Baby's First Steps
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Give your baby an incentive to stand if you think she's almost ready. Place a favorite toy on the seat of a tall chair, the third shelf of a bookcase, or some other perch high enough out of reach that in order to get it, she'll have to stand up. (Make sure you haven't put it so high that she won't be able to reach it even if she does stand.) Then encourage her to get the toy. If she does stand, shower her with applause and affection. Don't let this game go on too long, however. If she starts to get frustrated because she can't yet stand and doesn't even know how to begin, quickly and cheerfully intervene and get the toy for her.
By around 10 months, your baby will probably be able to use her legs to support her own weight. She'll still need you or something else to help her maintain her balance, however. She will plant her feet and straighten her legs, for example, if you hold her hands or help her wrap them about a table leg. But if you let go, or if she lets go, she'll plop down onto the floor.
Around 10 or 11 months, your baby will be delighted to discover that she can pull herself up to a standing position whether you help her or not. (Remember, some babies do this months earlier and some months later.) By holding onto the vertical bars of her crib, the leg of a chair or table, or your pants or legs, she can gradually pull herself up by putting one hand above the other and then successively moving the lower hand to a higher position. In less than half a minute, she'll be on her feet. As long as she holds that support tightly, she will be able to stand and maintain her balance for quite a while.
When your baby pulls herself up on her feet for the first time, she will no doubt be excited and very pleased with herself. She'll proudly look around as if she were Sir Edmund Hillary standing at the top of Mount Everest. A whole new world of expansive vistas has opened up before her.
Unfortunately, after surveying the territory for a minute or so, your baby will suddenly realize that she's stuck! She doesn't yet know how to walk. She hasn't figured out how to move her hands and feet to inch along the edge of a piece of furniture. She can't even remain standing unless she continues to hold on to something, and she may need both hands to do it, so she can't play with anything either.
To make things worse, your baby doesn't even know how to sit down yet. Your baby can't and won't move anywhere until her legs give way, she falls, or she gets you to help her. Obviously, of these three alternatives, your baby would prefer the last. So once she figures out that she's stuck, she'll probably start to cry.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.