mom watching baby crawl
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Stages of crawling

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 him under his own power and at his own pace, but also as a time when he is figuring out brand new ways to use his 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 his 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 his 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.

Sitting

You’ll know Baby is moving in the direction of crawling when he starts sitting up on his 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.

Crawling position

Once Baby ends up in the crawling position – pushing themselves up on his hands and knees – he may stall out a bit, and stay in one place on his hands and knees or feet, swaying or wriggling back and forth as he starts to work out the mechanics of propelling themselves forward. On the other hand, he might start moving themselves across the floor in a sort of wriggling creep before he ever gets 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 he 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 his body to crawl, or has not started moving around in any of these ways by 12 months.

Showtime

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 he figures out the mechanics of crawling, he could easily get very good very fast.

On the other hand, it may take him 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 – he is probably just temporarily using his 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.

Pulling up

When Baby starts pulling themselves upright by holding onto things and then pulling themselves along from there, he is moving out of the crawling phase, and is very close to walking.

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