Every baby is different, so naturally, there are some milestones your baby might speed through or skip altogether. But can babies go straight to walking and skip crawling altogether? Absolutely. In fact, it’s totally normal for baby to adopt alternative ways of moving around that don’t include crawling on all fours.
According to Today’s Parent, alternative crawling methods might include creeping or sliding on their tummy, “bottom shuffling” — which involves baby sitting upright and using their legs, and sometimes, their arms to scoot themselves forward on their bums — or the “commando crawl,” which is when babies use their arms to propel their bodies forward as they lie on their stomachs. All of these methods are valid and healthy. Remember: hands and knees are only one way for a baby to crawl. There is no “wrong” method.
Anne Rowan-Legg, M.D., a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, told Today’s Parent what matters most is that baby’s gross motor skills (“such as rolling over or sitting up”) are being assessed by a medical professional at regular checkups. “Whichever mechanism they’re using to get around allows them to develop coordination and balance,” she told Today’s Parent. “It allows a child to explore his environment and gain a sense of independence, and there are different ways of doing that.”
Dr. Gina Posner, M.D.,board-certified pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, told Romper that babies will usually demonstrate some sort of scooting ability (like the ones above) before walking. So they likely won’t go from not moving at all straight to taking their first steps, but they can skip the most common crawling method, which is on hands and knees.
Long story short? Don’t freak out if your baby skips crawling. It does not mean they will have developmental issues later on in life. According to Posner and Romper, many kids who have never crawled go on to have healthy development. “The concern about learning problems later would only be valid if they are delayed in many other milestones,” Dr. Danielle Fisher, M.D., pediatrician and vice chair of pediatrics at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, told Romper. “For instance, if they are having problems with language and social skills and fine motor skills, then I would be concerned.”
This is why it’s so important to make sure your baby is attending all their well-child visits, so their pediatrician can monitor their growth and development and give them all their necessary vaccinations. This is the time to ask them any questions or talk about any concerns you might have regarding not just crawling and walking, but also things like illness prevention, nutrition, and of course, other milestones like sitting up, lifting their heads on their own, and talking. According to Healthline, these well-child visits will happen every few months in the first two-and-a-half years of your child’s life, then annually every year until they turn 18.
“Kids that walk first are not more special than kids that crawl first,” Dr. Posner told Romper. So take a breather, and enjoy every one of your baby’s milestones.
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