The happiest day of your life is when your little baby is born into this world, and when you hold her close to your face, their soft breathing and the warmth you feel on your chest is just heaven, right? But, that goes downhill because from the next moment on, all you do is worry about your baby, from her APGAR score to her reaching all milestones on time. Being a first-time parent means continuously worrying about your little bubba, especially when they miss one of their milestones or are behind other kids of the same age.
Doctors suggest that babies are supposed to crawl between the ages of 7 to 10 months. While some experts say that if a baby isn’t crawling when she’s 9 months old, then it can indicate developmental delays, while other experts completely define this as ‘nothing to worry about.’ Some babies can completely skip the crawling stage.
You need to remember that babies are unique, and they don’t necessarily crawl on their fours but will creep, slide on their tummy, or scoot on their bottoms using only their legs. The main reasons why babies don’t crawl are- not enough tummy time, baby’s laid-back personality, baby’s dislike for tummy time, babies are not left on their own to explore and discover their surrounding, and thus not giving them enough opportunity to crawl, her clothes are uncomfortable, or baby’s overweight or born premature. Some causes which are a matter of concern are, baby’s legs are stiff, the baby has a weak muscle tone, or has cerebral palsy, or the baby hasn’t reached other milestones.
When Do Babies Start Crawling?
Initially, babies start rolling on their stomachs when they are 3 to 5 months of age. After which, some babies start sitting on their own for 10 seconds or so when they are 6 months of age. Most babies master the art of sitting after they are 9 months old.
Babies start crawling anywhere from the age of 7 to 10 months of age. While some babies will get in the ‘froggy position’ and rock and forth and soon start crawling on their hands and legs, other babies may be in a seating position and push their hands on the floor and scoot around on their bum. My little one would go on like a commando using only his arms and drags his entire body (It looks like a soldier slithering under a tunnel of barbed wires)
Why can’t my Baby Crawl?
I remember when my little boy was born, I would endlessly read books and research articles on the internet on Do’s and Don’ts, the proper way to take care of them, or whether they’re reaching their milestones. I would leap with joy and take multiple videos and photos when my baby rolled on to his stomach for the first time, playing with his toys using his hands and feet, and when he started sitting. After that, he took a little long pause to crawl, which got me quite worried.
As I told you earlier, he would do the commando crawl but wouldn’t propel himself on all his fours, and when he realized that’s the fastest way of reaching somewhere, he would only crawl using his arms. But, once in a while, he would crawl the conventional way.
But what I understood through extensive research is that some experts don’t consider ‘the crawling stage’ necessary while others believe it to be essential in a baby’s development.
There can be a few common reasons why your baby doesn’t crawl, and how you, as parents, can encourage them to do so-
Lack of Tummy Time
First-time parents or even parents to 4 kids need to know the importance of tummy time for babies since their newborn phase.
Tummy time helps babies to strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles and promotes motor skills. It also prevents babies from having a flat spot on the back of their heads due to prolong time spent on their back.
Lack of tummy time can result in their head is not stable, delay in the baby’s milestones like sitting and crawling.
Tips to overcome: To avoid the risk of SIDS, place your baby on his back while sleeping and on his belly during playtime. Make sure you don’t place her immediately on her tummy after feeding. Ensure baby spent as much time as possible, during her playtime, on her tummy.
Buying one size up is a good way of thinking about reducing extra cost because babies continuously grow in the 1st year of life. Did you know that it can become quite a hindrance to babies trying to explore their surroundings through their hands and legs?
Too loose or too tight clothing can restrict babies from crawling. Also, I’ve noticed with loose clothing is that a baby can step on the loose and hanging cloth, which makes it difficult for them to move anywhere, and so they give up trying. The baby will definitely feel discouraged if she’s not at ease or comfortable.
It’s also believed that diapers can also hinder a baby from trying to crawl or walk. Since crawling requires more mobility of the baby’s legs, diapers can become a hindrance. If your baby hasn’t crawled yet, keep in mind that this can be one reason.
Tips to overcome: The obvious solution here is to dress your baby in very comfortable clothes that are not too loose or too tight. You can also try leaving her naked for a while, without clothes or diapers, to encourage her to crawl or even start cruising.
Baby doesn’t like Tummy time
My nephew hated tummy time. The moment he’s placed on his belly, he would start screaming at the top of his lungs. This is mainly because babies are not habituated to a tummy time routine right after they’re born.
So, if you haven’t accustomed your baby to tummy time, it’s high time that she spends most of her ‘awake time’ on her belly.
Tips to overcome: If your baby cries when placed on her belly, it shouldn’t discourage you. Don’t pick her up immediately to soothe her, instead get into the crawling position and encourage her to crawl with you. Place her favorite toys in front of her but out of reach; this will surely encourage her to go pick them up.
Baby might be Overweight
Chubby babies are always so cute, but they should be at a healthy weight. The weight that is right according to their age and height is what will help them achieve their physical milestones.
Babies who are overweight have difficulty in doing certain things like sitting steadily for 30 seconds or so, or crawling, compared to babies who are at a normal weight. As they have more weight to lift and go about, it can discourage them to move around.
Tips to overcome: Don’t go about altering your baby’s diet without your doctor’s supervision. What you can do is play with your baby more. Make them more mobile, and encourage them to go to their toys, which are kept at a distance.
What I would do is keep the TV remote (my child’s only favorite thing to play with) at a distance, and he would push himself to move forward to pick up the remote.
Baby isn’t given a chance to crawl
The first baby in the family is always pampered the most, which also means that parents and grandparents might want to carry the baby around everywhere. Though this is quite fun for the baby, it isn’t good for their development.
If babies are not left on their own to play on the floor under supervision, there might be a definite delay in their physical milestones. It is very essential for babies to have curiosity, and try to go around exploring their surroundings.
Another way parents restrict babies from exploring is keeping them in bouncers or rockers all the time. This is also harmful babies if they’re at a same posture for a prolonged time.
Tips to overcome: Don’t restrict your baby from doing anything (unless it’s harmful, of course). Baby-proof your house, clear everything on the floor, which can be a choking risk for the baby, and let your baby roam on the floor. It’s good for babies to spend time on the floor as it can encourage them to move around and crawl.
Baby is Premature
A baby born before the 37th week of gestation is normally considered a premature baby. So, dear parent, if your baby is premature, then keep in mind, not to compare your baby to a full-term baby, because you need to take your child’s adjusted age into consideration.
A premature 5-month old baby is not likely to be able to do what a 5-month old baby, born full-term, is able to do. So, don’t fret, while reading on the internet when it says what an 8-month-old baby can possibly do.
But, this doesn’t mean that your baby won’t ever be able to achieve what full-term babies can. It simply means that it will take a little extra time for your little one to reach there.
Tips to overcome: There’s nothing as such ‘to overcome’ prematurity, but what you can do is encourage your child to crawl without forcing or putting a strain on your child. If she’s not ready to crawl, let her be, don’t force her. She’ll crawl on her own when it’s the right time for her.
Some babies are born with a laid-back personality who is quite content with playing with toys within their reach. Know that’s completely alright, too; encourage them to crawl by showing them to crawl yourself or place their favorite toy at a distance.
But, consult your pediatrician immediately, if you suspect something unusual about your kiddo, like
- Your baby isn’t able to stretch out her legs or put their arms over their head when awake, indicating Stiff baby Syndrome, or…
- Your baby has poor head control and reflexes or has weak muscle tone, or…
- Your baby has issues moving their eyes or isn’t able to kick, or haven’t smiled even after completing 3 months of life, indicating cerebral palsy.
If your baby has achieved all other milestones appropriate for her age, other than crawling, then it’s fine. You don’t have to worry about it too much. It is simply something your baby is taking a little longer to achieve.
But, if you are too much worried about your child’s development, it’s always best to consult your pediatrician to rule out any problems. Meanwhile, take it one day at a time, relax and breathe in.
Mamas, if you have found this article helpful or want to share your story about your baby crawled for the first time, do comment down below.
Located in India and a mother to a joyfully mischievous son, Kelin is the wife of the world’s most patient man and a busy homemaker. When she’s not busy cooking and running after her kid, you can find her in a corner reading, or penning down words on her laptop. She believes the world will always try to instil ‘mom guilt’ in new mothers, but she goes by the maxim ‘a mother knows best’.