gut feelings if you have a concern and speak with someone who is familiar with the details of first-year development.

© Elizabeth Parker 2012, All Rights Reserved (Links are welcome. If you’d like to share my post in your blog or materials, please ask permission.)

Much of my work comes from Infant Developmental Movement Education®, part of the Body-Mind Centering® Approach to Somatic Education, and Dr. Aletha Solter’s Aware Parenting. I am a certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator®, Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner, Feldenkrais® Practitioner, and Spiritual Counselor.

8 responses to “The 14 (at least) Milestones Between Crawling and Walking

  1. I did share this on Facebook and love what you say! When I read your credentials – no wonder you’re a Feldenkrais practitioner and it shows! Beautifully written piece, I will look for more!

    • Thanks, Josie! The info in this article is all from Infant Developmental Movement Education, which is part of the Body-Mind Centering approach. But the way I think and explain things tends to be very Feldenkrais!

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  3. Hi, this is a very well written and informative article. You are right that baby milestones are often carved up into the major highlights. The only positive to this is that parents aren’t measuring their child against every developmental milestone possible as can be the case sometimes. It’s always important to acknowledge that baby milestones are the average age a baby can do something- such as walking or ceawking and that some milestones may be skipped or reached in a different order to the “norm”. Many babies enjoy being walked around by their parents so is a very interesting point you raised about doing this. We look forward to more developmental blog posts from you. 🙂

    • Hi, thanks for your comment. Indeed, babies will seem to enjoy being propped or walked. Being upright is stimulating to the senses. The senses and perception develop in tandem with movement; so being propped or walked takes their bodies up higher than their brains and body are ready to support physically. It’s overstimulating–much like flashing festival lights for us–our first impression may be “wow, fun!” and our face lights up. Then over time it can become too much. Also, walking them makes them dependent on us, rather than allowing them the pleasure, empowerment, and laying of learning habits of finding it on their own when they are ready. Thanks for your interest 🙂

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  5. Thanks for this. We never walked our baby and I purposely have never given him stand up walking toys etc as we want him to develop at his pace. My baby has been crawling for awhile and recently taken his first steps after which he has discovered bear walking / bear crawling. I was beginning to think something was wrong as I have never seen another baby do this after learning how to crawl the traditional way. A reassuring read so thanks!

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