Crawling is a major milestone for your baby. Learn more about different types of crawling styles, at what age your baby will likely crawl and how to encourage her to get started.
When do babies crawl?
Babies typically start to crawl around the 9-month marker or later, but some start as early as 6 or 7 months, while others take their sweet time putting four on the floor. And some babies actually bypass crawling altogether - going straight from sitting up to standing to walking.
What are the different types of crawling styles?
There are lots of ways babies begin crawling, including:
- Commando crawl. Sometimes also known as the “belly crawl,” your little one may begin crawling by creeping - keeping her belly and legs down on the floor and pulling herself along with her arms.
- Bottom scoot: In learning to crawl, your baby may test out the bottom scoot: Sliding her well-cushioned bottom along the floor, she uses her legs to pull herself forward.
- Classic crawl. This one’s exactly what you probably picture when you think of crawling - from her belly, the baby pushes up on her hands and knees and moves by alternating the opposite leg and arm forward.
- Tripod crawl. Baby moves with two hands and one knee doing the work while the second leg takes it easy.
- Crab crawl. This one has the frustratingly opposite of its intended effect - the baby uses her arms to push herself backward or sideways instead of forward.
How can you teach your baby to crawl?
There are a few ways you can help your baby discover crawling:
- Tummy time. Make sure your baby gets plenty of supervised tummy time so she can practice raising herself on all fours. Tummy time helps her build strength in her back, neck and arms. The better to crawl, scooch or creep with, my dear!
- Belly bait. Encouraging babies to get crawling is to place tantalizing toys — some call it "belly bait" — nearby but out of reach during tummy time, or near where the baby is sitting. She'll be extra motivated to try out new ways of moving her legs and arms when there's a clear reward in sight for her efforts.
How to keep your crawling baby safe?
Once your baby starts crawling, you might be surprised at how soon she'll be able to move fast. Try these tips to keep her safe:
- Dress her for movement. Covering the baby's knees with comfy leggings or stretchy pants may help her keep up the pace and avoid painful rug burn or scratches.
- Childproof your house. Be ready for sudden accelerations by removing hazards and breakables from her path, and keep a close watch on her at all times.
- Make sure your home is childproofed for a newly mobile baby (getting down on all fours yourself and looking for trouble at her level is a good step).
- Teach her not to climb on furniture. If she climbs where she shouldn't (say, on a bookshelf or coffee table), gently remove her and remind her that furniture is not for climbing.
- Guide her to a safe place (such as those few steps you left exposed, or a pile of pillows on the floor) and reiterate that it's okay to climb here. Your little mountaineer will eventually get the message (but until then, do make sure that heavy furniture is anchored to the wall, so she can't topple it).
Crawling is such an exciting milestone that it's not uncommon for a new crawler to experience some sleep disruption around the time that they pick up their new skill.