Many six to nine month old babies won’t sit on a lap at all. They grab for clothes or hair and haul themselves to use the adult’s knee for a trampoline. It’s another couple of months before your baby is able to support his full weight, though. But once he can, it won’t be long before he learns to pull himself up from a sitting position to a holding on standing position.
Babies who pull themselves to standing aren’t ready to stand alone, let alone to walk, and don’t try to hurry them by holding their hands. They don’t feel safe without something solid to hold on to. Watch out that the furniture they may pull up on is solid, though. A flimsy side table pulled down on his head will do your baby no good at all. He’s on the way to walking when he begins to stand back from whatever he’s holding on to, taking all his weight on his feet, and using his hands only for balance.
Soon you’ll see him cruising sideways, shuffling one foot and then the other and sliding his hands along. He may learn to get all around the room like that, handing himself across gaps between the furniture before he takes a single step on his own.
Independent walking is rare before the second year.
Penelope Leach, Ph.D., is one of the world’s most respected (and best-loved) developmental child psychologists. She is most widely known for her best-selling books on child development and parenting. They include Babyhood, Children First: What Society Must Do — and Is Not Doing — for Our Children Today, the classic Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five (now in a new edition for a new generation), and Your Growing Child: From Babyhood Through Adolescence.