When do babies start crawling? When they want to get to the other side.
Like the age-old conundrum Why did the chicken cross the road?, the question of When do babies crawl? can yield a vast spectrum of correct answers.
That’s because there are all sorts of different kinds of babies, each with their own charms, quirks, and speeds.
So let’s explore the ins and outs of baby crawling, together!
In this article: 📝
- Baby crawling 101
- At what age do babies crawl?
- What causes delay in crawling?
- How can I encourage my baby to crawl?
- What should I buy for baby to crawl?
- How do babies survive crawling?
- What surface is best for crawling?
Baby crawling 101
There’s a lot of anxiety that tends to go with the question of when should babies crawl.
Deep breath, mama. Crawling is not a race.
And while there are some things you can do to help get your baby crawling, don’t stress if they’re a little later than their baby peers.
In fact, think of it as a good thing ‒ you may have a bit more time where you don’t have to bolt everything down.
Babies start crawling and they never stop, and sometimes, there’s nothing faster than a crawling baby!
You know what else? Some babies don’t really crawl at all. They skip this step and go straight to walking!
But if you want to see how to help baby crawl, we have a few top baby crawling tips to help little one on their way!
What comes first: crawling or sitting up?
Babies typically learn to sit somewhere in the second half of their first year.
Sitting can help develop the ab strength to make baby crawling happen.
Like many important discoveries, going from sitting to crawling can sometimes happen by accident.
Unlike sitting, crawling is not a developmental marker or milestone ‒ but if it does happen, some degree of sitting will likely precede it.
At what age do babies crawl?
So, when do babies start to crawl? In their own time!
If your baby goes on the crawling journey at all, it may happen somewhere between 6 and 10 months.
Then, by about 9 months (ish), you may have a full-blown crawling baby on your hands.
Again, it’s important to remember that every child is unique.
If you’re worried about your baby’s development in any way, have a chat with your healthcare provider.
Otherwise, enjoy the sheer adorableness of watching the different phases of your crawling baby.
And don’t forget to share the big moment on Peanut!
What’s the earliest a baby can crawl?
Well, it’s hard to tell how old the youngest baby to crawl really is ‒ it’s not in the Guinness Book of World Records.
But some unsubstantiated claims suggest that the youngest baby to walk was just 3 months old!
But don’t feel like your baby is behind if they’re not showing signs of crawling at 3 months ‒ most babies learn from around 6-10 months old.
Can babies crawl at 4 months?
It’s pretty rare, but, yes, sometimes, a 4-month-old baby can learn to crawl.
Can a baby crawl at 5 months?
If baby’s crawling at 5 months old, that is considered a little early, but it’s not unheard of.
Are babies who crawl early smarter?
No ‒ there are no scientific links between early crawling babies and intelligence or IQ.
Your baby will learn to crawl in their own time, although some babies skip this stage entirely, and go straight to walking!
What are the stages of crawling?
That’s right! There are lots of different ways your little one can start to crawl, depending on what works well for them.
So you might think that what your baby is doing isn’t crawling, but technically, all these can be classed as different stages of baby crawling, or types of crawling:
- The OG crawl: Baby’s on all fours ‒ arms and knees ‒ shifting one hand and one knee to move forward.
- Bear crawl: Baby’s walking on hands and feet, with elbows straight, shifting one hand and one foot to move forward.
- Army crawl: Baby is on their tummy, using their arms to move forward.
- Butt-scoot: Baby’s sitting on their bottom, using their arms to move forward.
- Crab crawl: Baby crawling backwards or sideways while sitting on their bottom, using their hands.
- Rock ‘n’ roll: Baby’s rolling about to get from A to B ‒ either while lying on their tummy or while sitting on their bottom.
There are even more baby crawling styles beyond these, so as long as baby is moving from one place to another, that pretty much counts as a crawling baby!
What causes delay in crawling?
If you’re worried about your baby not crawling at 9 months, 10 months, or even 12 months, try not to fret.
Some babies simply don’t crawl at all, and go straight to standing, then walking.
But some babies simply don’t have the opportunity to start crawling, so it’s worth making sure they have enough tummy time and space to explore.
When should I be concerned about my baby not crawling?
While some babies skip the crawling stage, there are a few key developmental signs to look out for, to make sure baby’s hitting those milestones.
If baby’s not moving their legs or putting their feet down when in an upright position by 6 months old, it’s worth checking in with your doctor.
But if they’re doing those things, only not crawling, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about.
Should I be worried if my 8-month-old isn’t crawling?
No ‒ if you don’t have a crawling baby by 8 months old, it’s nothing to worry about.
As long as baby is moving about in their own way, putting their feet down when in a supported standing position, and looking interested in their surroundings, they’re doing just fine.
Is it normal for a 9-month-old baby not to crawl?
If baby’s not crawling at 9 months, try not to worry.
Some babies don’t learn to crawl until 12 months old, and some babies don’t crawl at all, going straight to the walking phase.
Signs baby is ready to crawl
There are a few tell-tale signs baby is ready to crawl, so if you’re concerned about their development, these could mean that a crawling baby is right around the corner!
- Shifting positions when lying down.
- Looking around during tummy time.
- Holding onto their feet when lying on their back.
- Rolling over when lying on their back.
- Rocking backward and forward when on all fours.
If your little one’s showing any of these signs, keep an eye on them during tummy time, just in case they feel the need for speed and start crawling before you can take a pic!
It’s also worth looking into baby proofing your home at this point, just in case there are grabbable trinkets just within baby’s reach.
How can I encourage my baby to crawl?
Keen to find out how to help baby crawl?
Here are our Peanut mama’s top tips on how to teach baby to crawl:
1. Tummy time
You may hear it in every room that has a mama in it: the importance of tummy time.
Don’t stress, it’s not complicated.
All it means is giving your little one some time on their tummy, preferably when they are awake, and preferably when they are not yelling their lungs out.
Why is this so important? Well, consider it Baby Gym.
Tummy time is a full-body workout, targeting their legs, back, arms, and neck, building their motor skills.
And guess what those muscles are excellent for? You got it: baby crawling.
It’s never too early to start with tummy time.
You can even get your newborn started with some quick sessions of about 3 or 4 minutes long about 3 times a day.
Other ways to do baby gym? Clap hands above the head, lift their feet slightly off the ground, and entice them with a well-placed toy.
As an added bonus, tummy time can help an active baby get to sleep ‒ thank goodness!
2. Look in a mirror
This is a fun one.
Pop a mirror in front of your baby during tummy time and watch them try to investigate the new friend ‒ their reflection.
You may find them reaching up toward the mirror and even holding themselves up.
Next step: baby crawling!
3. Get crawling yourself
Okay, you’re not allowed to go through your parenting journey without looking completely ridiculous at least once a month.
Here’s this month’s challenge: get crawling yourself.
Babies are amazing copycats.
Seeing their mama crawling may just get baby crawling.
4. The carrot-and-stick method
This one can lead to a crying baby, so approach with caution!
Place baby’s favorite toy a short distance from them, and encourage them to come to you to find it.
And voilà: crawling baby!
We don’t recommend trying this technique on a grizzly or tired baby ‒ if they start to get frustrated or fussy, try another tactic.
What should I buy for baby to crawl?
While most babies don’t need any extra products to help them learn to crawl, some of our Peanut mamas like to use things like baby crawling mats, baby crawling knee pads, and toys to help baby crawl.
So here are a few of their favorite products to help baby crawl.
Best baby knee pads for crawling
Baby knee pads for crawling can help protect baby’s knees from bruises and scrapes, particularly useful if baby’s learning to crawl on hard floors.
Here are some of our Peanut mama’s favorite baby crawling knee pads:
- Unisex Baby Toddlers Kneepads 5 Pairs: Five pairs of baby crawling knee pads in pink, blue, black, soft gray, and dark gray ‒ great for babies 6 months and up. Buy it here
- Baby Crawling Kneepads & Anti-Slip Socks: Perfect for a crawling baby who’s close to learning to walk and stand. Buy it here
- Baby Kneepads for Crawling & Cushion Backpack: Another great purchase for a crawling baby who’s also learning to walk, the cute, cushioned backpack can help prevent baby from bumping their head. Buy it here
Toys to help baby crawl
Toys are one of the best motivators to get a baby crawling.
These toys to help baby crawl range from rolling toys that can tumble out of baby’s reach, encouraging them to crawl, or toys that baby leans on to get crawling.
- Baby Einstein Bendy Ball: A highly-rated, BPA-free baby toy that can roll out of baby’s grasp, encouraging them to crawl to get it back. Buy it here
- Yeaye Baby Crawling Crab Toy: A fun electric toy to help baby crawl, this crab does its own crawling to get baby on the move. Buy it here
- Inflatable Rolling Drum: For babies who are starting to get the gist of crawling, this rolling drum is made so baby can lean on it to get them used to the sensation of moving. Buy it here
Baby floor mats for crawling
If you have hardwood floors, a baby crawling mat could be a good idea to ease the pressure on baby’s knees.
Here are a few of our Peanut mamas’ favorite baby crawling mats:
- Space Foam Baby Crawl Mat: If your baby is out of this world, you’ll love the space theme of this large foam baby floor mat for crawling. Buy it here
- Super Play Mat: A fun, soft-padded baby crawling mat with a few toys built in to get baby’s mind whirring. Buy it here
- Memory Foam Patchwork Play Mat: The best thing about this baby crawling mat? It’s waterproof and easy to wipe clean. Buy it here
How should I dress my baby to crawl?
You don’t need to worry about baby wearing specific clothes while they’re learning to crawl, although having their knees out can help them better feel their surroundings.
Avoid any clothing that dangles too much, as they can get caught while baby’s trying to move, or restrictive clothing, which can impede baby’s crawling progress.
How do babies survive crawling?
With all this strain on baby’s knees, how do they get through crawling without bruises and scratches?
Well, it’s totally normal for babies’ knees to get a little bruised from crawling, but as long as they don’t seem to be in pain, they should be fine.
But the best way to protect baby while they’re crawling is to babyproof wherever they’re let loose.
- Make sure fragile items, or things you don’t want baby to grab are out of reach.
- Put padding over sharp or hard corners, particularly ones at baby’s head height.
- Keep electrical cords tucked away and out of sight.
- Put any blind or curtain cords way out of reach of baby.
- Install baby locks on cabinets and drawers you don’t want baby to get into.
- Put covers over electrical outlets.
Do babies get bruised knees from crawling?
Sometimes, yes, babies can get bruised knees from crawling.
While they usually don’t cause baby any pain, you can get some baby crawling kneepads to help protect their knees while they’re on the move.
How do you keep baby hands clean when crawling?
Well, sometimes, you can’t keep baby’s hands clean while they’re crawling, but you can clean them between crawling sessions.
To clean baby’s hands, simply use lukewarm water (or cold, if baby doesn’t mind) and mild baby-friendly soap to get their hands squeaky clean and ready for their next crawl.
Can I put hand sanitizer on my baby’s hands?
Yes, you can use hand sanitizer on a baby’s hands, as long as they’re supervised to ensure they don’t put their hands in their mouth before they’re dry.
Can you use diaper wipes on baby hands?
Yes, you can use baby wipes and diaper wipes on baby’s hands to get any muck from baby crawling.
What surface is best for crawling?
According to our mamas of Peanut, carpet is the best surface for a crawling baby.
However, a rug, blanket, or baby crawling floor mat can help if you have hardwood or laminate floors.
Should you let baby crawl around house?
Yes, it’s absolutely fine to let baby crawl around the house to explore, as long as they are always supervised and not at risk of being hurt by things like hard corners, unsupported cabinets, electrical outlets, and drawers or cabinets with dangerous items inside.
After all, baby doesn’t know what’s dangerous ‒ they’ll just keep exploring while they learn to crawl.
Is it OK for babies to crawl on hard floors?
Yes, it’s absolutely fine to let baby crawl on hard floors ‒ you can choose to use a softer surface for them to crawl on, like a rug, blanket, or crawling floor mat, but, as long as baby is happy crawling on a hard floor, go for it!
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