When Will My Baby Start To Crawl?
After your baby has mastered sitting up on her own, you're probably keen to know when she might make those tentative moves to crawling too. Some parents could be waiting in vain for this milestone though as it's one of the few that some babies never actually achieve. Crawling is a real sign of your baby's growing independence and when it does happen, you'll certainly know about it as you might struggle to keep up.
The Road to Crawling
Any of the physical milestones require your baby to lay down a lot of ground work before they can happen. She needs to strengthen and develop the muscles required for the task and her brain needs to develop in order to send signals to her body to move how and when she wants instead of just the reflexes she was born with. Physically, your baby will develop from the top downwards. That is to say, she will gain control of her neck and head first, then follow with her trunk and then legs. Learning to sit confidently usually precedes crawling. Most babies will start crawling between eight and ten months. Not every baby crawls, some find bottom shuffling perfectly adequate for getting around and some will even proceed straight to standing and then walking. All of these are completely normal so don't be concerned if your baby doesn't crawl.
How You Can Encourage Your Baby's Crawling Skills
You can encourage your baby's crawling skills as soon as she is sitting up confidently. When she is sitting up, place a favourite toy just out of reach. In time she may soon lean or reach toward the toy and this can lead to her first tentative moves on her own. She loves to copy you and so it's a great idea for her to see you on your hands and knees crawling too. You'll find lots of toys that are good for fostering her crawling skills. Toys that can be made to move along on their own, such as motorised trains, are great as she will be fascinated by seeing them move and this in turn will encourage her to follow. You could also try rolling a ball to achieve the same effect.
What Should I Watch Out For?
Now that's she's mobile life takes on a much faster pace for both of you. She will love her new found independence and this will see her exploring everything and everywhere. For you this means you need to use socket covers, cupboard locks and ensure there are no small objects at her level that she can find and swallow. Avoid using tablecloths as she may be able to pull these down and whatever is on the table on top of herself. In addition, stair gates are essential as it won't be long before she becomes very interested in trying her skills at climbing.
What Comes Next?
As she practices crawling, she is strengthening her muscles and improving her co-ordination all the time. Her confidence will grow quickly and it's likely that she'll soon want to be pulling herself up on the furniture.
Every baby develops at a different pace and no two reach the milestones at exactly the same time. Any suggested timings made here are intended as a guide only. If you have any worries about your child's development then do discuss them with your health professional or doctor as they will be able to advise.