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All You Need To Know About How Your Baby Learns To Crawl

flickr / Donnie Ray Jones

It’s strange that you would want your baby to be more mobile, considering it means a whole new level of “Oh-crap” parenting. You’ll need to be on point as your new little 4-limbed vacuum searches surfaces for stuff to put in their mouth. You’ll need to be diligent around steps, and ledges, and furniture, and public places, and … Well, you get it.

But here’s the thing: whether you want it or not, your baby is going to be mobile at some point. And one of the steps towards that mobility is sometimes (not always) learning to crawl. Which, BTW, is also the Pretenders’ best album. So check out what it takes for your kid to crawl and keep them out of the Middle of the Road.

The Foundations Of Crawling

The first thing your kid is going to have to conquer in order to crawl is the weight of their own body, which is a struggle you deal with. Every. Damn. Morning. The difference, of course, is that your kid is still pretty new to this whole gravity situation. So they’ve got to learn to get off the ground.

The way they’ll figure that out is through the regular application of supervised tummy time. By getting on their front side, they’ll figure out how to push up with their hands and hoist their weight off the ground. It’s kind of like baby push ups. And just like you gripe doing push-ups, your kid might get a bit tired of the exercise too. You can encourage them by getting down with them and encouraging them by offering toys to look at or reach for. Side note: you might suggest your trainer do the same to motivate you, but with a tasty beer.

Getting A Move On

Once your kid can get their chub off the floor, they can start figuring out how to propel it through space. The first sign this is happening is when your baby gets on all fours and rocks back and forth. Eventually they’ll start lunging forward, particularly towards something they really want, like that juicy, dirty dog chew toy. Delish.

Eventually they’ll figure out how to get things coordinated. However, this coordination can sometimes send them backwards. It’s totally normal and in no time your kid will figure out a form of moving that suits them. Be warned that this may not look like typical crawl. But it doesn’t necessarily mean anything’s wrong with them just because the movement is wonky. It just works for them. Kinda like how white people dance at weddings.

Some crawling styles you might see:

  • The Scoot: Less like a crawl and more like a dog dragging its butt across the carpet.
  • The Crab: The kid will have one leg bent and the other one sticking out to the side. Sadly this means you kid is always crabby.
  • The Commando: This has nothing to do with whether or not they’re wearing diapers. It does have to do with them dragging themselves along by their upper body.
  • The Roll: This is when your kid decides making like a log is better than using their limbs. It’s totally normal. Don’t freak out.

Some Crawling Concerns

It’s important to note that while people often feel like crawling is a developmental milestone, it’s totally not. In fact, with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines of back sleeping to combat SIDS, more kids seem to be skipping the crawling and heading straight to cruising and walking.

Whatever they do, it’s incredibly important that you have your baby proofing game down. That includes making sure you’ve taken care of you stairs, if you have them. That means a gate anchored with hardware at the top and a friction gate at the bottom.

Finally, there are a very few instances where your kid’s crawling (or not crawling) could be indicative of issues. If you baby has shown no interest in getting mobile by 12 months, it’s time to see the pediatrician. The same goes if your kid is crawling but appears to be dragging one side of their body. It could be an early sign of cerebral palsy, but is usually just a unique crawling form. Best to be safe.