Babies and Crawling: When can I expect my baby to crawl?

Learning to crawl is a significant developmental milestone, and it means big things are on the horizon for your baby. Once your baby begins to move, there will be no stopping them from exploring everything they can see and touch. While the average age babies begin crawling is around nine months, not all babies will crawl, and others will start earlier or later. 

This article will guide you in understanding this significant milestone, ways to encourage crawling, and why you don’t need to worry if your baby skips this step and moves straight to walking!

When Will My Baby Crawl?

The average age babies begin crawling is around nine months; however, some babies begin crawling as early as six months and others later. Larger babies tend to crawl later mainly due to the extra weight they need to learn how to manipulate, but there is no hard and fast rule tied to a baby’s size and gross motor development. Each child will crawl when they are developmentally ready!

Why Isn’t My Baby Crawling?

Some babies will crawl as late as eleven months, or they may skip the step altogether and move straight to walking. While there is debate in the medical and early childhood spheres as to whether or not a baby needs to crawl, not crawling does not mean your baby will have any developmental setbacks. Many children never crawl and develop just fine!!

Crawling does, however, have some benefits for your child. These include:

  • Depth perception and spatial skills
  • Strength and muscle building
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Decision-making skills
  • Hand and wrist exercise 

When to be Concerned

A baby who isn’t crawling isn’t an immediate cause for concern. However, a baby who hasn’t learned to crawl yet and is also behind in other developmental areas like language, social skills, or gross motor skills warrants talking with your pediatrician. Another reason for concern is if your baby only uses one side of their body.

You should also keep in mind that an early crawler doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have an early walker, so if your baby starts crawling early but takes a while to walk, it’s perfectly fine! 

Types of Crawling

When parents think of crawling, most probably think of the traditional hand and knee crawling, also known as the classic crawl. The classic crawl is when your baby pushes up on their hands and knees and moves forward using alternate leg and arm movements.

However, there are several different types of crawls. Your baby may start with one style of crawling and transition to the classic crawl, or they may stick with their unique style until they learn to walk.

  • Commando Crawl – Also known as the belly crawl or the army crawl, your baby keeps their belly on the floor and pulls themselves along the floor using their arms.
  • Bottom Scoot – The bottom scoot is when your baby sits on their bottom and uses their legs to pull themselves across the floor.
  • The Roll – Your baby may get from place to place by rolling like a log across the room
  • Leapfrog – The leapfrog crawl is when your baby makes a bridge with their body using their arms and legs and thrusts themselves forward.
  • Crab Crawl – When your baby is a crab crawler, they use their hands and legs to move sideways and backward opposed to forwards.
  • Tripod Crawl – If your baby is a tripod crawler, they will move themselves forward using two arms and one knee and leg. The other leg will drag along the side.
  • Bear Crawl – The bear crawl looks like your baby is doing yoga. They move forward using their hands and feet in a position similar to the downward-facing dog and their bottom high in their air.

Ways to Promote Crawling

While you cannot force your baby to crawl, you can certainly take some steps to promote the development of crawling.

Tummy Time

Tummy time is one of the earliest and best things you can do to get your baby ready for crawling. Tummy helps the development of your baby’s core muscles as well as their head and neck strength. It also encourages cognitive development and problem-solving skills. Tummy time will eventually help your baby develop the ability to push themselves up on their hands and knees, a precursor to crawling.

Sitting Up

Using baby pillows or cushions, start by propping your baby up to play. Sitting up allows them to develop the core and back muscles they need to crawl. Keep cushions and yourself close by until your baby can sit independently without toppling over. 

Playing with Toys

Either during tummy time or while your baby is sitting up and playing, place some of their favorite toys just out of reach. The temptation of the toys will eventually be enough to get them crawling. Talking to them from the other side of the room is another way to encourage movement. 

Dress Them is Comfy Clothes

Crawling means a lot of movement, so this is not the time for frilly and complicated dresses or stylish, tight-fitting jeans or shirts. Leggings and t-shirts, or onesies with leg warmers, are ideal for your baby learning to crawl. If the weather is nice, allow the opportunity to crawl in the soft grass!

Time to Baby Proof

When your baby appears to be on the verge of moving, it is time to baby-proof your home. The best way to keep your baby safe is to get down on their level and to look for any potential hazards such as:

  • Cords or wires
  • Uncovered outlets
  • Table runners with objects on top they could pull down
  • Sharp corners
  • Knobs that could unscrew and become choking hazards
  • Stairwells
  • Furniture that could topple over

Any potential hazards should be put away, covered, secured, or cushioned.

Once your baby starts crawling, they will be into everything and be everywhere that is open to them, so while this is an exciting milestone, safety must become a priority. Whether your baby is an early or late crawler or never crawls sooner than you know, they will be on the move as they enter the next exciting chapter of their development!

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