Do you have to keep a closer eye on your 6-9-month-old baby’s movements these days? Does he often surprise you with new actions, like grabbing the shiny new necklace you’re wearing? Congratulations, he’s making his first steps toward crawling!
At this age, your baby will start moving with better control and intentions. Because his upper body muscles are getting stronger every day, you’ll see him do more advanced movements. For example, sitting unsupported and changing positions from lying down to getting up on his hands and knees to rock back and forth1 – all in an effort to prepare him for crawling. Very exciting for us parents but be forewarned! Once he starts crawling, he’ll have a whole new world to explore and you won’t be sitting still for long.
How can you prepare your 6-9-month-old baby for crawling?
- Start Otteroo Early! Did you know that your baby is strengthening his core muscles and working on making intentional, controlled movements in the water, as you seen him giggling and having fun in the Otteroo floatie? Our floatie lets babies practice moving their limbs and body on their own with the help of water’s buoyancy. The resistance of the water also helps them control their movement better. Similar to tummy time, the earlier you start, the more practice he’ll get to squeeze in! We can’t replace tummy time but we’re here for your baby before tummy time is possible, and after, too.
- Continue having frequent tummy time. Encouraging the daily practice of tummy time is so important because the muscles your baby uses to lift his head and torso are needed for crawling as well.
- Let your baby sit up with little to no support. As his torso muscles get stronger, he will increasingly be able to sit up during his daily activities. Start by setting him on a soft blanket on the floor with pillows and other props for support. As he gets stronger, start gradually removing these supports.2
- Limit time in bouncy chairs and car seats. There is a time and place for these types of seats (like the 15 minutes of “alone” time you need to shower!), but relying on them for too long can hinder the development of your baby’s gross motor skills.3 Instead, use a playpen to keep him safe from harm and allow him the opportunity to explore his mobility and range of motion on his own.4,5,6
Note that some children can skip their crawling stage and move straight into walking. While this may seem like more advanced movement and therefore good milestone progression, it is important for your child to crawl. Why? Because crawling helps improve your baby’s coordination, hand and wrist strength, core stability, and cognitive abilities. So be sure to provide plenty of active playtime to encourage crawling!
1 Florida Partnership for School Readiness (2004). Florida Birth to Three Learning and Developmental Standards. Retrieved January 27, 2014 http://www.unf.edu/uploadedFiles/aa/fie/Birthto3%20Standards.pdf.
2 Illinois State Board of Education. For Children Birth to Age Three: Illinois Early Learning Guidelines. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://www.isbe.net/earlychi/pdf/el-guidelines-0-3.pdf.
3 Ben-Joseph, E.P. (2011). Car Seat Safety. Kids Health. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/auto_baby_toddler.html#.
4 Stamm, J., Ph.D., & Spencer, P. (2007). Bright from the Start. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
5 Zwieback, M. Is It O.K. to Use a Playpen? Will It Hurt My Baby’s Development? Bringing Up Kids. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://www.bringingupkids.com/0-6-mo/is-it-ok-to-use-a-playpen-will-it-hurt-my-babys-development.html.
6 Vanderbilt, T. (2009). What Ever Happened to the Playpen? Slate: Family. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2009/08/what_ever_happened_to_the_playpen.html.