Get Baby Moving!
When should baby crawl?
According to David L. Hill, MD, FAAP, “A baby will often start to get up on his hands and knees and rock back and forth as early as six months of age. He may not learn to crawl forward for another two or three months. Some babies never do crawl in the classic sense, instead getting around by rolling, performing an "army crawl," or doing all the work with one leg and dragging the other.” So get your video cameras out and start documenting your wee little one’s wiggle!
Importance of crawling
Some babies have been known to simply skip the traditional crawl and go straight to walking. But the benefits of crawling are plenty. Crawling not only helps strengthen an infant’s legs so she can eventually walk, but will also aid in learning later on down the road. “Creeping and crawling, when they begin, their proper form and how long they occur, give us a snapshot into the organization of a child's brain -- specifically the pons and the midbrain region," enlightens Neurodevelopmental Specialist Donna Bateman. "Skipping the important milestones of creeping and crawling dramatically increase the risk for difficulties with learning."
And, don’t forget, crawling is fun to watch, too!
Get her going
Whether your infant picks up crawling on her own or needs a little boost, here are a few techniques to help get her up on all fours:
- Tummy time – The only way to give your little star a chance to pick up on the crawling skills she needs is to give her plenty of tummy time. Most infants will protest, but without the opportunity, delays are almost inevitable. Tummy time is key.
- Rollers – Whether you purchase “rollers” or use a soft cylinder toy you already have at home, giving her the support she needs under her belly and chest will give her the opportunity to strengthen those leg and arm muscles and get going! Your lap works as well for this purpose…no purchase necessary.
- Mirror image – Sometimes her best cheerleader can be herself. Place a mirror in front of your infant and watch her find joy in trying to crawl toward her “playmate.”
- Bathroom towel and toy combo – Using a bathroom towel under your baby’s belly like a sling will help give her the support her little arms and legs may not provide just yet. With a little less work to do on her part, and a toy just out of reach to give her the extra motivation she needs, she’ll be crawling in no time.
- Back her up – All your baby may need is a little help to blast off into crawling mode. Place your hands behind her feet as she’s on her tummy with her legs bent to give her something to push off from. She’ll get the concept that her back legs get her moving forward and start moving on her own soon.
- Be her biggest cheerleader – Whether she’s fast and furious out of the gate, or makes slow but steady progress, by pouring on the encouragement she’ll be more motivated and (hopefully) less frustrated.
When to be concerned
“If your child is pulling to a stand and cruising around the furniture by nine months of age it's a good sign his gross motor development is just fine, crawling or not,” assures David L. Hill, MD, FAAP. Still concerned whether or not your sweetie pie is meeting her milestones? Talk to her pediatrician at her one-year checkup before you jump to any wrong conclusions.
Once your baby is mobile, it’s more important than ever to baby proof her surroundings. And, remember that every baby develops differently. If she skips crawling and goes straight to walking, the only thing you have to worry about iskeeping up with her!