A baby goes over four basic stages in life before they can learn to stand on their own feet independently. Parents look after infants with utmost care as their little bundle of joy needs assistance with each and every moment during the early stage transition.
Crawling is considered a transitioning step between sitting and walking. Crawling comes with different styles according to the babies developmental skills therefore it is not something to be stressed over.
Styles of crawling
Babies come forward with different styles of crawling;
- Bottom scoot: The baby takes initiative by scooting their well protected bottom against the floor using their legs to pull forward.
- Belly crawl: The baby often lies on their stomach and uses their arms and legs to push or pull themselves in particular direction.
- Roll: Rolling on the floor and getting a hang of the direction sense until then the baby just stays in one position and rock in to and fro motion.
- Leapfrog crawl: Thrusting themselves in forward direction while maintaining cat like posture.
- Crab crawl: Baby tends to propel themselves in forward direction with their knees bent.
- Tripod crawl: The baby uses their arms and only one leg along the floor while the other leg just stays put before use.
- Bear crawl: Baby waddling using all four limbs while keeping their legs straight in outward direction.
Importance of Crawling
The stage of crawling is itself an opportunity for the babies to explore their surrounding environment. Crawling is an important step in a child’s development as it ensures;
- Physical development – helps in the development of muscles which in turn provide strength and sense of stability in all four limbs.
- Mental development – development of cognitive skills meanwhile helping out in the use of motor skills.
- Sight – babies use their vision to locate their object of interest henceforth helping themselves in developing near and far sightedness.
- Sense of balance – crawling helps in building perfect balance between hands and eye or hands and legs as they move it in perfect coordination.
- Self confidence – confidence is achieved as they learn to know about their boundaries and their surroundings. They become active with physical activity hereby building their confidence
When do babies start crawling?
On average scale, babies start crawling at the age of 9 months but in some cases their age limit goes as far as 6 months. It solely depends upon the child’s motor skills development and the physical strength. Some of the babies even skip the stage of crawling and straight on enters the stage of standing and walking.
How to help in crawling?
Parents can encourage their babies to crawl via;
- Toy temptation:
One of the favorite and most accomplished method by parents is using toy temptation. Learn and observe about your baby’s favorite item and try to use it as a bait to get them crawling. Put the item out of the baby’s reach and observe if they even try to struggle for movement. A little bit encouragement is all they need and in no time the baby start to crawl toward the object.
- Make the floor a baby proof space:
Babies like free time without restrictions therefore parents are advised to free some space and baby proof it before putting the baby down on the floor. Let the baby explore the space under the parent’s supervision with safe surroundings and items.
- Tummy time:
Babies do not start crawling all at once they take initiative from wiggling. Parents put their babies down on their belly which they take as a sense of freedom and start wiggling. At some point they try to move in particular direction given they find something tempting or just to explore.
- Mimic crawling:
Parents can mimic crawling along with their babies to help encourage their need to move across the floor.
- Body massage:
During the stage of crawling, baby uses their muscle strength henceforth an oil massage is what is mandatory. Full body oil massage will enhance blood flow in the baby’s muscles as well as provide awareness to the baby of their body positions.
Do babies skip crawling and start walking?
Yes, but in some cases. Some of the babies tend to skip the whole crawling part and start using furniture or different kind of support to help them stand up. It is not something alarming, it shows the baby’s capacity and strength to start standing with support and in no time they start walking and running.
At the age of 6 months, babies tend to sit with the help of their parents. At the age of 2 months, babies can hold the weight of their head with the assistance of their parents. By the fourth month, the baby can withhold the head weight without anybody’s help. When the baby enters 6 months, a little help from parents can help them sit steadily whereas by the end of 9 months, the baby can sit comfortably without any external support.
Standing stage does not come easily, the baby needs to have some strength in hips, legs and tummy to support their own weight.
When do babies stand up with and without support?
- With support – Babies can stand at the minimum of 3 to 5 months with the help of their parents. Their legs are not used to the weight of their body therefore there are chances that the baby might take some time thereby they need their parents help to keep them upright. At the age of 6 to 11 months, babies start to use furniture as their support to help them stand up.
- Without support – By the age of 11 to 14 months, babies start to stand with a little off the balance without any support. They use their arms to stabilize their body posture and slowly learn to do it at regular intervals.
When to worry about baby not standing up?
Parents often observe their baby’s physical development and compare it with other children, make sure that the developmental skills of the baby is not lacking due to their nourishment or other physical activities. When the baby hits the age of 15 months and they still have not taken initiatives to stand with support then it is a matter of concern. Parents are advised to bring the baby to the doctor or pediatrician to find out the factor that is lacking and slowing down the physical development.
After the baby learns to stand for the very first time without external support, they try to take small steps and try to mimic what they see in their surroundings.
When do babies start to walk?
At the age of 9 to 12 months, the baby try to take small steps by using furniture or any other means of support to help them maintain their body balance. They try to use the support and let it go when they think they can walk without support which obviously results in them falling down, after some tries they learn to follow the support method and use it until they are sure to let go of the support for some time being. Some babies don’t start walking until they reach 15 months which is normal in certain cases.
Signs that baby is going to walk soon
- Maintain standing position:
Babies try to use furniture or random objects of support to help them stand up. As they cannot stand for long intervals therefore they try after sometime and this pattern follows until the baby can stand and maintain the posture. This indicates as the basic initiative by the baby to walk.
- Walk with support:
The age of 6 to 8 months is the time period where baby tries to grab on something and tend to follow. Parents grab their baby’s hand and make them follow their footsteps, if the baby can shift their weight from one leg to another then it means that the baby is ready to walk.
- Momentarily standing without support:
Sometimes the babies show eagerness by letting go of their support while maintain their momentarily standing position. It comes when the baby have enough strength in their hips, legs and tummy to support their body weight and limb coordination.
How to encourage and help walking?
Some of the basic techniques to encourage the baby’s walking ability includes;
Parents can place their baby’s feet atop of their own and take small steps across a room. This will serve as an amusement for the child and they might mimic their parents to take small steps with the help of support, initially.
- Taking small steps:
Grab the baby’s hand and try to pull them in forwards direction slowly and gently.
Using the baby’s favorite item as temptation is another method. It helps in some cases while in other cases, the baby just tends to crawl. Parents put themselves at a certain distance and signals the baby to reach them, the baby finds it amusing and try to put his arms forward while taking small steps.
Delayed walking in babies
Delayed walking in babies is often observed when the child enters the 18 month. Parents need to bring their child to the pediatrician in case the child is suffering from lack of muscle development or under developed cognitive skills. In some cases, the lack of proper nutrition might affect the baby’s physical development hence delaying the walking stage in babies. Therefore proper diet, massage, exercise and fresh environment is necessary for the baby’s health and physical growth.
Not all the babies have same capacity building or motor skills development therefore every child shows transition at a particular age. Parents should not worry about the developmental skills in the exact age but rather focus on their baby’s body signals and postures.