Why doesn't my baby crawl yet and how to help

“My 8-month-old isn’t crawling yet!” Sounds alarming? 

Header image from 📷  aau.edu 

As a parent, the mental pressure of tracking your baby’s development can be heavy. You want to make sure your baby is growing and crossing milestones, and with that comes the pressure of constant Googling, checking with other parents and pediatricians. 

Crawling is one of the first big baby milestones in both a baby's and a parent’s life. This is when they start being mobile. But if they are not crawling, it can be alarming for parents. Sometimes, there is no reason to worry. In fact, some babies never crawl! 

Before we discuss why your baby may not be crawling yet, it’s important to check if they’re old enough to crawl. Right from their infant stage, babies are expected to gradually start stretching out their arms and legs, kicking and wiggling while they lay down on their back or tummy.

Gradually, over the months, they discover their little feet. By 6-7 months, babies reach crawling age and start attempting to get up on hands and knees, gradually pull themselves to “combat crawl” or “commando crawl” and eventually crawl. 

Happy baby commando crawling

📷  flintrehab.com

 

While developmental milestones are important, it is important to remember that the term “normal age” varies widely in this topic. There are some ground rules to keep a note of but each child is different, with different growth and development cycles. As long as some development is noticeable - for example, tummy time, rolling over, sitting down, etc, you can expect your baby to be on track. Mobility is important, crawling is not.

Here are 6 reasons why there's no reason to lose sleep if your child is not crawling yet

1. Happy where they are

It may sound bizarre but one of the most common reasons why babies do not crawl is because they choose not to. Most babies enjoy exploring their surroundings and discovering new things and that desire to explore encourages them to be mobile and crawl before they can walk. Other babies are happy in their surroundings. As a result, they choose not to crawl around. If they need something, they are happy to wait for their parents to get it for them.

Developmental milestone baby sitting up

📷 babyinfo.com

 

2. Not enough tummy time

Another reason why some babies do not crawl is that they do not do enough tummy time. A newborn baby needs tummy time to help develop their muscles, especially their neck, shoulder and back muscles which are integral for crawling. Tummy time also helps develop their hand and eye coordination. Due to insufficient tummy time, your baby may have weaker muscles, discouraging them to crawl. 

Additionally, tummy time provides a new world view to your baby, very different from their usual view of laying down on their back. It encourages them to reach out to the things they see and the position helps them to roll over and move easily, compartment to lying down on their backs. 

Tips to make tummy time enjoyable for baby

📷 masandpas.com

 

A simple solution to this problem is to practice more tummy time. Starting as early as their first week, encourage your baby to spend time on their tummy during their awake hours. Read our blog on how to design the perfect tummy time for your little one and you, including tips on how to keep them interested.

3. Not enough motivation 

When everything is within the child's reach, they have no reason to be mobile. So, some babies prefer playing where they are, instead of looking for ways to reach the objects. 

Happy baby in mother's arms

📷lmhhealth.com 

 

There is great joy in having a baby around; many parents and family members like to hold the baby and interact with them. Holding the baby for too long takes away the opportunity and encouragement for them to explore and spend time on their own - which is crucial for their development. 

If you think this might be the case with your baby, try to make an active effort to assign them time each day to play in an open space. You can also encourage them to move by placing the toys slightly out of reach, using words of encouragement to reach out, or move towards you. When they are on their palms and knees, gently pushing them from the back can also be encouraging.

Mom encouraging baby to crawl

📷 zerotothree.com

 

4. Baby unable to support body weight

If your child's weight is over the normal weight of babies of that age and height, it might act as an obstruction for them to crawl. According to studies, motor skills delay is twice as much likely in overweight babies, compared to other babies. Crawling is new and challenging for them; it can tire them quickly during the learning days. For some babies, their weight may be discouraging to try to crawl as it is new and beyond their comfort zone. 

Support your baby by moving with them. Playing with them and actively encouraging them to move and explore can help babies come out of their comfort zone and try to crawl.

5. Unsuitable environment 

Even if your baby is ready to crawl, an inappropriate environment may be holding them back. With crawling, one of the main environmental factors is the floor itself. As babies are out of their comfort zone, it is important to provide them with the optimal environment to take that leap of faith and attempt to crawl. 

Tips on how to make baby enjoy tummy time

📷  blog.pregeistry.com

 

While you are at it, try your best to steer away from gender-specific themes such as ballerina and cars as these themes can easily steer you towards a gender-specific, classic pink and blue nursery. As parents, have you spent time on the bare floor when playing with your baby? Was it comfortable? Most likely, not. Similarly, it is uncomfortable for the soft palms and knees of your little one. 

Crawling in bed is not ideal as the mattress is too soft. The baby’s palms and knees can easily sink into the mattress, which can be damaging for their young bones. Additionally, it can add more resistance, making it difficult to crawl.

Rugs and carpets are nevertheless hard, as they have no cushioning. Also, they can contain harmful toxins, dangerous for your baby's health. You can read more about harmful toxins you should avoid that are found in everyday products here.

Baby mat is a baby must have! The AlZiP mat is a non-toxic hypoallergenic play mat. It is made of 9 layers of high-density foam in a unique egg box shape technology to provide the perfect amount of firmness and cushioning for your child's delicate palms and knees.

AlZiP playmat egg-box shape foam

Unique egg-box shape foam inside ALZiP mat

 

AlZiP mat with perfect firmness for baby's development

Perfect amount of firmness and cushioning 

 

It is perfect for all stages of development, from newborn to tummy time, rolling over, crawling, jumping and beyond. Parents love it for both their kids and themselves!

Newborn baby laying on AlZiP mat

📷  Julie, customer

 

Baby milestone crawling on AlZiP playmat

📷  Daniela, customer

 

Baby milestone standing on AlZiP mat with baby room playpen

📷 Wenwenmama,  customer

Invest in a suitable play mat like the ALZiP matto aid your baby’s development.

Here's what some mums and dads have to say about the ALZiP mat:

  • Danielle says, "..padding is really thick which is great for a learning baby and for parents’ knees."
  • Sab says, "..not only is the material safe for baby, it is thick enough for baby to practice walking and crawling."
  • Jenna says, " ..perfect thickness, really safe for my baby and my knees.."
  • Nazreen says, ".. 7 month old just started sitting and crawling. This is the safest mat for him to explore on."

6. Babies born prematurely 

Babies born before the 37th week of gestation are typically considered to be premature born babies. As they are born before the 40 weeks of full development, their development times may differ from a full-term baby. For example, they may not be crawling as early as their 6th month. There is no need to stress about that, as long as you notice development and attempt mobility, your baby should be doing perfectly fine. 

These reasons and solutions are non-medical. With simple lifestyle changes, you can encourage your little one to be more mobile and crawl. It can be pressurizing and stressful to see other babies achieve milestones quicker than yours. But remember, each baby is different, as long as they are developing and showing signs of mobility, there is no reason to worry. Consult with your pediatrician to find the baby development stages and timeline most suitable for your baby so you know when you can expect to see changes.

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