Changing Colors: The Blog of Spectrum Pediatrics

January 20, 2017

Crawling Part 2: The Basics

By Colleen Donley, PT, DPT
  • What does it look like when a baby is learning to crawl?
  • Crawling, either on the tummy or hands and knees, is one of the first times we see a baby piece together “I can move and get to this toy.”
  • True crawling on hands and knees follows a fairly typical progression beginning around 7-8 months and lasting a few weeks.

Belly/commando crawling or creeping: Most babies start with belly crawling as they learn they can move forward to get places, but do not have the strength to maintain a hands and knees position yet.

Rocking on hands and knees: Babies will learn how to push up to a hands and knees position and then begin rocking back and forth. Holding this position and rocking helps babies build stability and strength at the shoulder joint and learn what it feels like to bear weight through their hands and knees.

Inchworm crawling: Sometimes babies will skip this stage, but don’t be alarmed if you see what looks like an inchworm crawling pattern. This looks just like it sounds…baby up on hands and knees, rocking, launching forward onto belly, and pulling legs under them back to hands and knees. Your child has likely learned to use this pattern to move forward because they are still building the stability at the shoulder to pick one arm up at a time.


Hands and knees crawling- Jackpot! The key to know they have mastered crawling is reciprocal arm and leg movements. This means they move the right arm forward while pulling the left knee along and vice versa.

Is your baby stuck at one of these stages and not moving to a new pattern or mastering hands and knees crawling? Stay tuned to the last edition of our crawling series for strategies and tips to make crawling easier and more fun!


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