When do babies start crawling - article thumbnail mobile
One of the major mobility milestones for a baby’s development is the crawling stage. This is the intermediary phase between sitting and walking where they start moving from one spot to another. This heartwarming period can come as soon as they hit the six or seven months mark or take a bit longer and happen at around nine months. While the classic crawling style is well-known, your little one may adopt their own way of crossing the distance, whether by scooting around the bottom or rocking back and forth on all fours. At Mamas and Papas, we aim to support you every step of the parenting journey by providing you with expert guidance and tips on how to care for and support your child while they learn how to crawl. Read on to find out answers to questions like how to keep them safe to whether babies can skip the crawling stage altogether.
How do babies learn to crawl - image

How do babies learn to crawl?

3 to 6 months

Starting around three months old, you may notice your baby do a “mini pushup” while on their stomach, using their arms as support they would lift their head and shoulders high. This will help strengthen the muscles used to roll over and crawl. Soon after, they will learn to roll over from their tummy to their back.

5 to 6 months

Around five to six months of age, your baby will be able to roll from their back to tummy and sit up with some help from you. They are most likely to love this experience as it gives them a new perspective. However, it is important to stay close and supervise when seated as they would be still wobbly at this point.

7 to 8 months

At the eight months mark, your baby will be able to sit on their own and start getting on their hands and knees from a sitting position. Now, they’ll be strong enough to hold their own head while looking around and maintaining a good balance to start the next big milestone i.e., crawling.

9 to 10 months

Once they are able to transition from a sitting position to all fours confidently around nine or ten months of age, they’ll soon start to push off with their knees to crawl. After this, the more they practise, the better they’ll get. Crawling will not only develop your baby’s fine motor skills but also improve their spatial skills and build self-confidence.

Does crawling affect sleep?
Yes, crawling can impact your infant’s sleep quality. According to the Society for Research in Child Development’s 2015 study, the crawling period can disrupt a baby’s sleep as it requires a lot of processing and practice. You can double down on your baby’s bedtime routine and allow plenty of wind-down time towards the end of the day to help them sleep better. Tiring as it sounds, once they have passed this phase, sleep patterns will return to normal within two to three months.
How can you teach your baby to crawl - Image

How can you teach your baby to crawl?

Whether your little one is showing signs of crawling or if they are a late bloomer, below are few ways you can support them on their journey:

Put them on the floor

Regular supervised tummy time will help your baby practise raising herself on all fours to help build strength in her back, neck and arms. Make sure they get at least 30 minutes of tummy time every day to better prepare them for crawling.

Prop them up to sit

Most babies easily transition from sitting to crawling. Assisted at first and unassisted later on, sitting will help your baby develop strong abdominal and back muscles for crawling. One day, while they are on their bum, they might lean over and discover that they can prop their body on their hands and legs. From here, your little one may start holding themselves in a plank pose or start rocking back and forth until they figure out how to move forward.

Encourage them to play with their hands elevated

Helping your baby learn how to crawl is all about building all the muscles involved. One way you can do this is to have them play with their hands elevated. Put them on top of a soft pillow during the daily tummy time so that their hands remain in the air. However, it is important to supervise your baby at all times while doing so.

Let them play in front of the mirror

Babies are naturally curious about their environment and are always exploring it to learn new things. Use this to your advantage by placing them in front of a mirror. This will not only spark joy in them but also lead to them trying to investigate their own reflection. You will soon notice that they will start to hold themselves up and reach out towards the mirror. Once again, helping to develop their muscles.

Use toys to encourage crawling

One of the greatest motivators for people is a reward at the end of all their hard work and it is the same for babies. With the right incentive such as their favourite toy or a brand new one placed just out of their reach during tummy time will give them a reason to work their muscles.

Activities like playing tunnel is another fun way to encourage crawling. Remember, this doesn’t have to be too fancy. Simply put a blanket over a couple of kitchen chairs to create a safe and inviting space for your little one to practise their newfound mobility.

How to keep your crawling baby safe?
Creating a safe and comfortable area for your little one to crawl will speed up their growth and give them the confidence to further explore their surroundings. Below are some tips to keep in mind: - Dress them for movement: Clothes such as comfortable leggings and stretchy pants will protect their knees from painful rug burns, bruises and scratches. - Childproof your house: The best time to start childproofing your home is before your little one starts crawling because once they do, they’ll be covering distances faster than you’d expect. Be prepared by removing hazards and breakables from her surroundings and keep a close watch at all times. A good way to do this is by getting down on all fours yourself and looking for any potential trouble at their level. - Help them learn how to master stairs: If your house has a staircase, don’t keep them completely off-limits as they’ll at some point encounter an ungated set of stairs inevitably. Teach them how to climb up and down them safely instead. Depending on how your stairs are built, install the bottom gate a few steps from the floor. This area will be a practice space so your little one can try climbing under your supervision. Once they have mastered how to go up, encourage them to manoeuvre safely down. - Teach them not to climb on furniture: When your baby tries to climb on heavy furniture or objects such as a TV cabinet, bookshelf or coffee table, gently remove them from the space and place in safer places like a pile of pillows. By doing this again and again, your little one will eventually get the message that it is not okay to climb furniture. Until then, make sure that heavy furniture is fixed to the wall so it doesn’t topple over.
Can babies skip crawling? - Image

Can babies skip crawling?

Yes, some babies skip the crawling stage and directly move on to walking. This is totally natural as every kid is on their own journey towards exploring their surroundings and learning from them. As a parent, you may worry about your little one’s growth and if your child is not showing any interest in crawling, can’t move their arms and legs together in a coordinated motion or hasn’t learned to use both arms and legs equally by the one year mark, we recommend visiting the paediatrician to check for developmental delays.

After your baby crawls, what's next?
Once your little one is comfortably and confidently crawling, the next step for their complete mobility is learning how to walk. Soon, you’ll notice them pulling up on nearby objects and people, be it a centre table, crib rails or even your legs to transition into walking.