One of the main jobs of a pediatric chiropractor is to ensure your child’s motor development and function are working as optimally as possible. With this in mind, your child’s chiropractor assesses your child to ensure they are reaching each and every physical milestone. One of the main milestones that some babies might try to avoid is crawling. So, when do babies start to crawl?
6 Month Milestones
Ideally, at around 6 months, your baby will be able to lift themselves onto all fours and rock back and forth in this position. This skill then leads to the baby propelling themselves forward and crawling on hands and knees at around 9 months. However, for some babies, these skills are more difficult to achieve which might lead them to try and avoid crawling and move directly into standing and walking.
The Benefits of Crawling Are Numerous
For starters, crawling is one of the few movements your child will perform that increases the strength of the wrists and shoulders. While your baby is on hands and knees, the weight they are distributing through their shoulders, wrists, and hands is helping to develop shoulder and wrist stability. In the future, you will see strength in these areas help increase grip strength, ability to use utensils, ability to catch and throw a ball, and so on.
Important Skills that Develop from the Crawling Stage
Another important skill that is developed and strengthened during crawling is hand-eye coordination and general body coordination and awareness. This is beneficial when it comes to activities such as running, riding a bike, skipping, and even getting dressed. Because crawling requires both sides of the brain to work together, crawling can be a key player in both mental and physical development. Other benefits of crawling include strengthening the core, low back, and hips as well as improving visual convergence which is the ability to use both eyes together.
Most babies begin crawling between 6 and 10 months old, though every child works on their own unique timetable. You’ll be able to tell they’re getting ready to crawl when you see them:
- Rolling over from back to front
- Grabbing their feet when lying down
- Getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth
- Arching their neck to look around
- Pushing themselves backward
- Pulling back and then springing forward when on all fours
Once you see these behaviors, you can encourage them to continue moving by holding an interesting object just out of reach, showing them a favorite toy that is hidden behind a blanket or a pillow, or even just praising and encouraging them to come to you.
Remember That Babies Learn at Their Own Pace
Don’t be discouraged if they don’t crawl right away. You want them to be excited and motivated about crawling, so if they become frustrated or upset, quickly move on and come back to it another day. Don’t forget that it’s also important to baby-proof your home as they become more mobile. Pay attention to what’s on the floor, what they can reach and put into their mouth, or any falling hazards. You should always supervise your baby as they crawl and move around to make sure they’re out of harm’s way.
If Your Child Skips Crawling and Goes Straight to Walking, Don’t Worry
While some children have issues with coordination if they miss the crawling phase, plenty of children who went straight to walking without crawling grow up to be very active, fully functioning happy kiddos who can run and skip and ride their bikes without issue. But when the benefits of crawling are considered, it makes sense that this phase of development is important and should not be missed when possible.
If by 10 months, your child can pull up to a standing position, “cruise” around the room by grabbing onto the walls or furniture for assistance, or can otherwise move around on their bottom or tummy, their development is considered normal. Otherwise, there might be physical conditions standing in their way such as:
- Tight hips
- Weakness in the shoulders or core
- Tight trunk or lower back
- Retained newborn reflexes
If that’s the case for your baby, we can help! Our pediatric chiropractors at Accelerate Health are able to address these concerns and assist you and your baby in their ability to crawl before they walk.
Our chiropractors can help treat tension in the low back and hips and stiffness in the mid back and neck. This ensures your baby is free of physical barriers that might be making it difficult for them to crawl. There are also several exercises that we can teach you to work on with your baby to help them feel strong and encourage them to propel themselves into crawling.
Does it Help? You Bet!
Here’s what one of our clients, Leah Brite, said:
“I feel lucky to have found Dr. Perkins at Accelerate Health as she helped get our 10-month-old crawling! At 9 months, he was showing no interest in crawling and would immediately move out of being on all 4s if you put him in that position.
Dr. Perkins did an assessment, gave us a series of stretches and exercises to do with him at home each day, and after a short 3 weeks, he was crawling! I am confident we would not have gotten there anywhere near that timeline without her help. We'd been trying for months to encourage him to start to crawl with no success.”
If you’re concerned about your baby’s ability to crawl, make an appointment today. We’re here to help your young ones move freely without restriction and develop to their fullest potential.