When Do Babies Learn to Crawl

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The long awaited activity is just around the corner. Your little one is finally approaching a period of increased motor function and further development of motor function. In a matter of weeks your baby girl or baby boy will start to crawl and strengthen upper body part to traverse horizontally as far as her exploration area allows it.

But how do you monitor the progression towards her nearest developmental milestone and check each step? That’s an easy one- by reading throughout the next couple of sections. We’ve compiled a list of developmental checkpoints as well an insight to what the process looks like, how long it lasts and when it starts, to help you and your little one. Here’s an easy to follow list of micro developmental milestones which lead to crawling, and ultimately toddling.

Head Movement

The first pre requirement for a baby to learn how to crawl is figuring out about head movement and perfecting it. Baby’s head makes a third of her entire body weight, so naturally the first priority is to master head movement and strengthening neck muscles. So if you’re wondering when do babies learn to crawl, the answer is simple – once they separate their head from the ground. The learning process is long, but has to start at some point. The moment your little one shows that they can keep their head stable and upper body raised from the ground, you’ll know they’ve made first steps towards learning how to crawl. As they become more confident at keeping their head raised, they will focus on learning other motor function.

Neck Muscles and Stabilization

Now, keeping the head above warm, cuddly surface on which they reside most of the the day is just the first step. Now that they figured out they have head movement, they’ll start strengthening neck muscles to work on eliminating wobbly head movement. Baby’s entire upper body including arms, shoulders, neck and head must all work in coordination to be able to start crawling. They are slow but steady learners, so your little one will go over each muscle group until they can combine limbs and body muscles to crawl. This usually occurs between 5th – 9th month. So before her first birthday, she’ll start exploring her surrounding and enjoy playing on the playmat.

Image of smiling baby with hat

Arms and Reach

Next milestone towards learning how to crawl is perfecting hand movement and strengthening muscles. By pushing herself from the surface, the baby can keep upper body and head above ground for an extended period of time. However, they still haven’t figured out that grabbing and reaching is essential for crawling. But when do babies crawl again? Once you notice that the youngling is reaching in front of her and grabbing whatever she can to pull herself towards her imaginary goal, you’ll know that she’s one step closer to actually crawling. At that time, she’ll try to increase reach and grip, while keeping the entire upper body part above ground. Try to help by pushing her a bit. This way you’ll promote strengthening of arms, shoulder and hand muscles.Furthermore, you’ll reassure her that  she’s going in the right direction.

Upper and Lower Body Part Usage

Even before mastering head and arm movement, your little one already figured out about kicking and pushing with her legs. Now, she has to combine new skills and use everything she learned to push using the lower part, pull using arm and entire upper part, while keeping the head high. The initial session will look silly as if she’s cuddling with the blanket while moving arms and legs simultaneously but without any pattern. In time the baby will work on synchronising arm, leg, belly and head movement to wiggle their way from point A to point B.

What you can do to help in this process is to secure a wide area that she can explore and practise crawling. Getting a playmat is recommended as she’ll need firm yet comfortable surface. Little by little, she’ll start moving away from her initial position. They might try crawling sideways, turning on the side or something similar. Just correct them every once in a while to push them in the right direction.

Image of happy baby boy crawling

Understanding the Concept

This is the final stage of learning how to crawl. During this period she’ll work on understanding the concept of crawling, utilizing limbs and entire body to reach the goal. At this moment, your little one already has the skills needed to crawl. The only thing left to do is to figure out how to synchronize movement to get there. Try to promote the correct way of moving arms, legs and body to crawl. Just because you think she doesn’t understand you, doesn’t mean it’s so. You can try talking, playing videos of babies that already crawl, and use any means to help her understand the concept.

The important thing is to keep the playful atmosphere, as babies tend to tire quickly during these sessions. They will use every muscles in their body to move, so keep practising and be sure that the little one is in the mood for exercising. Be the entertainer she needs and she won’t be cranky or give up after a couple of minutes. Try to stimulate any way you can whether it’s music, favorite toy, or something entirely different. By the end of 9th month, your bundle of joy will crawl and explore no matter where she is.

The process of learning how to crawl requires patience and persistence. Although it’s up to baby to figure this one out, you can help by securing the play area, eliminating sharp edges and provide a safe environment for your baby to progress. You can repeat these sessions throughout the day. However, it’s important let her rest, eat and prepare in between these crawling sessions. And before you even know it, you’ll find that your little one has traveled from one end of the room to another. No matter how secure the play area is for a child, you should always be there to monitor and correct if needed.

Author: Jonathan M. Ward
Author: Jonathan M. Ward

Himself a father of two, John is obsessed with getting the most out of every children’s product on the market, finding value wherever it can be found. His years of study in developmental psychology coupled with his passion for parenting make him an invaluable asset to our team.

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