When Will My Baby Crawl?

twin babies crawling

Up until about 9 to 10 months of age, baby's primary means of transportation is ... you. But around this time, they'll likely start crawling, which means two things for Mom and Dad: Baby is officially free to explore the world on his own (well, as much as a 9-month-old can explore the world on his own), and time to childproof! Typically, babies will learn to properly crawl by slithering around on their elbows and bellies a la army-style, but some babies may skip this adorable milestone altogether and go straight to walking. "Some babies never crawl and will move right from scooting or pulling themselves on their elbows to walking," notes Robyn Strosaker, MD, Director of Inpatient Services at University Hospital's Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Eager to get your little one cruising around on his knees and elbows? There are a few things you can do to encourage this. And once he masters this feat, look out! You've officially got a mover on your hands. And a crawling baby equals a mischievous baby.

Although crawling is an important means of mobility for babies before they start walking, it's by no means the only way they get around. Some babies scoot on their behinds while others pull themselves up and "furniture cruise." The main thing is that they're getting around and on their way to walking. Most of these interpretations will eventually lead to the traditional crawl and then a walk.

Babies learn to start crawling shortly after they're able to sit up on their own, unsupported, which usually happens around 8 months old. Soon after your baby has mastered the art of sitting, he typically will learn how to position himself on all fours and rock back and forth, which is a tell-tale sign he'll be crawling soon.

Now. How do you get your little one crawling? "Parents should encourage tummy time and give their infants a safe place to play on the floor," says Dr. Strosaker. "By placing your baby on his belly for a few minutes several times a day, you're helping him develop the muscles he needs in order to crawl." You can also put objects, such as toys and stuffed animals, just beyond your baby's reach when he's on his tummy to entice him to get going. And once he does get going, he'll be drawn to anything and everything, so be sure to gate off all staircases and keep sharp and small objects out of his grasp. Also, it isn't quite necessary to run out and buy your baby shoes just yet. Letting your little one explore the house barefoot will help strengthen the arches of his feet and leg muscles.

As with all milestones, there is no set age in which a baby automatically starts crawling, but if your baby hasn't expressed an interest in moving by 11 to 12 months, you should bring it up to your child's pediatrician. 

How are you encouraging your baby to crawl?

 

Image via Donnie Ray Jones/Flickr

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