Signs a baby is getting ready to crawl

Crawling is right up there with thumb-sucking, cradle-rocking, and inconsolable crying as an iconic baby activity, and as your little one develops more and more muscle control, you may start to wonder how long you have until you need to start crawl-proofing your living room. Getting the living room ready for a crawler is a good thing to do in advance, so if you’re wondering, that means it’s probably a good sign that it’s time to get started, but there are also some physical signs your baby could be showing you that their time to crawl is on its way.

On your mark,

Tummy time is a great way for Baby to get started on building the skills and muscles they'll need for crawling. Tummy time helps to build head and neck strength and control and arm strength. Often enough, not liking tummy times teaches lots of babies how to roll over – and eventually, they learn how to roll back again. You’ll notice Baby starting to look around a lot more, and then to be able to push themself up on their hands from their tummy – sort of like a baby push-up. Just like an adult push-up, these help strengthen Baby’s arms and upper body. Unlike an adult push-up, it’s incredibly exciting if and when they figure out how to rest weight on their knees while pushing up.

Get set, 

One pretty obvious sign that Baby might be close to crawling is if, during tummy time, they have started pushing themself up on their hands and knees – into a crawling position, essentially. Babies who make it into crawling position may take a little time before they learn to move from it – that’s a lot of limbs to figure out how to coordinate, after all – but the fact that they made it there to begin with is huge, too.


When Baby starts to move, it may not necessarily be by crawling – and they may not even start by moving forward. Many babies start out at a creep, army-crawl, scoot along on their bottoms, or even use their new-found ability to roll over as a way to get around. These could all be preludes to crawling, but it’s always possible that your little one could skip over crawling altogether, and move right into walking, a few months down to road.

Many babies also find themselves moving backwards, or even, occasionally, sideways, when they first start getting themselves around. This is less likely to stick around until walking happens. Babies are great at figuring out cause and effect, especially by now, and it won’t take long of a backwards- or crab-walking baby to figure out the mechanics of moving forward as their crawling ability, well, moves forward.

  • “Steps Toward Crawling.” Zero to Three. Zero To Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, February 16 2016. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Infant development: Milestones from 7 to 9 months.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, July 9 2014. Web

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