When you become a parent, Google simultaneously becomes your best friend and your worst enemy. You can’t help but look up every change or issue with your infant, but then you are hit with a dozen websites that all say something different. Not to mention the parenting message boards, which don’t make anything easier. One of the big things you will probably wonder during the first year is when babies start crawling. Or, if all babies crawl at all. You might have heard your best friend’s cousin’s boyfriend say his sister’s baby went from scooting on the floor to standing and walking. That’s entirely possible, but as with everything baby-related, it’s all subjective.
According to Scientific American, crawling might not even be an important stage in your child’s development. Anthropologist David Tracer, who studied the Au hunter-gatherers of Papua New Guinea, said that crawling isn’t necessarily needed in order for your baby to transition from sitting up to eventually walking. According to the magazine, the Au children are carried from infancy until they can walk and are then encouraged to do so. In Tracer’s studies, he found that the Au parents set babies up to the age of 12 months on their bottoms in a sitting up position rather than hands down in a crawling stance any time they set the babies down. This promoted a scooting motion, which Tracer believes to be the more natural step before walking than crawling is.
The Crawling Stage
So just in case your baby doesn’t seem to be on the more traditional track of crawling before they walk, you can relax. They aren’t alone in whatever natural inclination they have. If your baby is showing signs of wanting to crawl, however, chances are, they will start to crawl between 6 and 10 months old. This is a big deal for babies and parents alike. Your baby is showing his or her first signs of independence and a lack of need for you to carry them everywhere. It can be a bittersweet moment for parents, but it’s also exciting to watch your baby learn something new on their own. Keep in mind that toward the end of this stage, your baby might instead skip crawling and go straight to pulling him or herself up and walking along the couch or coffee table. Either way, this independent mobility is a healthy sign.
There are times, however, when crawling might not look like the traditional thing. Before you start Googling how to perform an exorcism when your baby crawls like a crab instead of every other baby you have seen, understand that it’s totally normal. Your baby might first get on their hands and knees and simply wiggle their bottom forward and back, showing that they are gearing up to crawl at some point very soon. Then, they might crawl backwards or rest their belly on the floor to use their hands to pull themselves forward. They will likely eventually transition to the more standard crawl if they start out like this, but rest assured, if you see these methods, your baby is on the right track.
How To Promote Crawling
If you are looking for tips on how to promote crawling, just in case your baby seems so close but can’t quite get it down, there are some things you can do to help your little one along the way.
Start off with tummy time as soon as your baby is ready. This is usually shortly after he or she comes home for the first time. This gradually forces your baby to work on strengthening his or her upper body and neck strength. You can also help them get into the crawling position on all fours and then place your palms behind the feat. This helps give your baby a little stability so he or she can have an easier time moving forward. You can also try to entice your baby with their favorite toys. Place one just out of reach and see if your baby grabs it while keeping him or herself up on their other hand and legs. Another way to promote crawling is to do it yourself. It might feel silly at first, but showing your baby how to crawl can help them. You can also hold their torso up for support while they move their hands and legs across the floor.
Being a new parent or going through the infant stage again comes with its own set of challenges. If your current concern is when your baby will start crawling, there are a handful of solutions to help you feel more at ease.