Is your baby struggling to crawl?

Watching your baby start to move about and develop the foundational skills they need to start crawling is exciting! Not to mention an important step in their developmental milestones. But what crawling patterns are unusual and how can you better support your babies crawling development? When is it time to seek help?

Look out for any unusual Crawling Patterns

Not all babies decide to use a reciprocal crawling pattern, some babies choose to commando crawl, bottom shuffle or even roll to where they need to get to.

  • Commando Crawling: This is usually how a baby begins to crawl. This involves pulling themselves along with their arms rather than using their bottom or legs to assist with movement. Babies who have lower muscle tone or weakness in their legs may not progress to crawling on all fours.
  • Bottom Shuffling: Babies who have extra joint mobility (hypermobile) tend to feel more stable in a seated position and tend to have a preference for bottom shuffling as this allows them to be mobile and continue to use their hands for reaching and grasping.
  • Rolling: Some babies find it difficult to transition from their back or front onto their elbows and knees. The easiest way for these children to mobilise is by rolling. 

How to support your baby’s crawling skills?

  1. Give your baby plenty of tummy time while they are awake, starting from birth. By playing on their bellies, babies develop the muscle strength in their shoulders, arms, back and trunk (torso) that helps them learn to crawl.
  2. Encourage your baby to reach for the toys they are interested in. Place interesting toys at just a short distance from the almost-crawler baby. See if they are able to move themselves toward those toys. 
  3. Make sure your baby has space to explore that is safe and supervised.  Take a walk through the home/childcare and see what potential hazards may be at the baby’s level and begin child-proofing them.
  4. Place the palms of your hands behind your baby’s feet when they are on all fours. This stabilizes them and gives them something to “push off” from when they are just learning to crawl.

When to seek help?

Not all babies decide to move at the same time or in the same way, some babies may not crawl at all but rather choose to roll or bottom shuffle to get where they need.

You should be concerned if your baby is demonstrating any of the following:

  1. Not initiating movement
  2. Appears floppy or stiff
  3. Is moving differently to other children e.g. using only one side of their body
  4. Unable to bring both feet flat on the floor when in standing


Our Physiotherapist Roxanne is more than happy to assist your baby with crawling and achieve their age-appropriate developmental milestones using current and evidence-based therapy.

Learn more about our Physiotherapist Roxanne or Physiotherapy at Spring Forward.

Developmental Assessments:

If you are concerned about your child’s developmental progress, check your child’s development here or learn more about our Bayley Assessment. We are also currently providing developmental screeners to preschools across our local community. See if your preschool is one of them or share our details with your preschool, day-care, parents’ group or early development centre.

Learn more about our Early Development Program Creator and Facilitator, Melissa.

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