Watching your little one transition from crawling to pulling themselves up is exciting. It’s a major milestone that shows your baby is becoming more mobile and is well on their way to learning how to walk.

Many first-time parents wonder when they can expect to see their baby make that first shaky gesture towards pulling themselves up and standing. As with most developmental milestones, each baby is unique and will get there on their own time. But here’s a general overview of the typical timeline.

So, when do babies stand?

While most parents think of standing as a single event, by clinical standards many stages fall under “standing”. For example, according to the Denver II Developmental Milestones Test, standing can be further divided into the below five sub-categories that a child reaches between 8 to 15 months of age:

  • get to sitting (8 to 10 months)
  • pull to stand (8 to 10 months)
  • stand 2 seconds (9 to 12 months)
  • stand alone (10 to 14 months)
  • stoop and recover (11 to 15 months)

As we always say when it comes to developmental milestones, any ages listed are a general range rather than a hard and fast rule.

Keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with your baby if they reach a milestone towards the end of the recommended age range or even a month later after the milestone timeline has ended. If you have concerns, it’s always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician.

If you’re concerned about your baby potentially falling behind with their milestones, there are things that parents and caregivers can do to help babies to stand.

Make it a game

Standing is a vital transitional stage between sitting and walking. It’s inevitable that as they learn to stand they’ll be falling a lot too. So if you haven’t already, be sure to make their play area a safe place that’s well-padded.

Put some of your baby’s favorite toys on higher — but safe — surfaces like the edge of a couch that are still easy for them to reach. This will interest them while encouraging them to practice pulling themselves up on the sides of the couch.

Always make sure that any surface your baby uses to pull themselves up on is safe, stable, and doesn’t pose a risk of falling on them. This is also the time to do another round of babyproofing your home. Your baby’s newfound access to heights creates a new layer of potential dangers.

Invest in developmental toys

Musical walking toys or other items like infant grocery carts or great options to help your baby transition from standing to walking.

However, these are best reserved for older babies who have mastered standing unassisted and can stand up without first pulling themselves up on furniture — or you.

Skip the walker

Don’t use infant walkers, as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests, because they can pose a serious safety risk to your baby. The most obvious hazards include falling down stairs.

Just like when a baby learns to stand or pull themselves up, a walker can give babies access to dangerous items like electrical outlets, a hot oven door, or even toxic household cleaning solutions.

Many child development experts also caution against walkers because they strengthen the wrong muscles. In fact, according to experts at Harvard Health, walkers can actually delay critical developmental milestones like standing and walking.

You know your baby better than anyone. If your baby was slow to reach previous milestones — yet still met them — you might initially hold off on bringing up their slow progress to your pediatrician.

But according to the AAP, if your baby is 9 months or older and still isn’t able to pull themselves up using furniture or the wall, then it’s time to have that conversation.

This could be a sign that your baby has a physical developmental delay — something you want to address as soon as possible. Your pediatrician may ask you to complete an assessment of your child’s progress, either on paper or online.

You can also assess your baby’s development at home. The AAP has an online tool for tracking developmental delays, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a milestone tracker app.

If your doctor decides that there’s a physical developmental delay, they may recommend early intervention like physical therapy.

If your baby stands early

If your baby starts standing far earlier than the general 8-month guideline, great! Your little one hit a milestone and is ready to keep growing. This early achievement shouldn’t be looked at negatively.

Dinosaur Physical Therapy, a pediatric physical therapy practice in Washington, D.C., notes that standing early won’t cause your child to be bow-legged, as some people may believe.

Learning to stand is a big milestone for both you and your baby. While they’re getting a new glimpse into freedom and exploration, now you need to be extra sure that their environment is safe and free from hazards.

Be sure to create an engaging world that will encourage your little one’s curiosity and help them to practice and master this important motor skill.