When Do Babies Crawl?

January 9, 2020


When Will My Baby Crawl?

It’s such an exciting parenting moment when baby learns to crawl! Obviously, you’ll be watching for every little indication that it’s about to happen. How can you make sure you don’t miss a second of it? The answer is simple: Know the signs and when to expect them.

What’s the Timeline Like?

Most babes start crawling between the ages of six and ten months, but there are stages of progression that they usually follow to get there. For example, in order to have the strength to push or pull their little body around, baby will need to be able to sit up first. The average time for babies to learn this skill is around seven months, but you can see it as early as four. In any case, once baby can stay seated without support for a few minutes, crawling may shortly follow. 

In addition to helping baby build up enough physical fortitude to support their body, sitting up puts baby in a position to lean forward and reach for their toys or anything they want to treat as a toy. Of course, this means they’ll fall forward and end up on their tummy or propped up on all fours. Crawling would be the next natural step, so keep an eye out for it.

How Will Baby Crawl?

There are so many different styles of crawling that your little one may try. Once they’re on the floor, they may go with the most common method–sliding one hand forward at the same time as their opposite leg. Maybe they’ll experiment with keeping one leg extended, making baby look like an adorable little crab.

It’s also possible that your little one will just pull themselves forward with their arms and hands in an army or commando crawl after they’ve plopped onto their tummy. Perhaps they’ll do a bear walk with their tummy and cute little bottom in the air. Some babies even crawl backwards or scoot along on their little bottom instead! 

All these methods are perfectly fine. The important thing is that they’re moving by themselves. Let them crawl however they like.

What Does Crawling Mean?

No matter when or in what style they decide to crawl, this is such an important stage of development for baby. When they begin to move around like this, they start gaining a sense of spatial awareness and how the physical world relates to their body. It takes coordination to know when to move their arms and legs to get from one place to another, so it’s great practice for more complicated actions that they’ll master later, such as jumping and running. Also, by holding themselves up while crawling, they form arches in their hands and muscle in their wrists, setting them up to eventually learn things like writing, typing, grasping small objects, buttoning or zipping clothing, and eating with utensils. Your baby will learn to crawl when their brain is prepared to start understanding all of these things.

Besides cultivating strength in their tummy, arms, and legs, along with visual-spatial and fine motor skills, crawling is a crucial milestone for baby’s cognitive development. You may think it’s just a physical feat, but crawling is baby’s first taste of independent mobility. Suddenly, the world is theirs to explore. They’ll happily spend time satisfying their curiosity by playing alone or following you around so that they can more easily see what you’re doing. 

What Should You Do Next?

Of course, this means that it’s time to babyproof your home. Now that your little one may be able to get into things without your supervision, make sure they’re always safe. Keep potted plants, pens, pencils, fragile items, and toxic chemicals away from their reach. Get covers for electrical outlets, and consider taping down electrical cords as well. It might be a good idea to lock down your toilet seats, too. Provided you’re allowed to drill holes in your wall, maybe you can fasten shelves, small tables, and other tippable objects to the wall. If you have stairs, get a baby gate right away to prevent babe from falling.

It’s also possible that mastering crawling will be simultaneously exhausting and energizing for your child. You may find that their sleeping habits change a little during this time, for better or worse. They may tire themselves out so much that they sleep longer and deeper than usual. However, they may also be so thrilled by this new stage of their life that they’ll resent bedtime and will do everything they can to fight sleep. If your little one ends up being the latter case, be prepared to patiently deal with extra fussiness and wakefulness, and stay firm about nighttime expectations.

What If Baby Doesn’t Crawl?

Don’t worry too much if baby never figures out any form of crawling. It’s possible that they’ll skip right to pulling themselves up on furniture and walking. Maybe they’ll ever prefer rolling from place to place while other babies are on their hands and knees. They can still enjoy the physical and mental benefits of independent mobility as long as they’re moving in some way. 

The only reason why you might need to be concerned is if your little one isn’t crawling or moving in any other way by the time they finish their first year, or if they’re not meeting other important milestones as well. For example, around the same time that baby should be expected to crawl, they should also be able to say simple words like “mama” and “dada,” and you should notice them actively socializing with people and other babies around them. Whatever movements they make, they must be able to use both sides of their body with equal proficiency. They shouldn’t be dragging one side of their body while the other does all the work. If it seems like baby is having trouble with all these developments, consider making an appointment with a pediatrician as soon as you can so that you can discuss this with a professional.

Cherish Every Second!

Your child might crawl anywhere from a week to several months before they learn to walk. Either way, it’s a short period of time. Stay vigilant for every possible sign that your baby is about to learn to crawl so that you can be there to relish every moment before the next milestone comes along.

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