It can be exhausting taking care of a newborn baby. But all those ‘firsts’ make it all worthy. From the first time they smile at you to when they hold their neck up and sit on their own, it is all full of excitement, happiness, and bonding time between parents and babies.
Once they start to crawl, there is no looking back! The walking, the running, chasing butterflies, going on walks – all those wonderful things you look forward to during the initial exhausting months of parenting. When do babies crawl? How do I encourage my baby to crawl? Are there any precautions I need to take? Get answers to all your baby crawling queries in this article. Are your seat belts on?
When Do Babies Start To Crawl?
Most babies typically start crawling between 6 – 10 months of age. However, it is important to remember regarding each milestone of your baby that all babies have their own pace and are different from other babies. Thus, comparing the achievement of any baby milestones with other babies is not a great idea.
So, even if your baby does not crawl till 10 – 11 months of age, it is not alarming. However, you need to keep encouraging them and keep an eye for any developmental delay red flags.
Stages of Crawling
Crawling is not a one-day process. Instead, baby crawling stages build on each other, and eventually, your baby will master the art of crawling! The following are the crawling stages -
- 1. Your baby will be able to balance the body when on all four limbs.
- 2. After this, your baby will make rocking motions and move back and forth on all fours.
- 3. They will start to push the body ahead while on the tummy with the lags.
- 4. After this, they will start lunging forward.
- 5. This is when the crawling phase has arrived. Sometimes babies crawl on three limbs, but mostly on four.
Advantages of Crawling
Crawling is the stepping stone to many other motor skills and is thus an important stage in your baby’s life! For example, it teaches your baby balancing skill that helps later in walking and running. In addition, it teaches them coordination skills on both sides of their bodies.
Crawling also teaches your baby alertness as they will start and stop looking at what’s in their surroundings. It teaches them independence and makes them confident to move around on their own.
They learn to touch different surfaces and develop their sense of touch too. Moreover, it is a great exercise to develop their muscles and bone strength and keep them active.
Types of Crawling
Each baby is different and may crawl in different styles. Not all babies learn to crawl on all fours, and some even never crawl on all fours. From funny looking to scary, your baby might have any of the following types of crawls
- ◾ Classic crawl: The Image of crawling that we all have in our minds – that’s classic crawl. Your baby will crawl on all four limbs towards its front in a classic crawl.
- ◾ Bottom scoot: This type of crawl looks as cute as it sounds. Your baby will be sitting on their bottom and pushing themselves along with their hands in the bottom scoot crawl.
- ◾ Rolling: Some babies skin the crawling stage. They roll everywhere and then begin to cruise by holding furniture or anything that’s within reach. There is nothing wrong if your baby misses the crawling milestone and goes from rolling to walking directly.
- ◾ Combat crawl: Also known as command crawl, in combat crawl, your baby will be on its belly with its legs stretched out on its back, and they push themselves ahead with their arms and elbows.
- ◾ Crab crawl: Just like a crab, when babies push themselves sideways or reverse, it is known as crab crawl. There is nothing wrong with this, and it is perfectly normal for kids to move in any direction when they learn to crawl.
- ◾ Bear crawl: In this type of crawling, your baby will crawl like a bear, keeping the elbows and knees straight and stiff.
- ◾ Leapfrog crawl: Another cute and funny-looking crawling move; in this crawl, the baby gets in a bridge post with both hands and legs and moves by thrusting forward.
- ◾ Tripod Crawl: Also called the lazy leg crawl, in a tripod crawl, your baby will use only one leg and both hands to crawl while letting the second let be free and loose.
How to Encourage Your Baby to Crawl?
As soon as your baby reaches the baby crawling age, you start to wonder when will the actual crawling start! Here are some tried and tested tips to encourage your little one to start crawling –
- ◾ Give them adequate tummy time to help them develop their muscles and test and put into proactive the skills of getting up using their hands and legs. This will build the base for crawling.
- ◾ While they are in their tummy, encourage your baby to play with their hands elevated. You can stand a little higher position, call them out, and show them things to reach out for and move towards you.
- ◾ Once you feel your baby’s arms and legs are strong enough, you can also hold them in a crawling position. This way, they will understand that they can use their limbs to pull their tummy up and explore using their limbs to move around.
- ◾ Some fun time where you crawl on the floor to show your baby how to do is also a fun yet effective way of encouraging your baby.
- ◾ Please remember that any milestone has to be fun and brings a sense of achievement for your baby too. Do not push them too hard, or they might lose interest for a while in trying to crawl.
- ◾ Babies love toys and colourful things. So, stand at a little distance and tempt them with something they love – a bright coloured ball, a musical toy, or their favourite plushie.
- ◾ Playing in front of a mirror also encourages your baby to move then hands and arms, and also, they might try to move towards the mirror. Introducing them to a mirror and giving them tummy time in front of it also helps them learn to crawl.
- ◾ Make sure they are dressed comfortably so that crawling does not become a painful experience for them. Make them wear Knee Sleeves to save their delicate knees from any bruises or cuts while trying to crawl.
- ◾ Keep your baby free on the floor to explore the surroundings. Avoid overuse of bouncers and walkers and let them be on their tummy trying to crawl.
- ◾ Giving massages to your baby also helps in strengthening their bones and muscles. This will be a building base for the strength they need for crawling. Refer to the article on Newborn Massaging for more details.
- ◾ Nothing motivated babies more than a parent feeling happy and proud of their little achievements. So, make sure to be their biggest cheerleaders on even little success. This will motivate them to keep trying.
- ◾ Last but most important is to encourage your baby to crawl and make sure the surroundings are safe and babyproofed. Even one bad experience can scare and discourage your little one from trying again. Remember, safety first!
What to Do If Your Baby Doesn’t Start Crawling
If your baby doesn't start crawling until even 8 – 10 months, there is nothing to worry about. A lot of kids start late, and some even skip the crawling stage altogether.
Having said that, if your baby is showing limited signs of mobility while on the floor or does not use hands to pull the head up or legs to push itself towards toys or other objects, it is advised to talk to your paediatrician about this.
Get That Little Bum Moving!
While it might also mean hiding all your beautiful expansive vases and showpieces away, crawling and moving around is a fun phase for your baby and you. Playing chase can be as relaxing for you as a good night’s sleep is! As long as the surrounding is safe and you are there to encourage your little one, that little bum moving around from room to room is going to be fun!