Delayed Milestones :: My Kid Doesn’t Walk

Hello, my name is Chelsea, and my seventeen month old son is not yet walking.  Before you gasp, get judgy, or pat yourself on the back for having a walker, I can assure you that we are doing everything we can to encourage walking, and he truly just wants to do things in his own time.  He is making awesome progress just in the last few weeks, and most importantly, he is a happy and healthy little dude.   From online research to classes and trips to the neurologist, we’ve come to learn that things will happen in their own time and are not in our control.  He was late to crawl, but he got there.  Late to pull-up, but he got there.  As a child, I hit my milestones a little later than everyone too – and I turned out okay.

What To Do If You Are Concerned About Milestones

  • Talk to your doctor :: Your child’s pediatrician is the best place to start since they know your child’s history and entire picture.
  • See a specialist :: At the very least this will put your mind at ease or be the best next step to uncovering a solution.
  • Find fun ways to encourage :: Your child will not want to work on their development if you are making it work!  We joined The Little Gym as a fun way to encourage walking, and not only has it helped build Jack’s confidence, but it has just been plain fun for him.  It has also made my husband and I feel better that we are taking steps to assisting our child {pun intended}!
  • Get off social media {or any other stress triggers} :: I love social media, but sometimes I need a breather from it, especially when it seems that EVERYONE’S child just took their first steps yesterday.  Step away from the phone and focus on something else.
  • RELAX and look at the big picture :: Let’s all try to remember that milestone timelines are not required information on college or job applications.

What NOT to Say to a Parent With a Child Who Isn’t Walking Yet

{Yes, these were all said to me…and my witty internal comebacks are in italics for your reading pleasure.}

  • “Give me one week with him, and he’ll be walking.”  Great, I’ll call you for potty training too!  And don’t think I won’t pull out an ‘I told you’ so after a week.
  • “WHAT???  My son/daughter started walking at 10 months!!!”  And does your son/daughter put that on their resume still today?
  • “It’s because you have a nanny.”  Yes, I forgot that chapter in What to Expect… Nannies Cause Crawlers for Life.
  • “It’s because he is a first child.”  You’re an idiot.
  • “Have you tried putting him down more?”  I can’t believe I didn’t think of that – thank you!  How much do I owe you for that?
  • “He’s just scared.  You just have to make him.”  Stay away from my child.  Far, far away.

My Best Piece of Advice :: Get Over Yourself

I’ve come to realize through all of my worry that people are not sitting and judging me,  focused only on my child because they are too busy doing the same with their own family!  Delayed walking, delayed talking, my kid is too big, my kid is too small, my child doesn’t have as many teeth as everyone else, my child is bald, my child is shy, my child is aggressive.  The list goes on and on of what we are all worrying about.  If it’s not walking, it’s something else.

I used to go to places and feel like the elephant in the room with the non-walking child.  I’ve learned to get over myself!  I’m making a bigger deal out of it than everyone else, and most people will take cues from you – if you seem worried, they will be worried.  If you are confident, they will be too.  My husband and I have finally dropped the defensive act and just focus on the milestones he is hitting.  If there was a butt-scooting award, our son would have the gold medal!

And if you do encounter that person with advice you don’t want or a snide remark, just put a smile on your face and have your favorite comment ready!  Unfortunately, mine isn’t appropriate for this forum. {I kid!}

My Second Best Piece of Advice :: Talk About It

It always helps me to know that I’m not alone in my worries and struggles.  That’s what I’m hoping this blog post will accomplish.  Talk to your network of people – friends, family, doctor.  If those people aren’t giving you the support that you need, then fire them.  {Kidding…sort of.}  Either that or find a network that will support you, starting here!  Read about Lauren’s struggles with delayed milestones here and Meagan’s struggles with growth charts and percentiles here.



  1. I have 2 kids and 16 nieces and 4 nephews.
    3 of my 4 nephews did not walk until 18 – 22 months.
    And…. Get ready for this…. 2 didn’t talk until nearly 3. Gasp! Guess what? The 8 & 9 year old are rock stars at sports and we can’t shut them up now. (The other is only 12 months but give him time ;).)
    They got their needs met and let us know when they were ready – moms got extra arm toning for free. Win win. All too soon our babies run off and don’t need us – you get some extra snuggle time. Congratulations.

    • Thank you for your sweet encouragement! It’s good to hear that we aren’t the only ones in this boat. I love to hear that your kiddos are rocking it out now!

  2. My youngest didn’t start walking until 17 months…and it was difficult to be like no he’s not walking. But with him being my second I knew he would do it on his own time. And he did…and he hasn’t slowed down yet! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post!

    • Thanks for reading Natalie! Glad to hear that it’s easier with the second. I guess confidence of having been through it before helps. Thanks for the comment and glad your kiddos are doing great!!!

  3. I nannied during undergrad and the little boy I walked was a delayed talker. He’s almost 5 now and he’s talks just like any other 5 year old. I think it’s awesome you and your husband are just letting Jack take his own time! More power to you! Plus, I’m pretty sure there are a few studies out there that say kids who crawl longer have better eye-hand coordination, which can help them rock at sports later in life!
    Thanks for being willing to share about going through this! It’s a good reminder to all the other adults out there to not be so focused on milestone, not worry about other people’s kids, and to be more aware when they make comments about other people’s kids.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective Danielle! You are right – milestones are helpful, but we need to be reminded not to get too wrapped up in them. Hope you are having a great week!

  4. Thanks for sharing! I can’t believe the things some people say. (What is wrong with people?!?) haha! Sometimes I wish I could butt scoot, maybe Jack knows something we don’t 😉

    • Thanks Mandy! I think Jack must be on to something too. People are crazy with their comments, but sometimes with the outrageous ones I almost want to thank them because it gives me great material to laugh at for days

  5. Thanks for sharing this. My son, Jack :), didn’t walk until 18months to the day!! I was worried and has so many friends whose kids walked way earlier. He just was a crazy fast crawler! He even crawled backwards super fast. It was weird but it got him to where he wanted to go fast! I finally just accepted it and I knew he would do it when he was ready. He didn’t even “free stand” until a few weeks before. Now, at 22 months, I can’t keep up with him…he is a crazy fast runner! I love your comments, I was cracking up! Thanks for this post 🙂

    • Like your Jack, mine also gets to where he wants to go super fast so I guess doesn’t see the need to walk yet. I love that your Jack could crawl backwards fast! Thanks for reading and sharing your story! So happy that your Jack is doing so well!

  6. grayson just started walking about s week and a half ago. He is 16 1/2 months old. Isabella walked just after her first birthday. There is no rhyme or reason to when our children go through their milestones. We just need to love them and support them. Since Grayson was my second I wasn’t thy concerned. He is a big boy and I knew his size was difficult for him to maneuver or handle on those little feet! Jack will be fine! It’s true about the comments though and they are hard to ignore! On the other side of it, it’s hard for poor old mom to have to carry them when your in a public/dirty place! I had to get over my fear of germs with Mr. Grayson since I literally couldn’t hold him all the time in such cases!!! He has been fine so I’m hoping the germs were building his immune system

    • Thanks for reading Natalie! You are so right about how heavy they get!!! Jack is huge. Sometimes when we are out and I’m holding him people will make comments about, well you need to put him down so he will walk. I’m like, um, have you seen that dirty ground??? Too funny! Glad to hear Grayson and your other are doing well!

  7. When he is good and ready, he will walk. Trust me, he will not go to college not walking… i know it is hard not to compare your son to other kids – but don’t!! My now ver active 3 year old did not walk until she was 19 months old. Now she is all over the place and I cannot remember the time when she didn’t walk. I started dreading play dates because our friends kids were already running all over the place and it was a reminder how behind she was. And then one day, she took off… Literally went from barely standing to walking. She is still not the fastest kid and sometimes physically struggles, but she talks more than most of her peers. They are all different! You are doing the right thing by putting him in Little Gym and other activities that encourage walking and movement. Try and enjoy your baby boy and focus on his strengths, not missing milestones!!!

  8. I love your advice! And your sense of humor really does go a long way. Your comebacks are hilarious, by the way. Lol.
    I was a nervous wreck when C wasn’t walking yet after a year. Everyone told me she was supposed to be walking at her first birthday, but five months later, she finally did it. Jack will walk when he wants to. That’s what the kind people told me about C, and I’m sure that will be true for you, too.

  9. My son didn’t walk until 17 months, but there was an underlying medical issue that we weren’t aware of. He had Ricketts disease due to vitamin d deficiency. He had fraying in the bones in his wrists, hips, and knees. When he hit a year, he wasn’t crawling, but instead would roll to his destination. I say he has excellent problem solving skills! We had him evaluated by ECI and the physical therapist recommended that we get his hips X-rayed because they felt tight to her. Well, that’s when the firestorm started! He was diagnosed, but we had to do labs to verify. Once all,was confirmed, we did extreme vitamin d supplementation. Within 2 months of vitamin d and physical therapy, he was crawling. Two months after that, we had a walker!

    My son was breastfeed until 22.5 months. When he was a few months old, I asked his pediatrician if he needed to take vitamins. She insisted that he did not because the breastmilk was sufficient. I guess she decided the AAP recommendation that breastfeed babies, especially AA, need to have vitamin d supplementation because the breastmilk doesn’t have enough. My son had milk protein allergy as well, so I was eating NO dairy, which usually is vitamin d fortified, while nursing him. She dropped the ball, and we paid the price.

    I shared this story because sometimes here may be something medical wrong, and we tend to overlook things because everyone says, “don’t worry, they will get their in their own time..” If you are a concerned, keep asking and insist that the pediatrician confirms that nothing is wrong.

  10. I agree with the person above….I do think its important to get things checked out and even contact ECI when developmental milestones aren’t met. Better safe than sorry…..they may say your child is just fine, and there may be an underlying cause. We were one that ended up with an under,young cause that I wouldn’t have caught….my son had mild hypotonia (low muscle tone) and his ankles rolled inwards slightly. At 15 months when he wasn’t standing independently or walking, ECI evaluated and notified us about the tone issue and recommended orthotic shoes. We saw a specialist, got the shoes and started PT….he was walking within a week. We would have never noticed the problem. Early intervention is important and the earlier the better… certainly can’t hurt!! So, yes, it may be all in time, and it may be that they need a little extra intervention from a specialist. Always, always get it checked out before saying “he’s just a late bloomer”! Better to be sure than to put it off!

  11. My first son didn’t walk until 16 months and I constantly felt judged. He is also on the small side and people still feel it necessary to comment on his stature at three and a half. It’s frustrating that the physical milestones seem to be given more attention than the emotional and intellectual. People seem to think bigger is better, even with babies.

  12. This is my story right now! I have been through the ringer. I have been to the pedi to the neurologist to the pedi to being told she had hip dysplsia that she needed to see the orthopedic surgeon ASAP then to find out that she had absolutely nothing wrong with her hips and much more. It’s been a rough couple months. My baby is 13 months won’t walk or bare much weight on her legs, I’m confident she will do it when she is ready. We do therapy weekly also. It’s so hard not to compare or not to feel judged. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Jolynne! I am so happy you found this post and know that you aren’t the only one! It does sound like you’ve been through the ringer. I don’t believe it says this in the original post, but my son didn’t end up walking until 21 months! I know that sounds crazy, but he was actually just about to walk at 18 months and then fractured his leg and had to wear a cast which obviously hindered him from walking for a bit. Now at 2 years old, you would never know he ever had issues! He walks great, runs, jumps…does everything a kid his age should and is thriving. Sounds like you are an awesome mom and doing EVERYTHING you can. Hang in there and know it will happen when it should!


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