When Do Babies Crawl?
It’s no surprise so many parents are keen to discover the answer to, ‘when do babies crawl?!’
Crawling is one of the first major baby milestones in your child’s journey to independence.
Once she masters the crawling milestone, she’ll be able to explore the world around her, without relying on you to pick her up.
You might be keen for her to start crawling, so you can enjoy the next stage of her development together.
It’s always exciting when your child learns a new skill.
So, when do babies crawl? Read on to find out!
When do babies start crawling?
Most babies start crawling between the ages of 6 to 10 months of age.
Every baby is unique of course! Some will start crawling even earlier than that.
Other babies will focus on learning other skills, and will start crawling later.
It’s possible for some babies skip the crawling stage altogether. They move straight onto pulling themselves up with furniture, for example a coffee table or sofa.
Not all babies crawl in the same way too – there are different types of crawling! Some babies choose to bottom shuffle, roll or slither commando style across the room.
While some babies seem to learn to crawl over night, for most it takes a bit of practice.
You can expect your baby to have his or her Masters degree in crawling by their first birthday.
If at any time you’re worried about your baby not meeting developmental milestones, contact your healthcare provider.
How will my baby learn to crawl?
You’ll be pleased to hear that you don’t need to start moving around the house on your hands and knees to encourage your baby to perfect her crawling skills.
Your baby will learn to crawl naturally, as she develops the strength and coordination to become mobile.
One small study found that babies born in the winter started crawling sooner than babies born in the summer.
Why could this be?
The researchers say, “The season influences the babies’ experiences in a number of ways, including layers of clothing that are worn; the opportunities babies are given to spend on the floor on their stomachs, and the hours of activity and daylight. Awareness of the seasonal effect is important so that parents will give their babies proper movement and development opportunities in the winter as well.”
Your baby needs to learn how to sit first
But firstly, your baby will need to master sitting unaided.
This requires muscle strength to stay upright, and move into a sitting position.
Then she will discover that she can stay in position on all fours, and rock to and fro.
At some point, she will push off from her knees, and become mobile.
Once she starts moving, it may take her a few weeks to perfect her crawling style, as she learns how to move each of her limbs where she wants, when she wants.
Some babies crawl backwards for the first few weeks, as they try to work out how to get around.
7 tips to help your baby get crawling
Before babies start crawling, they need to build up their muscle strength first.
Since 1994, parents have been advised to put babies to sleep on their backs, instead of on their tummies, to reduce the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
While this has been very effective, some experts believe it has caused some babies to reach physical milestones later.
Spending less time on their tummies means some babies take longer to develop the strength to hold their bodies up and start crawling sooner rather than later.
There are a number of things you can do to help your baby get ready to crawl:
Baby Crawl Tip #1: Tummy Time
Spending time on her tummy is important for helping your baby to develop the strength to move her body and hold herself up.
If your baby cries when you place her on her tummy on the floor, try lying her on your tummy instead.
This way, she can still see you and feel safe, but will also be working her muscles.
Each time she lifts her head to look at you, she’ll be doing a mini work out. Find out more about tummy time and how to make it fun for your baby.
Baby Crawl Tip #2: Wrap It Up
Being carried around may not sound like the most effective way of building muscle.
But this lovely, connected parenting activity can help your baby get ready to start crawling.
As babies shuffle to reposition themselves in wraps and slings, they’re strengthening their muscles.
When babies lift their head out of the slings to see what’s going on, they’re improving their neck muscle strength.
Baby Crawl Tip #3: Make It Fun
if your baby is having tummy time on a play mat, entertain her with toys to keep her happy.
Dangling toys in front of her, singing and keeping your face close to hers, are all great ways to keep your baby happy during tummy time.
Baby Crawl Tip #4: Moving Toys
A couple of toys that move may help to encourage your baby to start crawling.
Trains, cars and balls are all great toys that may travel out of baby’s reach as she plays with them.
Baby Crawl Tip #5: Time Limits
Try to limit the amount of time your baby spends in a car seat, pram or bouncer.
Babies need time to move and explore in order to master new skills, so give them the freedom to do this.
Baby Crawl Tip #6: Use A Tunnel
There are lots of play tunnels and tents on the market.
If you like, get down on all fours and play peekaboo or chase baby around to encourage her.
Baby Crawl Tip #7: No Stress Approach
While you may be desperate to see your baby take her first few shuffles towards freedom, try not to get hung up on it.
Don’t compare her to other babies, or push her to crawl when she isn’t ready.
Just wait, have fun and support her as she develops this new and exciting skill.
See the results of our BellyBelly Forum poll, where we asked members, “when did your baby start crawling?”
My baby is crawling! What now?
Now that your baby is on the move (or ideally, just before), you need to think about childproofing your home.
One of the best ways to do this, is to get down on all fours and crawl about yourself.
What can you see that might be dangerous to a baby?
Dangling wires, sharp corners and cupboard doors are all things that you should look out for.
If your baby has access to your stairs, you may want to put in a stair gate now to stop her getting into danger.
By safe-guarding your home, you can allow your baby to explore her environment (with supervision).
You’ll need to be stringent about keeping your floors clean now that you have a little adventurer in the house.
Remember, babies put pretty much anything in their mouth, and this will include food crumbs, pebbles, and loose change from under the sofa.
When to worry if your baby isn’t crawling
Your baby probably hasn’t read this article, and doesn’t know when he or she should start crawling.
She may do it sooner, later, or at the same time as other babies.
You should contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your baby hasn’t become mobile (crawling, shuffling or rolling) by her first birthday
- Your baby is only using one side of her body to move around (e.g. dragging herself around with one arm)
- Something doesn’t seem right