Going Mobile: The Facts about Babies and Crawling
“My baby started crawling yesterday, and she is only five months old!”
You might smile, and congratulate the proud mommy during class. Chances are, the moment you get home, you grab the phone and dial up the pediatrician to find out why your son, who is a month shy of his first birthday, has not yet mastered this skill. Many pediatricians will tell you, the concerned mommy, that as long as other milestones are being met, your baby is doing just fine.
The Process of Crawling
Crawling is not a stand-alone activity; but a combination of certain skills that babies learn, and acquire, as they age. Prior to crawling, the baby will probably learn to sit independently, roll over, and push up on all fours when on his tummy.
Crawling can take on several forms. Some babies may rock back and forth when in the crawling position. Some will attempt to crawl using right leg/right arm action. Others will crawl using what Dr. Sears termed “cross-crawling,” or using a combination of right arm/left leg. Some babies will forgo getting up on all fours and will, instead, scoot across the floor on their diapers. All of these actions, and more, are considered forms of crawling because the child is using independent movement from one place to the next.
Crawling usually takes place between ages 6 and 12 months. Prior to crawling, a child must have enough strength in her back, legs, and arms to push up into the position and then carry her body from “Point A” to “Point B.” She must also learn the idea of crawling, or moving, to get what she wants. Parents can help with this by putting your baby on her stomach and placing desired items just out of her reach, so she has to work to get them.
Though most people expect their children to crawl, not all do. Some babies skip this process and go straight to walking. If your child has not learned to crawl by the one-year mark, but he or she is pulling up to the standing position, chances are that all is well and he may skip this milestone altogether.
Is There a Problem?
Dr. Rebecca Wasvary, a pediatrician affiliated with Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, said “Some babies may skip an occasional milestone; however, you must look at the whole picture and not just focus on one symptom.”
If you are worried that your baby has a problem stopping her from crawling, Dr. Wasvary says to consider whether or not she has pulled up, sat independently, or started rolling over. “If they have met all other milestones and simply skip crawling, but go on to pull to stand, cruise, and walk, then usually there is no problem at all,” said Wasvary.
Other things to look for include:
- Does the baby use both hands equally?
- Can the baby grasp objects with both hands?
- Can the baby roll over?
- If you put something near baby, does she show interest in the object?
- Does she reach for the object?
- If you hold baby’s hands, can she stand?
- Does your child favor one side?