When Do Babies Crawl?

On the Move: Figuring Out When Your Baby Will Crawl

It might seem like you just welcomed your little one into the world, but before you know it, he’ll be ready to crawl. Once he’s crawling, get ready! He’ll be exploring a whole new world, and you’ll be constantly on your toes keeping that world safe for him. It might seem like crawling is part of a never-ending list of milestones your baby must meet, but those milestones are there so you can know your baby is growing and developing appropriately. Along the way, have fun watching your baby explore his ever-expanding world.

Crawling Age Range

Cute asian baby crawling in the grass and colorful ball

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If all your friends’ babies are already on the move and your little one isn’t quite there yet, she's probably just taking her time. Just like any other baby milestone, there is a range of ages for when your baby will start to crawl. Most babies master crawling between seven and 10 months. Pediatricians don’t specify an exact age because all babies develop at different rates.

Spend some extra one-on-one time with your baby to find out if she’s ready to crawl. Watch to see if she leans over to pick up toys or even gets down on her stomach and back to sitting again. When she’s on her tummy, does she arch her neck and look around? Does she grab her feet when she’s on her back? All of these movements help build muscles she will use when she starts crawling.

Types of Crawling

When you picture your baby crawling, you might think of the standard crawl, alternating opposite hands and knees to move forward. In reality, crawling is a bit like choosing your favorite brand of coffee. You pick the method that works best for you. In addition to the standard crawling movement, many babies use less-conventional ways to get around:

  • Bear crawl: This floor movement resembles more of a wild animal than a baby. Bear-crawling babies keep their elbows and knees straight and walk on their hands and feet. 
  • Belly or commando style: These babies look like they're preparing to join the military as they scoot around on their tummies, maneuvering from toy to toy. 
  • Bottom-scooter: Some babies like to stay sitting up and scoot themselves around on their bottoms, getting around just fine. 
  • Crab crawl: Other babies resemble a crab, moving forward or backward using only their hands and arms.
  • Rolling "crawl": Some babies start rolling and just keep going until they reach what they want, which is really just rolling everywhere. 

Although some of these methods might look pretty goofy, they’re all fine. The most important thing is that your baby finds a way to get around.

Encourage Your Baby to Crawl

Cute asian baby crawling in the grass and colorful ball

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Your baby will probably figure out the crawling thing on his own, but it doesn’t hurt to encourage him. You can start before he’s even ready to crawl by giving him lots of tummy time. This helps him build muscle strength in his shoulders, arms, back and trunk.

Get down on the ground with your baby, grab his favorite toy and put it just out of his reach. Shake a rattle or build a block tower, then call him over to you, encouraging him to move to you. As your little one starts to crawl, he might rock back and forth without actually moving. You can give him an extra push by scooting up next to him and putting the palms of your hands behind his feet. This gives him something to push off of and move forward.

Childproof Your Home

As exciting as it is to watch your baby learn to crawl, it’s super important to make sure your home is ready for this one-kid wrecking crew. Move around at your baby’s level to look for potential hazards. Put cords out of reach, and use outlet covers in all electrical outlets. Use a baby gate at the top and bottom of stairs, and make sure all cleaning supplies are out of your baby’s reach. If there’s a family heirloom you don’t want broken or something baby could hurt herself with, put it out of reach.

When to Worry

Remember, babies get around at all different ages in all different ways. A baby who was born early or one who is a little chunky might crawl later. If your baby doesn’t crawl by 10 months, is using only one side of her body to crawl or is not making any sort of forward progress, contact your pediatrician just to make sure everything is okay.

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