There are a number of important milestones that your baby will reach early in life. From simple tasks like sitting up or lifting their head to more advanced movements like rolling over, these little achievements are always heartwarming. But there’s nothing quite like witnessing your baby crawling for the first time!
In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about baby crawling. We’ll tell you when you can expect to see your baby crawl, and we’ll give you 10 simple ways you can help your little one reach this milestone!
When Do Babies Start To Crawl?
Many parents are anxious to see their baby crawl and closely monitor their baby’s developments. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! However, it’s important to remember that all babies are different and follow a different development path.
Some newborns may start rolling over early on but take a long time to begin crawling. Other infants may be late to start rolling over but begin to crawl and walk soon thereafter. Each child is unique.
Generally speaking, babies begin rolling over at around three to five months old. Your baby might roll over from their back to their tummy or vice versa, or they might simply do a half-roll onto their side. Whichever way your baby rolls, it’s an accomplishment to be celebrated!
Most babies begin to crawl somewhere between six and 10 months of age. As with rolling over, there are several different ways in which your baby might begin to crawl. For instance, your little one may start to wiggle across the floor on their belly. Or they may push themselves around with their legs. Others still may use their arms to pull their tiny bodies around. There’s no right or wrong way to crawl!
It’s also important to note that there is no conclusive evidence that babies who crawl earlier in life become smarter, stronger, or healthier later in life. Some research suggests that infants who start crawling earlier on may develop stronger motor and sensory skills as children. However, other research finds the complete opposite—that there is no link between early developmental milestones and cognitive abilities in children ages six to 11.
The moral of the story is this: you don’t need to worry if your baby is a late crawler! Just keep giving them plenty of TLC and follow the 10 tips below.
10 Tips To Get Your Baby Crawling
Whether your little one is still a newborn or has reached the six-month mark and is already rolling over, you’re probably anxiously awaiting the day your baby starts crawling! Here are 10 great ways to help your bundle of joy along their developmental path.
1) Give Your Baby Plenty Of Tummy Time
One of the most important things you can do to help your baby’s muscles develop is to give them plenty of tummy time. Put simply, this is just time that you allow your baby to spend on their tummy.
This position is beneficial for the muscles in your baby’s arms, legs, back, and neck—all of which help your baby crawl. Tummy time often works best in your baby’s room or nursery so that they can have a personal space in which to feel comfortable.
2) Encourage Your Baby To Play With Their Hands Elevated
Another way to help your baby’s muscles grow is to have them play with their hands elevated. Try putting their arms on top of a pillow or stuffed animal during tummy time.
You can also encourage them to put their hands onto elevated objects (e.g. furniture or toys) while they’re sitting down. Just be sure to supervise so your baby doesn’t fall over!
3) Lift Your Baby Off The Floor
Help your little one get a leg workout by lifting them off the floor just a bit. You can pick your baby up by the arms or armpits just enough to support their body weight but not so much that their feet leave the ground. This allows your baby to practice the motion of walking and will help strengthen their legs.
4) Let Your Baby Play In Front Of A Mirror
Take advantage of your little bundle of joy’s natural curiosity, and let them play in front of a mirror! They will want to investigate their own reflection, which will lead to holding themselves up and reaching out toward the mirror. These movements will help get your baby crawling in no time!
5) Use Toys To Encourage Crawling
Nothing gets people moving like a little reward! The same is true for babies; they just need the right incentive. Place your baby’s favorite toys—or a brand new one—in front of them during tummy time.
You can place toys just out of their reach during playtime, too. Play tunnels are also a great way to encourage crawling.
6) Take Your Baby Out Of Supportive Devices
Strollers, high chairs, car seats, and walkers are all essential items for your baby. However, they can actually impede your baby’s muscular development.
Because these items provide so much support, your little one isn’t forced to use their own muscles to support their weight. This can lead to delayed development, so be sure to limit time in supportive devices.
7) Allow Your Baby To Play On All Sides
During playtime, try moving your baby into different positions and allowing them to play on all sides. An even mix of right side, left side, back, and tummy will help your little one’s body become strong and healthy.
8) Crawl With Your Baby
To get your baby crawling, allow them to practice! One great way to do this is to lie next to your baby and support their abdomen while they are on all fours.
Gently hold most of your baby’s body weight while still allowing their hands and feet to touch the ground. This will get them familiar with the feeling and movements of crawling.
9) Don’t Make Your Baby Work Too Hard
Remember to be patient and have fun with your loved one! If your baby becomes agitated or starts crying during playtime, it’s OK to call it off. Just put them on their backs, hold and rock them, or let them get some sleep.
It’s important for your baby to have positive associations with tummy time and crawling practice! So don’t force your baby to do it when they aren’t enjoying it, and always give your little one lots of affection after crawling exercises are over.
10) Always Put Safety First
If your baby does develop a rash or dry skin, make sure to use safe, gentle baby skin care products. Finally—and it’s worth repeating a million times—never leave your baby unattended, even just for a minute.
What To Do If Your Baby Doesn’t Start Crawling
If your baby isn’t crawling by the seven- or eight-month mark, you may become concerned. But remember—there is no solid evidence that babies who learn to crawl at older ages have any other developmental problems as a result. So there’s no need to worry if you haven’t noticed your baby crawling by eight months or so. Just continue to use the tips we’ve listed above, and your baby will be crawling before you know it!
That being said, it’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which you’ll need to consult a pediatrician. If your little one isn’t showing normal signs of mobility—rolling, shuffling, scooting along the floor—you should take them to your pediatrician. If your baby can’t complete any of these basic movements by the time they’re six or seven months old, consulting a physician is necessary.
With so many milestones coming so fast, it might feel difficult to keep up with your little one’s developments. But seeing your baby crawling around the house for the first time is a moment you definitely won’t forget! With the tips we’ve provided here, your little bundle of joy will be well on their way to this wonderful baby achievement.