Can I teach my baby to crawl?
That first rollover is magic! But should you wait for your baby to start crawling at their own pace, or are there things you can do to help them on their way? Justina Perry, founder of MamaBabyBliss and qualified practitioner in Infant Massage and Baby Yoga told us what to look out for.
How early should I be giving my baby tummy time?
From as early as a few days old. Laying them on their tummy allows them to start wanting to look up, which strengthens their neck and upper body muscles and starts to develop their gross motor skills.
When will my baby start to crawl?
From around seven to 10 months – though anything before or after is fine, too. Babies all develop at different times. Whenever your baby starts to try something new, it’s the right time!
What are the signs that my baby is ready to start crawling?
Once they are used to tummy time, they’ll realise there are more places they could get to – and that there’s an ‘up’ too. As your baby’s senses develop, they’ll want to explore all that for themselves. They’ll start to get up on their knees, they’ll roll over, they’ll try to shuffle – all the first stages towards being able to get about more.
What are the different styles of crawling?
Babies start to move in different ways – some even by-pass the crawling stage and go straight to walking.
There are several types of crawling – some get up onto their knees and rock backwards and forwards, others will move along on their tummy, like a commando going under ropes. There are babies who shuffle, sometimes with one side being favoured so that they go along diagonally, while others pull themselves along on their hands. There are plenty of babies who use hands and knees and from here, they can start to move forwards and backwards.
Justina’s tip for helping your baby learn to crawl
Here's a quick tip: at nappy changing time, sing ‘Wheels on the Bus,’ and peddle the legs. When we move both sides of the body simultaneously, we engage both sides of the brain, which helps with neural development and can help encourage crawling. It’s also a good move to help with wind, so it’s an added bonus!
Games to play to help them crawl
If you want to actively encourage your baby to move, try these:
Catch me if you can
Use a toy that you can push or roll away from your baby and encourage them to move towards it. Keep moving it a bit more out of reach but make sure your baby catches up. Remember to praise them for doing so.
Touch and go
Invest in a play mat that has a variety of textures and sounds in it (like a squeaker or crunchy section) and help your baby move around and explore the different areas.
Mirror, mirror baby
Babies love to see themselves in the mirror. Position a baby safe mirror a little way from your baby and watch them crawl towards their reflection.
How do you change a moving baby?
“Once my daughter mastered crawling, it became a battle of wits to change her nappy. Each time I put her on the changing mat, she’d wriggle over onto her tummy and try to get away. Eventually I swapped to Huggies® Pull-Ups® instead of a nappy. Now, as long as I can get them over her legs quickly, I can pull them up even if she’s on the move.” Olivia, mum to Frances
What should we expect them to do next?
Don’t rush it. Your baby is on their way. Crawling, shuffling, bouncing, rocking, whatever your baby does, celebrate their efforts!