Crawling is one of the most significant and earliest developmental milestones for your baby. It usually happens between sitting upright and walking. One of the most common questions parents have is when their baby will start crawling. Moreover, many wonder about the different crawling styles and how to keep their crawling baby safe.
Here, we’ll explain at what age babies start crawling. We’ll discuss the most common crawling styles and talk about how and whether you should encourage your baby to crawl.
At What Age Do Babies Start Crawling?
Many babies will start crawling around the nine-month marker. Of course, it’s important to remember that every baby is unique. According to the World Health Organization, some babies will move to the crawling stage at five or six months, while others will take their sweet time and start crawling much later. Many babies skip the crawling stage altogether and go from sitting upright to walking.
Babies tend to have their own time frames for achieving milestones. As a parent, you can provide a safe environment and allow your baby to explore their body and movements at their own pace.
Common Signs Your Baby Is Getting Ready to Crawl
Your baby can’t talk, but they can send you signals they’re getting ready to crawl. Here are some common signs that indicate the crawling stage is around the corner:
- Your baby can roll back and forth from the stomach to the back.
- Your baby can get into the seating position independently.
- Your baby pulls itself up while lying on its stomach.
- Your baby’s rocking back and forth on their hands and knees.
- Your baby’s turning in circles.
- Your baby’s balancing on their arms and feet.
How to Help Your Baby Crawl?
Babies aren’t internally programmed to crawl. However, they are motivated to move. This motivation leads them to experiment with movements and find the best way to go from one place to the other.
You can encourage your baby to crawl in several ways. Here are some of them:
- Tummy time – Tummy time is incredibly important for your baby’s development. While spending time on their tummy, your baby will strengthen the shoulder and neck muscles (upper body) and learn how to hold their head up and use elbows as support. Plus, tummy time also improves your baby’s motor skills.
- Help your baby sit – Assist your baby to sit and, when they’re ready, let them sit without assistance. As they practice sitting up, your baby builds abdominal and back muscles, which are essential for crawling. What’s more, many babies begin crawling “by accident” while trying to sit up.
- Encourage your baby to approach you – When your baby’s strong enough, you can stand close and call their name to encourage them to move toward you. You can also use a favorite toy to attract your baby’s attention.
If you’re unsure how to motivate your baby to crawl, you can always consult your baby’s pediatrician.
What Are the Different Types of Crawling Styles?
You may not know this, but there are many types of crawling styles. It’s important to remember that there’s no “best” style; each style is great for your baby’s development.
Here are the many ways babies crawl:
The Belly Crawl
Many babies start crawling using the belly crawling style. There are two main types of belly crawling: the commando crawl (combat crawl) and the inchworm crawl.
The commando crawl is when your baby crawls using only their arms, keeping the legs and belly on the floor. For most babies, this is the initial stage of learning to crawl.
When a baby uses both arms simultaneously to move forward, rises up, and then does a belly flop, it’s using the inchworm crawling style.
The Classic Crawl
The classic crawl is what we think of when we picture a baby crawling. Classic crawling is when a baby pushes itself on their hands and knees and alternates the opposite leg and arm to move forward.
The Bottom Scoot
The bottom scoot is when a baby sits on their bottom and uses their legs to push forward.
The Tripod Crawl
If your baby uses two hands and one leg for crawling, they’re using the tripod crawl.
The Bear Crawl
The bear crawl is a common (and adorable) variation of the classic style. Here, babies also use their hands and feet to move around. In this case, the legs are straight instead of bent.
The Rolling Crawl
Although it’s called the rolling crawl, it’s not exactly crawling. This is when your baby rolls back and forth to move around.
The Crab Crawl (Backward Crawl)
The crab crawl can be frustrating to watch for some parents. Namely, the baby moves either sideways or backward using their hands while keeping the knees bent.
With the leapfrog crawl, the baby creates a bridge with their arms and legs and thrusts forward.
How to Keep Crawling Babies Safe
When babies learn to crawl, they will explore the world around them at a much faster pace. As a parent, you need to ensure your crawling baby is safe and secure.
Here’s what you can do to keep your baby safe:
Childproof the House
Once babies start crawling, they can get into all sorts of places and access drawers, cables, shelves, etc. The first thing you need to do is childproof your house by removing hazards and anything you don’t want to see broken or destroyed. The best way to do this is to view your house from your baby’s perspective: get down on your hands and knees and see what may represent an obstacle.
Dress Your Baby Appropriately
Whether they’re using the army crawl or belly crawling, your baby often uses their entire body to move around. You can help your little one move and prevent injuries by dressing them in stretchy pants or comfy leggings.
Teach the Baby That Some Things Are Off Limits
While you want to give your baby enough space to explore their environment, you should also set boundaries. Your baby doesn’t know a coffee table or a shelf isn’t suitable for climbing or pulling. If your little one climbs where they shouldn’t, redirect them to a safe place.
When Should You Be Concerned?
As mentioned, babies develop at their own pace. Some begin crawling when they’re six months old, while other babies skip crawling altogether. It’s important to remember that babies have their own timeline. Just because your baby isn’t an early crawler or doesn’t crawl at all doesn’t mean you should be worried.
However, there are a few signs that could indicate you should see a pediatrician. For example, if your baby is behind in other areas like language, other motor skills, or social interactions, you should mention this to the doctor. Do the same if you notice your baby isn’t using both sides of the body equally well.
These signs could indicate some developmental delays or neurological issues. Of course, they don’t necessarily mean something’s wrong with your baby. Some babies simply reach developmental milestones a bit later, and that’s perfectly fine. Still, if you want to have peace of mind, it’s best to check with the doctor.
Enjoy Your Baby’s Milestones
Many parents can’t wait to see their baby crawling. It’s impossible to tell when this will happen since every baby is different, but there are signs that could indicate crawling is around the corner.
If you don’t see the signs of crawling, it doesn’t necessarily mean something’s wrong. Your baby may skip crawling and start walking soon. Parents who aren’t sure how to help their baby learn to crawl or notice any issues should always consult a pediatrician.