Not all babies crawl, but for the babies who do, it’s a double dose of exploration, both as the first way Baby gets the chance to explore the world around them under their own power and at their own pace, but also as a time when they are figuring out brand new ways to use their body and muscles. There are several stages of pre-crawling that many babies move through, but not every baby even progresses through each stage, with many skipping some completely. It’s also important to remember that every baby progresses at their own pace, especially when it comes to big milestones like crawling. As Baby makes these dramatic physical advances, it can also have an impact on their sleep – many parents notice that, before reaching a big physical or developmental milestone, their babies go through periods of needing a little (or even a lot of) extra sleep.
You’ll know Baby is moving in the direction of crawling when they start sitting up on their own. Often, babies learn to crawl right from this sitting position, as they go from sitting and balancing with their hands on the floor in front of them to pushing themselves up on all fours, and then figuring out how to move themselves forward from there.
Once Baby ends up in the crawling position – pushing themself up on their hands and knees – they may stall out a bit, and stay in one place on their hands and knees or feet, swaying or wriggling back and forth as they start to work out the mechanics of propelling themself forward. On the other hand, they might start moving themself across the floor in a sort of wriggling creep before they ever get to that semi-upright position.
Scooting, creeping, crab walk
It’s important to note that not all babies crawl the same way. Crawling isn’t an unavoidable step on the road to walking, and Baby could end up cruising around in a funny looking pseudo-crawl just as easily as they could skip that step entirely and vault straight into walking. If the way Baby is moving doesn’t match up with a textbook baby-crawl, don’t worry, it’s probably a perfectly normal variation. However, it’s a good idea to contact the doctor if Baby is only using one half of their body to crawl, or has not started moving around in any of these ways by 12 months.
Crawling, just the way you picture it when you picture babies moving around. Baby may even end up moving faster than you’re ready for, because once they figure out the mechanics of crawling, they could easily get very good very fast.
On the other hand, it may take them a little while to really get the hang of things. In fact, a lot of babies figure out how to crawl backwards before they manage to start moving forward!
It’s perfectly okay for a child to regress for a bit when it comes to crawling – they are probably just temporarily using their time and attention to focus on a different skill – but if you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to check in with your pediatrician to make sure everything is on-track.
When Baby starts pulling themself upright by holding onto things and then pulling themself along from there, they are moving out of the crawling phase, and is very close to walking.