Since you held your newborn after birth, you’ve been watching them grow, learn and seek autonomy or independence. Witnessing your baby getting ready to start crawling is memorable, a milestone many mums look forward to. But when do babies crawl, and do you need to get involved in the process?
Every baby is unique, but most will crawl from around their sixth month since birth. Some babies move earlier or later than others, while some skip this stage altogether. By the time they’re ten months old, crawling gets done. Next comes standing, and then walking follows suit.
Kids develop at their own pace, so you shouldn’t compare yours with others. You can spot the signs of crawling and encourage them. Keep reading to know when babies crawl and what to do if you think your child is not on track.
Should I Be Worried That My Baby Is Late Starting to Crawl?
Newborns go through rapid development, learning something new daily. Your little one is no longer content at being in the same spot, and they’re experimenting with rolling, going on all fours that eventually leads to crawling. You’ll see forward belly lurches and backward scrambles as attempts at independent movement.
Before your baby crawls, they’ll sit up, roll over and then take tentative hand and knee steps. While it’s not a general age for all tots, six or seven months mark the beginning of this all-important milestone. However, there’s no need to worry if your little one isn’t bothered yet, as they’ll progress at their speed.
You’ll keep an eye on the indications that your baby is ready to start crawling. These include;
Your baby will sit up once they’re able to hold their head up and garner enough upper body strength to push them upright. You’ll see your child starting to push up with their arms when lying face down.
From around the fourth month, your tot can hold their head up without support. At six months, they’re already sitting with help to keep them from tipping over. They’ll start crawling soon, which goes on until their first birthday; when they’ll have started to stand and walk.
You can help your baby with sitting up once they’re able to push themselves into position. By the sixth month, their neck and upper body muscles will have strengthened. You can use pillows or a high chair to support and encourage your child, so they can look around from a vertical angle.
As early as four months, your newborn will start to roll over. Your baby will rock from side to side as a foundation of rolling, and they’ll turn from lying on the tummy to their back.
By the sixth month, your tot will be able to roll on their left or right side. Multidirectional rolling continues for a couple of months, and then your baby can move front and back. Place a blanket on the floor and encourage your child with toys on their side. That’s incentive enough to have them reaching out with arms outstretched.
After your baby’s sixth or seventh month, they should be rocking on hands and knees, back and forth. As preparation for crawling, this pre-crawl rock then develops into backward or forward movement.
The pre crawl can extend to the time your tot is nine months old. From there, and if they haven’t started fully crawling, your baby will perform either creeping or commando-style crawling. That’s where they pull themselves forward on the floor.
To safely encourage your baby to develop a crawl, place favorite toys, a blankie, or anything they’re interested in front of them. Let your child play by reaching for them, but ensure they’re in a safe area away from stairs.
Avoid accidents when you notice mobility in your baby. That means you’ll have to childproof your home, using safety gates and locking entry doors and those that lead to the bathroom or basement. Remember to put away cleaning detergents and other hazardous chemicals where your child can’t reach.
How Do I Know When My Baby Is Ready to Start Crawling?
Once your baby can sit upright without help, or go on all fours, rocking back and forth, they’re ready to crawl. You’ll notice your child dragging their legs while on their belly, or pushing up with their arms to try and plant a firm knee on the floor. Your tot may also be creeping, seeming as though they’re tacking an assault course barbed wire obstacle.
Sitting without support is the milestone to watch out for, as soon your baby will start noticing interesting things on the horizontal plane. They may scoot their bottom along the floor or roll from one point to another. Crawling might start with backward movement before translating into the typical frontwards crawl on all fours.
Encourage all mobility by offering sufficient tummy time with supervision, so your toddler builds trunk, neck, shoulder, and arm strength. When your baby kicks their feet from underneath, they’re strengthening the thigh and hip muscles. If your child starts doing mini push-ups, propping and lifting themselves, they’re ready to take off on a crawl.
How Can I Encourage My Baby to Start Crawling?
Crawling is one of the first activities that will require your baby to use their body, as well as their mind. That means they’re in line for developing cognitive, visual, and gross motor skills, which their successful crawl will rely on.
To begin with, your child’s neck, shoulders, back, arms, and core muscles should have enough strength to support their weight and maintain balance. The visual aspect is also vital, as your baby relies on both eyes to focus on where they intend to go. That’s known as binocular vision, where they gauge where their hands are and the distance to cover, which helps form depth perception.
As they start to crawl, your baby’s mental acumen gets tested as well. Your toddler develops navigation skills and can memorize a journey map by studying landmarks along the way. For instance, if the toys he or she is reaching for are behind the coffee table, they’ll learn how to maneuver around it.
Babies don’t like the immobility of lying on their tummy. You’ll make practice exciting by playing with them while coming down to their eye level so you can be engaging. A favorite crawling workout for many parents is placing the child on their chest, stomach side down. From this position, play with your toddler as they learn to lift on hands and knees.
My Baby Is Moving, But Should I Call That Crawling?
Your baby’s preferred crawling style may also amuse or shock you, looking different from anything you’ve seen. That’s fine, as there are countless styles of self-propelling that help your baby move to get their desired or targeted toy.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your baby moves the way they feel most comfortable. As such, there is no right or wrong style of crawling, as babies have been moving in all manners possible by man. These movements involve belly pulling, hands, feet, bottom shuffling, cursing, step scooting, and rolling.
Some of the common crawling types include;
The Classic Crawl
Your baby will move one arm forward, followed by the leg of the opposite side, placing weight on the knees and hands. Also known as the cross crawl, this tandem movement is essential for teaching your toddler to balance.
The Bear Crawl
It’s a variation of the classic crawl where your baby is on fours, but their knees and elbows are straight. Since it makes your tot look like a bear cub, this crawling style is one of the most hilarious.
The Belly Crawl
I’ve talked about the commando or leopard crawl, something better suited to a boot camp than your living room floor. Your baby drags their torso along as they move, and this style is common when babies are getting started.
The Crab Crawl
Your baby uses their hands to scurry backward and sideways in an interestingly funny crawl with a crablike effect. One leg propels them, pushing from the side, while the other is bent forward of their trunk.
The Rolling Crawl
If your baby hasn’t figured out how to get on their hands and knees, the rolling crawl works to move them forward. Your child rolls their body in 360° revolutions in the direction they’re looking to go. While not technically a crawl, it works to incentivize mobility and later standing or walking.
The Bottom Scoot
Your toddler has developed a habit of wearing down their diapers using your floor. A bottom scoot sees your baby ‘scooting’ or propelling themselves forward using their legs as paddles. The adorable sitting-up crawl also has their hands working like navigation rudders, seeking support from the floor for balance.
The Leapfrog Crawl
Your baby looks like a frog about to leap, striking a pose that involves their hands and knees but bridge style. Similar to the earlier mentioned bear crawl, your toddler uses their limbs to push forward, essentially making mobility headway.
The Tripod Crawl
Both hands and one knee are used to scoot across the floor while the other leg hanging back. The tripod sees one limb overused for movement while the other relaxes underneath your baby’s trunk.
Over 50% of babies have started to crawl by the time they’re eight months old. But your tot could start early or be late. Some will skip the traditional crawl altogether, so don’t worry if yours isn’t showing progress. There may be other forms of mobility taking place as alternatives to crawling. Such include scooting on their bum or rolling like a log to where they want to go. However, if you light their birthday cake’s first candle and there’s no movement whatsoever, talk to your pediatrician.
I’m Cathrine and I’m a 39-year-old mother of 3 from Utica, New York. And I’m extremely happy you’ve come to visit my hide-out on the web. Here I post about everything related to family-life and usually it will involve babies and lessons I’ve learned over the years from experts, friends, and my own mistakes. So hopefully you will find what i write fun and informational!