Crawling means your baby is on their way to toddler-hood, which also means you’ll need to keep a much more watchful eye over what they get up to.
It’s always exciting when your baby learns a
new skill - although when that skill is crawling some parents might not be so
Crawling means your baby is on their way to
toddler-hood, which also means you’ll need to keep a much more watchful eye
over what they get up to. Crawling is a crucial part of your babies mobility
development but it doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s a good idea to know what
to look out for, what to expect, and when.
When will my baby start
This can vary slightly between babies, but you can generally
expect to see your baby mastering the ability to crawl between 7 and 10 months
old. For some babies, it might be sooner than this and for others it might be a
bit later.Some babies seem to skip the crawling stage and move straight into
pulling themselves upright on furniture, learning to balance and then taking
their first steps! Other babies might only choose to ‘bottom shuffle’, or roll
instead of crawl.
It's important to know that not all babies crawl in the same
way, and as long as your baby is engaging in trying new ways of movement, and
progressing with them, then they should be right on track.
What are the stages of learning
As your baby grows, their mobility and coordination strengthens,
and so they will begin to look for new ways to move naturally. There are a few
stages that will let you know your baby is developing the necessary mobility to
start crawling. These can include:
1. Building neck strength - The development of your
baby’s neck muscles is the first step in developing overall mobility. At around
3 months, your baby will begin to turn their head from side to side to look
around them. These movements help strengthen baby's neck muscles.
2. Starting to roll- By 5 months, your baby might
start to use their arms to push up, and to roll from their tummy to their side.
Rolling onto their tummies is common for babies because they can use their arms
and legs to support them, and it helps build their strength and coordination.
By 6 months, most babies will have enough abdominal strength to roll all the
way over, from their side to their tummy and back again.
3. Sitting up - Once your baby has mastered
rolling, you may see them move onto the next challenge of mobility - sitting
up! This usually happens around 6-8 months. This can take babies a little longer
to achieve, and they may struggle at first and topple over, but this also helps
them to develop the arm strength needed to help with further mobility. As the upper
body muscles develop, you will notice your baby is much more confident in
sitting upright unaided.
4. Moving to all fours - Once your baby has mastered
rolling and sitting upright, you are likely to see them manoeuvre onto all
fours. At first they might not do much apart from rock back and forth, but with
time, as their muscles grow stronger, you will see them start trying to crawl,
starting with moving their arms out in front of them, and building up to moving
their legs in coordination. This normally happens between 7 and 10 months old.
Not all babies will master these steps at the same time, and
some might skip a couple altogether. Some babies might progress through these
steps very quickly, and for others it might take a bit longer.
How can I help my baby learn to
When you notice your baby starting to pick up more mobility and
looking like they’re getting ready to crawl, it’s often best to let them learn
and develop these skills on their own, naturally over time. But there’s also no
harm in preparing them and giving them a helping hand to get on the go!
Some exercises and activities you can try with your baby to help
them learn to crawl include:
Plenty of Tummy Time – from around 3 months old you
can encourage your baby to start learning more about their mobility and
developing strength and movement through plenty of tummy time. When on their
tummy, babies will experiment more with their arms and legs and pushing
Get down on floor – another way to help your baby
when they’re taking the steps to learn to crawl is to get down on the floor
with them! Playing with them and moving around at their level will show them
how it’s done and encourage them to try to.
Move their toys – when playing on the floor with
them, move their toys just out of reach to encourage them to experiment and
strengthen their movements – it also gives them an incentive to get on the
Encourage them – by smiling and cheering your
baby on when they are trying to take small steps to crawling, you encourage
them to keep trying.
Support them – you can support your baby in a
few different ways to help them with their crawling. Placing your hands on the
bottoms of their feet when they’re on all fours gives them something to ‘push
off’ from to help them move forward. Or you could try rolling a blanket under
them and holding it up gently to help hold themselves up while they practice
moving their arms and legs.
What will my baby’s crawling
There isn’t generally any ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ way for your baby
to crawl. Your baby might try a few different methods of moving, rolling and
crawling around before settling on one that works for them and that they find
the most comfortable.
Some different identified crawling styles include:
Combat Crawling - your baby might crawl forward
with their forearms on the floor and their bottom up in the air.
Bottom Crawling - your baby might stay in a semi-seated
position and use their arms and legs to pull them self forward on their bottom.
Bear Crawling - your baby might keep their
legs straight and crawl forward on all fours.
Crab Crawling - your baby might tuck one knee
in and extend the other and crawl sideways and backwards in this fashion.
What should I do if my baby
doesn’t start crawling?
It’s important to know that not all babies learn to crawl at the
same time, and in the same way. Some babies even skip the crawling stage
altogether and go from sitting up, pulling themselves upright on furniture and
straight into walking! Most doctors won’t be too concerned if even by 15months
your baby still hasn’t quite mastered walking. It can take time and plenty of
encouragement, but the majority of babies get there in the end.
That said, it’s important to be able to identify any warning
signs about your baby’s progression with their mobility, so if there is a more
serious problem, you can get support from a doctor or other medical
professional.Below are some warning signs to look out for by general mobility
stages. You should consider speaking with your doctor:
If by 3 months old your baby:
Can’t support their own head
Doesn’t respond or turn their
head when you speak
Has difficulty moving their eyes
to look around
If by 8 months your baby:
Can’t sit upright without assistance
Has difficulty, or cannot, roll over
Their muscles seem unusually limp or tight
If by 12 months your baby:
Is disengaged or uninterested in moving around
Is unable to stand upright, even when supported
Drags any part of their body, or seems unable to manoeuvre a
specific part of their body
How long will my baby crawl for before they start
Once your baby has mastered
crawling, they will quickly want to move onto the next stage of getting around
- walking! When they are crawling you will probably notice your baby is more
able and willing to pull themselves upright on furniture and will want to hold
your hands while standing as they master moving their legs.
As long as your baby is engaged,
active and trying out their new modes of movement, they will develop the
muscles, strength and coordination to progress through crawling to running -
before you even know it!As always, if you do have any concerns, always speak to
your doctors who can reassure you, or provide further professional medical
support if needed.
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