I know, Mama. I see you there sitting up late at night, holding that small wonder in your arms. You love that baby, but you are beginning to think you will spend the rest of your life getting up at all hours of the night carrying this little bundle around.
I know this because I remember it all too well. With my eldest, in particular, I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. But I blinked, and guess what? She went through all those phases. Now she’s almost taller than me.
I didn’t go through this with my youngest, though. That’s because I found out very quickly from my eldest that babies go through all kinds of phases and stages as they grow. When something seemed particularly rough, I’d remember that she’d grow out of it.
One stage I miss is when the baby is first crawling. When the baby starts to crawl, it’s so exciting. But it’s also the last moment when you can truly relax, for now. Because once they go mobile, you’ll be chasing them everywhere.
The developmental stages of crawling are something I want to cover today. When you know the signs baby is ready to crawl, you’ll be ready too. Or as prepared as you’ll ever be anyway.
What’s the earliest a baby can crawl?
I talked about this recently, but babies generally begin the early stages of crawling somewhere around 8 months. Some, of course, will start earlier than that, like 6 or 7 months. And yes, it’s totally normal if your child goes beyond 8 months and doesn’t crawl.
Remember, some babies just go right into walking without ever crawling. As long as your pediatrician feels your baby is growing properly and hitting the other milestones, it is nothing to worry about.
Can a baby crawl earlier than that?
It’s rather unheard of. See, a baby needs to roll over to be able to crawl. And while you may post all over social media about your smart baby rolling over early for that milestone, they might take a long time to start crawling. And there is no shame in that, my dear.
Other babies will take a while to roll over but crawl and then walk almost right after that. Every one of our sweet little babies is different, and again, as long as all the other boxes are checked, and your doctor says things are progressing just fine, you needn’t worry.
As there’s a range here, the best answer I can give you is that once baby rolls over on their own and can sit up, that’s when you should really pay attention to her getting ready to crawl. Or even to forgo that crawl for a walk. Hope you got your baby-proofing stuff in place!
Here read some of the most common styles of baby crawling!
What are the signs that a baby is about to crawl?
I just want to preface these signs baby is ready to crawl with one thing: just because they do these things does not guarantee they will crawl. As I’ve said, some babies go right to walking and never crawl. But if you’re wondering when the baby may start crawling (or head right to walking), this is what to watch for.
Baby sits up without any support
To crawl, a baby needs core strength. This she’ll get from tummy time which is why you should be ensuring she has tummy time several times a day. Sitting up without any support shows her core is ready to support her and give her the balance and coordination she needs to start crawling.
She’s doing pushups
No, she’s not copying your workout regimen. She’s building her muscles during tummy time. And when you see baby pushing up on her own, she’s strengthening those muscles of her neck and chest.
She likes being on the floor
I can tell you one of the things both my daughters loved was to be put on the floor. We got them those chairs to keep them from crying when we put them in the crib. But after a time, babies don’t want to sit in one place. They want to explore.
Imagine you’re a baby, and everything is new. Everything is fascinating. And here you are, stuck in a chair. You want to touch everything and explore. So if your baby starts getting antsy in their baby chair, put them down on the floor in a safe area. Get down with her too and show her. She might not be able to crawl right then, but she will be excited to try to copy you.
Baby wants things that are far from her
Newborns haven’t fully developed their eyesight. But before you know it, the baby has more focus up close. And soon, she’ll be wanting the things she sees across the room. A fuzzy stuffed animal, the family dog, a red ball by the door…all these things pique her curiosity. She wants to see them.
If you notice your baby’s interest in things further away, put a desirable (but safe!) object a few feet away from her. She’ll likely try to get it though it may take her time to work up to doing so.
What are the stages of crawling?
So now your baby is showing the signs of crawling. What about the stages of crawling?
You may notice that when you put her on the floor, she shuffles in different directions. Some babies move forward, but for many, they go backward. It’s adorable for us but frustrating for them.
Another stage of crawling involves the army crawl, which I recently devoted to an entire post. If you see her doing this, get down and crawl to show her how it’s done.
From here, the baby may get up on all fours. She’ll likely lurch forward awkwardly, another chance to make a video to preserve for when she mouths off to you as a teen.
And from there, she’ll take on a full crawl.
But if she doesn’t, she may just start cruising by pulling herself up with the support of walls and nearby furniture to start walking. Again, I have to remind you to please babyproof your home. Little ones can encounter all kinds of dangers when they start crawling and walking!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.