Babies often start crawling between 6-9 months but some little ones adopt a different approach! We see babies with all sorts of crazy patterns from using their ‘breaststroke’ legs to scoot them along, shuffling with one leg curled under and even getting airborne and leaping on one hip. Little ones are amazing at finding inventive ways to move themselves around. The most common question we get asked by far is…
Is this normal?
Whilst these movement patterns can be very cute, this can prevent them gaining some key skills which they would gain in the classic ‘quadruped’ position of crawling. But there’s no need to stress about this and forcing your baby to change their chosen mode of transportation is a fruitless task.
What can I do about it?
Introducing some fun things to do at home can help expose your little one to the movement patterns they may miss through crawling.
Here are some of our best ‘quadruped play’ suggestions:
Chuck some blankets and pillows on the floor and even lie down on the floor yourself and create an obstacle course. Trying to climb up and over the obstacles is a great way for your baby to start to bring their weight forward on to the arms and adopt the quadruped crawling position.
Climbing Up the Stairs
Its’s almost impossible to not creep up the stairs without adopting the crawling position.
Crossing the midline
To move to the quadruped position, babies need to have good rotation through their thorax (trunk). By encouraging your baby to move their hands across the midline will help get this moving. With your baby sitting, pop a toy to one side of them and encourage them to rotate their trunk round to pick it up. You could sit the other side of them and they can hand it back to you so they rotate both ways.
When you might want to seek a bit more help…
There are times when a bit more help might be needed.
If your baby has difficulty moving their arms or legs or if they appear to be weak, floppy or stiff
If they appear to be using one side of their body more than the other. This might be a preference to look one way or using one arm or leg more than the other
If your baby always falls to one side or backwards when they lose their balance.
When your baby stands, is he/she unable to bring one or both feet flat on the floor or is their foot position very different on both feet
If your child shows significant delay in other areas of their development, eg play and language, fine motor skills or if they are having problems with their vision or hearing
To sum up…don’t stress about it
Babies are amazing and when they find a way that works, they take it. You are going to be hard-pressed to change it. So long as there is no underlying developmental concerns or specific diagnoses don’t waste your time obsessing over this and the guilt is not worth it!
Focus on ‘quadruped play’ at home and if you need a little more help, you know where we are!