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When do babies start crawling?

Kiindred

Kiindred

Brought to you by the Kiindred Editors. Our team are committed to researching and writing on all the things we know you will want to know about, at each stage of your pregnancy and parenthood journey.
Created on Oct 15, 2023 · 6 mins read
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Crawling is one of the most exciting (and adorable) baby milestones. There’s nothing quite like that moment you see your little one take off!


It’s one of the first signs of independence that our babies show and it gives them their first real taste of the world around them. Crawling is a major step in their development, between when they learn to sit up and as they eventually move towards walking.

There are so many different ways your baby will learn to crawl – most will have their own unique style of doing it! Whether it’s a belly crawl, commando crawl or even something more akin to a bear crawl.

When it comes to milestones, it’s important for parents to understand what’s normal, what’s not and when to worry. But when it comes to your baby’s development, every little one is different and will get there in their own time. Don’t worry about your baby’s journey lining up with “most babies.”

The key is being aware of developmental milestones – but not living by them!

When do babies crawl?


Babies typically begin crawling between 7 and 12 months, starting a hands and knees position around 6 months before rolling over and crawling on their tummies by 9 months (known as a “commando crawl.”) The crawling stage normally kicks in after being able to independently get into a sitting position, as they begin to test their own abilities and motor skills, and their curiosity for exploration takes over. Babies learn by having a go!

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How do they go from tummy time to crawling?


Experts recommend getting our little ones to do tummy time right from birth, and whilst this seems cute and fun, it’s also great for baby development. Tummy time is actually helping their muscles and development which they’ll actually need to sit, crawl and eventually walk.

You’ll notice tummy time changes as they grow, they become more active, start to hold their head up and control their head movements, moving their arms and eventually learning to push themselves up on their hands and knees.

Some babies will get into a crawling position from this point, whereas others will prefer to crawl from a seated position. There may be some bum scooting and the occasional belly flop (you’ll need to keep a camera on you to catch these cute moments), but that’s the fun of crawling practice.

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What if my baby doesn’t crawl?


Whilst crawling is cute and a big developmental milestone, it’s actually not a crucial one.

Some babies will actually skip crawling altogether and go straight from sitting to standing (little overachievers!) Other babies might just have delayed crawling and have a couple more false starts, but they get there eventually! Every baby develops so differently, and those gross motor skills will build regardless.

My baby isn’t crawling like other babies, is that ok?


Babies crawl in all sorts of unique ways, there are so many crawling styles! Many will be on all fours, shuffling on their hands and knees but some might shuffle on their bottom, some might do the one-legged kick and others might even go backwards!

The classic crawl, is where your little one balances on their hands and knees, much like we do! Commando crawling (also known as belly crawling) happens when babies roll onto their tummies and use their feet and arms as they’re moving forward. The backwards crawl can often be how babies start crawling, and involves them lying on their backs and pushing their feet off the ground to shuffle back.

Your crawling baby might be a rolling baby, or a bottom shuffler who leaves the work to their hands. Babies have their own crawling styles, whether it’s the cute belly crawl, crab crawl or the good old classic crawl.

How can I encourage my baby to crawl?


Tummy time is the ultimate baby exercise to strengthen their head, neck, back, arms and core muscles. Put toys and other interesting objects in their line of sight to help encourage them to look towards things and eventually reach out and start grabbing (always whilst supervised).

As babies begin start to reach and grab you can place things just out of their reach to encourage that movement.

Remember that no object or toy is as exciting to your baby as you, so get down on the floor with them and play, sing, read and encourage crawling.

Baby-proofing once your little one is on the move


Make sure that you make your home safe for your avid explorer. Once they get the knack for it – there’s no stopping them! So a good trick is to get down on the floor yourself, and crawl around and look for anything that might grab their attention and make sure it’s safe or secure or remove it altogether.

How long until my baby learns to walk once they’ve started crawling?


There really is no set time period for this phase, some babies will get a taste for freedom and move to walking very quickly. However, others will relish this crawling phase and may stay in it for 6 months or more.

When should I worry about my baby’s crawling?


If your baby is over 12 months and not showing signs of crawling yet, you may want to speak with your doctor or paediatrician about possible causes. As previously mentioned, some babies will just skip crawling altogether. Developmental milestones vary, but if you are worried about their motor skills, it’s always better to check with your healthcare provider.

Similarly, if your baby is crawling and not showing signs of walking by around 18 months, it is also a good idea to speak with your doctor or paediatrician.

Summary


Babies crawl when they are good and ready, although some may skip crawling all together and get straight into the business of walking.

When your baby starts crawling, it might not be a traditional crawl right away but rather a bear crawl, crab crawl, rolling crawl or even a combination. You can try to teach your baby to crawl by offering support and encouragement and demonstrating how it’s done. Try to stay patient and also try not to compare your baby to others and their development – it’s probably just a matter of time before they are on their way!

While your baby learning to crawl is a super exciting milestone, it’s not an absolutely crucial one. When it does happen, make sure you take the necessary steps to keep your cutie safe.

Like so many things with parenting, your baby will begin crawling before you know it and then you’ll blink and they’ll be walking (and then running and then you’ll forever be on your feet!) Enjoy every single moment with your precious bub and, as always, if you have any concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to your family doctor for advice or reassurance.

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