Most babies learn to crawl between age 7 and 10 months. This is not to say that your baby may not start crawling sooner than this, but on average babies start crawling around 7-10 months. If your baby spends time on the floor and gets lots of tummy time, he may master the skill of crawling sooner. Some babies, however, skip the crawling stage all together and go straight to walking. If your baby isn’t crawling by the time he is 7-10 months, try not to panic. If he is reaching his other developmental milestones and finding some way to get around that is what is important. Some babies don’t crawl, but they still find a way to get around on the floor by scooting on their bottoms or sliding across the floor on their bellies. Your baby may even scoot around backwards or sideways before he figures out how to move in a forward direction
Tummy time and crawling
In order for your baby to start crawling, he will need to be able to support his upper body with his arms and have strong leg and back muscles. Tummy time helps your baby to strengthen his muscles. Each time he holds his head up to look around or lifts his upper body with his arms, he is building muscles. Babies that do not get a lot of tummy time, may be delayed in learning to roll over, crawl or walk.
How your baby learns to crawl
Babies often learn to rock back and forth before they start crawling. You may see your baby get up on all fours during tummy time and start to rock back and forth. If you see your baby rocking like this, there is a good chance he will be crawling soon. Eventually he will discover that he can use the momentum from rocking to push himself forward.
Safety concerns with crawling babies
Once he figures out how to crawl, you may have to watch out because he may want to do a lot of exploring around the house. It is a good idea to get down on the floor yourself and see if there are any choking hazards or other safety issues. Sometimes you don’t see these hazards without getting down on the floor at baby’s level and looking around.
Tips for helping your baby learn to crawl
- Make sure your baby is spending lots of time on the floor. Your baby can’t learn to crawl if he isn’t on the floor getting tummy time.
- When your baby is on the floor try helping him get up on all fours. You can place a rolled towel or baby blanket under his tummy to help support him. Use your hands to support him and help him rock back and forth. The rocking movement will help him learn to balance and shift his weight from one arm to the other. Balance and upper body strength are necessary for crawling.
- Take a towel and place it underneath your baby’s tummy. Grab both ends of the towel and gently pull upward. This will get your baby up on all fours. Once your baby is on all fours, you can let him practice holding this position or rocking back and forth. When he gets the hang of supporting himself on all fours, you can use the towel for added support while he attempts to crawl.
- Once baby has mastered rocking on all fours, try dangling a toy near him. Hopefully he will get so excited trying to get the toy that he will lift up one of his hands and move forward to grab the toy.
When should I start to worry about my baby not crawling?
Babies don’t always reach developmental milestones at the same time. By the time your baby is a year old, he should be making an effort to move around in some way, shape, or form. He may not necessarily start crawling but he should be able to move around on the floor by scooting, sliding, creeping or rolling. If your baby has not figured out a way to coordinate his arms and legs to move around on the floor by the time he is 12 months old, you should contact your doctor. You should also contact your doctor if you notice that he is only using one side of his body to move around with. If he is dragging one side of his body around when he crawls or scoots (for over one month), you should alert your doctor.