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Every stage in your baby’s development is equally important and exciting, but two areas of development that receive a lot of attention and questions are crawling and standing.
One could argue that these two are especially important as they are key milestones to reach in order for your baby to walk, which we all know is necessary for future years.
So we are here to answer some of the popular questions surrounding these topics in order to help you prepare for your crawling and standing baby.
When do Babies Usually Start Crawling?
So often we focus on age when we want to know when our babies will hit a certain milestone. While most babies develop at a similar rate, physical readiness is a firmer sign that your baby is ready rather than age.
That being said, most babies are ready to start crawling between 6 and 10 months of age. If your baby is able to sit up unassisted and begins to push up onto their hands and knees while on their tummy, they may be ready to start crawling soon.
Why Is Crawling Developmentally important?
Crawling not only signifies a leap in physical strength and development (gross motor skill) but it is also highly dependent on the development of other bodily functions.
Vision plays a huge role in your baby’s readiness to crawl. Their eyes need to be able to focus together and zero in on a singular target that works as motivation to move forward. Their eyes also need to have an understanding of depth perception to know how far something is from their hands and face.
Mental cognition is also a very important skill for crawling. Their brain needs to be able to understand navigation and memorize facts and basic directions. In simpler terms, they need to know where they are going.
Of course, physical strength does play a huge role in your baby’s ability to crawl, particularly back and neck muscles and spinal development. Your baby needs to be able to hold their head up to look ahead and keep their back straight to move forward.
All of these things together show that crawling is an important stage for babies as it helps to develop and strengthen various bodily functions.
So don’t hesitate to give your baby plenty of tummy time!
Different Crawling “Styles”
You may not realize this, but there are actually different styles of crawling and you may observe one or all of them with your little one.
- Classic: moving one arm and opposite leg together to propel forward, usually on the knees
- Scoot: pulling forward with the legs while sitting on their bottom
- Crab: one knee is bent and the other extended moving forward or sideways
- Commando: pulling forward with the arms and/or elbows while on the tummy
- Backward: same as the classic but in reverse
There’s usually nothing to be concerned about if you notice an “unusual” style even though it may look strange. However, if you think your child is struggling or they are not moving on from the crawling stage, please talk to your pediatrician.
Why Do Some Babies Skip the Crawling Stage?
While crawling does signify and strengthen certain physical abilities, it’s not necessarily a bad sign if your baby decides to skip the crawling stage altogether and go straight to standing and walking.
Experts say that babies may be crawling later or skipping the crawling stage altogether these days since they are being put to sleep on their backs (to prevent SIDS) and not getting enough tummy time with caretakers.
Some babies may just develop quicker than others or have older siblings who motivate them to get up and walk rather than start by crawling. No matter the reason, there is very little to worry about if your baby skips this stage.
Your main concern should be if your baby seems physically incapable of crawling by the time they reach their first birthday. You should also consult your pediatrician if your baby seems to only be able to move one side of their body or have any unnatural stiffness.
How To Encourage Your Baby To Crawl
The best thing you can do for your baby is to encourage them to crawl and exercise the muscles necessary for crawling. You can achieve this through:
- Plenty of tummy time: placing your baby on their tummy (always supervised) naturally motivates them to lift their head and strengthen their neck as well as practice pushing up on all fours
- Help from caretaker: crawling with your baby or placing your hands behind their feet – to be used as a push-off point – can help them learn the proper motion for crawling
- Motivational toys: simply using your child’s favorite toy or buying one specifically to motivate crawling (such as balls that roll away or activity tables) can be helpful as well
Here Are The Best Baby Crawling Toys
How Important is Standing?
Standing is, of course, the final milestone to reach before the big “W” – walking – and it is obviously a necessary one.
Reaching the standing milestone means your baby has developed all of the necessary muscular strength in the neck, back, arms, and legs in order to stand.
When Do Babies Stand Up?
Your baby will probably start by pulling up on furniture to help them get into a standing position. This may start around 8 to 10 months.
After they’ve gotten the hang of this, they will move onto standing unassisted. It may only be for a second or two at first, but eventually, they will be able to stand longer and longer.
Next thing you know, your baby will be standing straight up from the floor without pulling up first.
How to Encourage Your Baby To Stand
Start young. From about 2 to 4 ½ months of age, most babies can support their weight on their legs with assistance. Take time each day to hold your baby, supporting them under the armpits, and allowing them to stand and bounce on your legs.
As they get older and they are able to hold their head up and sit up with support, you can start using baby jumpers and walkers. You do need to use these items with discretion, limiting the amount of time your baby spends in them to prevent developmental delays and constantly supervising to prevent injury.
Set your baby up for success and remove any potential hazards around your home they may get into. Move knick-knacks out of reach, cover any sharp corners or edges on furniture, and create a “cruising path” that is easy for your baby to pull up and move around on couches and coffee tables.
Delays in Standing
Of course, these timelines are just based on the average developmental rate and age of most babies. There may be slight delays in your baby’s development and ability to stand just based on their lack of interest or personality type.
However, there are important things to look out for that may result in a delay in standing. Certain medical conditions can affect this such as cerebral palsy, orthopedic problems, downs syndrome, or muscular dystrophy.
If there are no congenital medical conditions and your baby is still not sitting, standing, or walking independently by 18 months of age, your pediatrician will likely look into other causes for the delay.
The majority of babies reach their milestones naturally without any concerns. However, if you have any questions about your baby’s ability to crawl or stand, always contact your pediatrician for a consultation.
Here Are The Best Push Walker Toys
What was your experience with your baby’s crawling and standing like? Do you have a story you want to share with us?