Crawling: What’s the low down?

Happy, smiling Baby crawling around in Grass

As an early interventionist I have seen many different issues with crawling.  In my experience, babies who do not like to be on all-fours also did not like to put their hands on the floor in supported or “prop” sitting, when learning to sit up independently.  They usually also protested “tummy time” before that.  Over the years I started to see this pattern with babies who never crawl, or only crawl for a brief time before walking.  There are many good reasons to encourage crawling in babies.  So many systems integrate and solidify during crawling, from visual-spatial skills, bilateral coordination, sensory motor and overall strength and coordination. But what if “working on crawling” is traumatic and results in everyone having a lousy time? Look at the baby’s sensory response.  Are hands fisted and in “high guard” when sitting?  Are shoulder and neck muscles tight?  You may have a tactile sensory issue that can be addressed with a simple “sensory diet”. This is not about eating, but about exposing your child to fun sensory tactile activities.  Playing in food, water, and other safe “touchy feely” games can help baby learn to enjoy touch sensations.  Massage and therapeutic brushing (you will need a special brush AND training from a qualified OT) can also be very helpful.  Your baby can learn to crawl and reap all the benefits of this important milestone, with the right sensory strategies!