How to help baby crawl

+76 votes
asked Jul 12, 2019 in Pregnancy & Parenting by AlenaBousque (220 points)
edited Aug 13, 2019
My oldest sister had a baby about six months ago, making me an aunt for the very first time. Prior to this my experience with babies was quite limited; none of my friends had babies, I was the youngest of the family and all of my cousins were older than me. Needless to say, I’m not exactly the world’s greatest aunt (how was I supposed to know that you don’t feed peanuts to an infant?!). Recently my sister was telling me about how the maternal health nurse had encouraged her to start focusing on how to help baby crawl. She said this would be a family effort and a role that we would all need to take seriously (she is a big believer in the concept of the village helping to raise the child). I nodded seriously as she told me this, but I had no idea what she was talking about. To make up for my previous indiscretions I was hoping to really be useful in this key area, but I always thought babies just crawled whenever they were ready…? What do they mean when they say we have to focus on how to help baby crawl?

4 Answers

+14 votes
answered Jul 17, 2019 by Josefa28354 (380 points)
edited Jul 25, 2019
I love the idea of you nodding along seriously whilst having no idea what is going on! As a first time mum, your sister was probably just as clueless when the health nurse brought the subject up, and she likely had to ask questions in order to get answers. My point is, it is ok to ask your sister questions about the baby. I work in childcare and have found that if you don’t want to display a lack of knowledge on a particular subject you can say things like “what suggestions did the health nurse make?” or “what specifically do you want us to focus on when interacting with the baby?” Listen carefully and then go home and do further research. As a bit of a guide, most babies will start crawling when they’re between seven and ten months old, although some will skip this step and go straight to standing. The precursor to crawling is when they start to roll over, using their arms to push off. To encourage this, give the baby plenty of “tummy time” (where you place the baby face down – if you have a play mat, place the baby face down on the mat). This will encourage the baby to use its arms to push up, building up muscle strength.
+10 votes
answered Aug 14, 2019 by MadonnaCix69 (390 points)
edited Aug 14, 2019
Experts suggest that babies that are a bit bigger than average (in other words, heavier), may be slower to crawl than smaller babies, since they find it more difficult to push up off the floor with their extra weight. It’s also normal for premature babies to crawl a bit later than average, so if your nephew/niece is in either of these categories, it may be a good idea to let your sister know so she doesn’t stress too much.
+6 votes
answered Jul 22, 2019 by Debbie (820 points)
edited Aug 4, 2019
I was told a fun fact about crawling recently that perfectly fitted with my own experience as a mum of four children. I had two children born in summer/early autumn and two that were born in winter. The ones born in winter crawled earlier than the other two. I thought this was just because all children are different, but the research showed this is a typical occurrence because (wait for it!), babies born in summer will hit crawling age during winter, when they’re typically wrapped up in layer upon layer of restrictive clothing. Babies born in winter, on the other hand, will hit crawling age in summer, when often they’re dressed in nothing but a nappy. So, my advice on how to help baby crawl would be, encourage your sister to dress the baby in less restrictive clothing whilst at home (maybe a cloth jumpsuit that is slightly too big). With free range of movement, baby might feel more like practising!
+2 votes
answered Jul 14, 2019 by RyanIngalls (220 points)
edited Jul 20, 2019
When you play with the baby, start putting their favourite toy in front of them, but a little out of their reach. This sounds mean, but it actually encourages them to make effort to move forward to achieve the desired object (why move if everything you want is always placed within reach?). Another suggestion to how to help baby crawl is to give the baby plenty of space to move around in. They may not be crawling yet, but they’re likely already rolling and some babies can roll all the way across a room (always supervised of course). Finally, if the baby makes it up onto all fours, put your hands behind their feet so they have a platform to push off from. It’s a bit like training wheels for a bike and helps the baby to feel more stable.

On the flip side, try to limit time spent in baby walkers, baby seats, baby carriers…basically anything where the baby is made to just lie there instead of being able to roll around on the floor. The more time spent practicing on the floor, the closer baby will get to crawling. Good luck aunty!
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