20-month-old isn't walkingI knew before she was even born that Olivia was going to be a stubborn, feisty one. When she refused to turn from a breech position to head down, no matter what I did (and I tried EVERYTHING), I knew this was a girl with a mind of her own. Boy, was I right! Olivia won’t do things until she is good and ready. No matter how much we push her, she won’t do anything until the day she decides she wants to.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when all of Olivia’s little friends began walking and running, and she didn’t. She never crawled, but found a very effective way of scooting on her butt that involved rotating her hips from side to side (and rubbing holes in her pants in the process). She’s mobile, and it works for her. Why mess with a good thing, right?

It’s cute, but I want her to walk.

I’ve always played it off like it’s no big deal. Like it doesn’t bother me that my 20-month-old isn’t walking yet. But of course it upsets me. No one wants to see their child falling behind the curve, even if you know they will eventually catch up.

I know there are no medical issues. I understand she’s just taking her time. In the grand scheme of things, this really isn’t that big. With the help of physical therapy through Early Intervention, she’s progressing beautifully and is well on her way to walking. One day soon Olivia will walk, and then she will run. She’s healthy. She’s happy. She’s strong. She’s incredibly social and too smart for her own good. She loves to do somersaults and downward dog. She loves to go up and down the stairs.

She just doesn’t walk. She’s stubborn. She’ll do it when she wants to.

As positive as I am about the work we are putting in, I’m still sad that things aren’t quite right with my baby. Now, know that I’m not complaining. This is a fixable solution with a lot of hard work, but I also really just want her to walk. It’s such a joy to watch a little one learning to walk, run, and jump. It hurts to see her sitting on the sidelines, unable to keep up.

On the bright side, for every one obnoxious comment I’ve received about the fact that my 20-month-old isn’t walking (people have no boundaries!) I’ve gotten 20 supportive and helpful comments. I’ve had so many moms, dads, babysitters, friends, and even other kids trying to help Olivia walk. Everyone encourages her and tries to push her along. They hold her hands and walk with her. They hold toys to entice her. They clap and cheer when she stands on her own. They go crazy when she takes a few tentative steps by herself. Everyone wants to see her succeed.

We are so lucky to have resources like Early Intervention. She’s getting there. We are all working hard to get her there. One day she’ll do it, and then I know we won’t be able to keep up. She is going to be just a blur chasing after her brother and friends. In the meantime, she’s definitely having fun trying!

I know that in the near future, this setback will just be a blip in our parenting journey. If you have found yourself in the same boat (panic Googling “my 20-month-old isn’t walking!”) and think your child may be falling behind the curve, first know that it’s OK. They all hit milestones in their own time. Stop the comparison game — it’s just no good. Second, ask for help! Ask your doctor what services are available to you. Ask your friends and family for help. Finally, be proud of what your child can do and does do. They are yours, and they are truly amazing, no matter when they hit their milestones.

Morgan Sheena
Morgan came to Boston via New Jersey for college and law school and never left. She married her college sweetheart, Solomon, in October 2007. After years of trying to find themselves, they added three beautiful and energetic children, Aaron (October 2010), Olivia (June 2013), and Jesse (May 2016) to the family. They also have brother and sister miniature schnauzers, Rufio and Gracie. They live in Brookline and love city living.  Morgan is also a travel planner at Whitney World Travel and loves helping her clients find the perfect vacation for them. Loves: Exploring Boston, traveling, trying new restaurants, all things Disney, dive bars, blanco tequila, cooking elaborate meals, black coffee, dry red wine, working out, watching mindless movies (and quoting them) and getting lost in a good book. Can't Stand: when people snap their gum, cigarettes, loud chewing noises, cleaning floors and snakes.


  1. I know exactly what you are going through, and you are definitely making the right choice to get help! My youngest son didn’t walk until he was 22 months, after physical therapy through Early Steps (in FL) and finally getting custom made braces that went in his shoe and over his ankles (family history of low muscle tone). He will be 3 in May and he is jumping, running, climbing, etc. I remember crying when he took his first steps during a PT session. It was amazing! I know it is so hard to watch your baby sit on the floor while her friends run around her. When she starts walking and eventually running, seeing her do those actions will be that much sweeter given what you have gone through to get there!

    • Morgan, your post really resonated with me because we’re going through the same thing. Julie, our little guy also has low tone and is now 19 months and isn’t walking without assistance. I would love to hear more about the braces you had made for your son’s feet and ankles. I think my son would benefit greatly from something like that and our PT would love to have more info too. Would you mind if I contacted you directly? Morgan, know that there are other moms out there going through the exact same thing you are. I tell my friends that I wish I could fast forward two years just to see him walking, running, climbing, etc. and then rewind time. They’ll all get there when they are ready. Thanks for such an honest post. It was just what I needed to read.

      • Thank you so much for your sweet comments. Hearing from so many other parents going through the same thing has been so uplifting. My daughter doesn’t have braces, but we are getting orthotics for her. I believe one of the other commenters mentioned a son getting braces? Please feel free to email me though, I’m always happy to chat!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story about your daughter! My son now 2 didn’t walk until 19+ months. He also scooted,everywhere! He started at 11 months and never crawled. It took awhile to get him approved for PT but at 15 months he started. His therapist was amazing! We moved out of state before he being to walk but shortly after our move he started walking. His therapist happened to be visiting our area and seeing him run up to her was the best! Before you know it she’ll be running around like this delay never happened!

  3. My little boy didn’t walk until about 20 months, even then, he was still holding on to things to support himself until he was over 26 months. I asked for therapy, but his doctor kept putting it off….saying that he would walk when he was ready.Now he is three. He doesn’t walk….he struts… He can run and jump and throw a ball like a pro. He is a mini athlete. Having said that, waiting for him to walk was awful. Sometimes, I wanted to lie about his age at the playground because of the responses from other parents. But he is stubborn child and I think his doc was right. He walked when he wanted to. Now I can’t keep up :0) Good luck!

  4. i know I didn’t walk to almost 2 years. Upset everyone but me apparently. I promise I did everything else on time- eventually my parents had to get me a leash bc once I walked…. I ran everywhere

  5. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story, My daughter didn’t start walking until she was 19-20 months. She just had to do it in her own time. We pushed and encouraged and she finally got it. We also had lots of nasty comments from strangers. Someone even asked flat out once “what’s wrong with her”. It just hurt me for her. I finally learned (as a FTM), that all babies are different and they aren’t all always on the same timeline. That was honestly the best piece of advice I received, and I’m glad it finally sank in when it did or I would have driven myself crazy.

    Looking back at her now (almost 2.5), you would never have known she was a late walker. I know your daughter will be walking soon just from your description of her actions. It won’t be long now! Much luck to you all! 🙂

  6. My son didn’t walk until 17 months! We even has trips to physical therapists and neurologists to make sure everything was ok. At 16 months; the neurologist told us he was very advanced with his fine motor skills. He also stated that babies like this are often slower with their gross motor skills. Sure enough, a month later he decided he was going to walk and he took off like it was nothing! He is 22 months now and is running. It will happen soon…have you seen any physical therapists? They really did help Luke! Made him feel a little more comfortable being on his feet. He is also a very cautious baby – he was scared to walk. He climbs up stairs at parks to this day saying, “I not going to fall.”

    • We do see a physical therapist and she is amazing. Livi’s find motor skills are amazing too. They just pick one thing to focus on! Sounds like Luke keeps you on your toes!

  7. Thank you so much for posting. I could have written this myself as we are going through this right now. We’ve been doing PT since 12mo and she’s just now at 19mo walking holding our hands. We’re also waiting for smo braces. You hit the nail on the head how much it hurts watching her not be able to keep up with others her age. I try to be patient and focus on all the amazing things she can do! This is just one of the many lessons they will teach us 🙂 Thanks again for sharing. While we have lots of positive support it’s nice hearing from someone going through it.

  8. I know just how you feel. My twin daughters, who are now 14, didn’t walk until they were 18 and 20 months old. They never crawled and scooted just like your daughter. The comments I sometimes got from others often made me more anxious despite reassurances from the girls’ pediatrician. Just wanted to add my reassurance that Olivia will be just fine!

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