4 important skills babies learn from cruising:

Babies and Shift of Weight

The motor milestone occurring in the development of a baby prior to walking is called cruising.  The major event of a baby learning to stand opens the door for the advanced motor skill of cruising.  Once standing, baby takes small steps sideways while facing and holding onto a stationery object such as the seat of a chair.  This is the transfer of weight from one foot to the other. This is often called “side cruising” because of the sideways direction of baby’s steps, which differ from the forward direction of steps taken in walking.  This shift of weight is essential for walking, which happens in the forward facing direction and without holding on.

Babies and Balance

Occasionally she lets go of her hold and balances awhile.  If you observe her feet you can see the tiny movement in the toes and ankles, this is the skill of balance developing right before your eyes.  She may look like she is not doing anything but standing and looking at you, but look down at the feet and you will see a great deal of work occurring!  Notice the wiggling of her little feet from the inside edge to the outside edge and back again.  There are many muscles in the feet that are learning to work and develop strength.  Pretty soon she will not be holding on!


Remember Lucy, our rising star?  Lucy refined the skill of standing in her last lesson, and began cruising.  I put two or three chairs close together with a ball on the seat a bit out of her reach.  She felt confident to hold onto the chair seats and take just a few steps sideways.  I showed her mother how to take a finger and gently press each of Lucy’s toes down into the ground, reminding Lucy of the connection to the floor.  After Lucy walked a couple of steps we put the ball a little further away, encouraging her to take a few more steps.  It is important not to put the toy too far away at first – we want baby confident she can attain her goal! When Lucy feels stable in her feet she will have the confidence to let go.


Now that baby is moving in the new upright position, the legs and feet are bearing more weight.  The weight of the body when it is closer to the ground and being supported by the hands and knees is less than when it is upright and supported only by the two legs and feet.  Shifting weight, improving balance, and increasing strength create the perfect prelude to walking.  Enjoy the security while she still is holding on – it won’t be long now!

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