Why Do Some Babies Crawl Backwards?

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You are most excited to see your baby crawl for the first time. However, babies crawling backward may seem odd and raise some concerns. It turns out it is normal for some infants to first crawl backward before learning to go forward (1). It should not be considered unusual as long as they can use their limbs to propel across the floor.

It may be difficult for some babies to coordinate between arms and legs while maintaining balance and posture while crawling. But let them move at their own pace, and they’ll gradually master the technique.

This post will tell you everything you need to know about crawling backward seen in babies and why it is not a matter of concern.

Why Does A Baby Crawls Backwards?

Crawling is part of an infant’s gross motor development, which refers to big muscle movements such as the ability to sit, walk, and run. Though seemingly simple, these gross motor skills require nerves, muscles, and bones to work in tandem and well.

When your little one begins to crawl, usually between six and nine months (2), she may choose the easiest and the most efficient way such as the commando crawl, in which she shuffles around her tummy. If the little one finds it easy to crawl backwards, she may opt for it for many reasons.

  • If the baby feels stronger on arms than on legs, she will push herself back and crawl backward or scoot backward (3).
  • The upper bodies of babies are more developed than the lower ones initially, which is another reason for babies crawling backward.

When her legs get stronger, the little one begins to crawl forward. Even if she skips to crawl forward or skips crawling altogether, it is completely normal. It does not mean that she has missed a milestone. Note that preterm babies may take more time than their peers to reach such milestones. Sometimes, infants who are above the normal weight may take more time to crawl, than other healthy ones.

How To Encourage My Baby To Crawl Forward?

Your angel will learn to crawl forward on her own. If you wish to help your little one crawling forwards, indulge in a few activities to encourage her.

  • Put her favorite toy a little out of reach in front of her and encourage her to crawl towards it. She may struggle but let her try and do not assist immediately.. As she tries, the muscles required for crawling forward gets stronger.
  • Get yourself down on the floor and show her how to crawl forward. You could be funny as you do that.
  • Once your baby comes to a crawling position, gently propel her forward by placing your hand on her bottom.
  • Try moving her legs and arms to get the feeling of moving forward.
  • Entice your little one forward with her favorite food.
  • Use tummy time mats for your baby to practice crawling.
  • Your little one needs loads of praise and encouragement from you to learn something new. Shower them with praise and see the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the stages of crawling?

Before babies start crawling effortlessly, they go through certain stages of crawling. These may include:

  • Holding their head up while on their tummy (4)
  • Using their hands and elbows to push themselves up (5)
  • Almost getting into the crawling position by supporting their body weight with their limbs (1)
  • Creeping or pulling their body forward with their hands and legs and finally ready to crawl (6)

2. Does asymmetrical crawling mean autism?

Children with autism may display early signs of asymmetrical crawling (7). However, it should not be taken as a sole symptom to diagnose autism.

However, remember not to force the baby. It should be fun for your baby to learn to walk and crawl. Also, do not compare your little one with other babies her age. She may be slightly ahead or behind them. You should let her grow at her own pace. Bear in mind that backwards crawling will be a matter of the past after a few months as your little angel will be walking and running around then!


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Important Milestones: Your Baby By Six Months.
  2. Infant – newborn development.
  3. Will Baby Crawl?.
  4. Important milestones: Your baby by two months
  5. Important milestones: Your Baby By Four Months.
  6. Movement coordination and your 8 month to 12 month old.
  7. Sally Ozonoff et al. (2008); Gross motor development, movement abnormalities, and early identification of autism.
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Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo did MBA from Osmania University and holds a certificate in Developmental Psychology from The University of Queensland. The zoologist-botanist turned writer-editor has over 8 years of experience in content writing, content marketing, and copywriting. He has also done an MBA in marketing and human resources and worked in the domains of market research and e-commerce. Rohit writes topics... more

Dr. Wayne Hough

(MBChB, MMed, FC Paeds)
Dr. Wayne Hough is a pediatrician currently based in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town in South Africa. He got his medical degree from the University of Stellenbosch. He then worked at the Tygerberg Children's Hospital before completing his pediatric training and qualification from the South African College of Medicine. Dr. Hough also holds a MMed degree in pediatrics from... more