From the moment you realize that you are pregnant, you look forward to the D-Day. Once the initial exhilaration of having a newborn in your arms sinks in, it is generally followed by worrying – about pretty much everything.
You might be constantly concerned whether your baby is reaching all the developmental milestones. One of the milestones a new mother looks out for is when her baby will begin to crawl and eventually walk. You might not be sure how you could help your tiny tot in achieving it: should you push him/her? And if you do, when should you stop?
So, here we bring you a list of reasons why you shouldn’t be worrying about your little one not crawling. And, also those that can be a cause for concern:
1. Feet Curved Inward
At times, babies might have their feet partially curved inward. Since they are cramped inside the womb, it takes a little bit of time to completely stretch out. This phenomenon is referred to as “unfolding” (1). If this natural unfolding doesn’t happen by the time the baby is ready to roll on his/her belly, it can impede some of the regular movements, including the ability to crawl. Consult a pediatrician and check whether the baby’s curvature is within normal limits. If the tiny one’s bones are flexible, the doctor can easily set it right.
2. Feet Too Flat
The shape of the baby’s foot can hinder a baby’s crawling and walking abilities. Babies having flat feet is pretty common. But it usually doesn’t remain that way for long. Toddler’s feet naturally start forming an arch by the age of three. So, having too flat a foot can delay his/her crawling as the ankles might begin to bend inward. No treatment is prescribed until the age of three. However, should the condition remain unresolved after that, consult a doctor and check for available treatment options.
3. Not Enough Belly Time
Considered as one of the primary reasons for a delay in crawling, getting enough tummy-time is imperative. Due to the fear of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), babies are constantly made to lie on their backs to reduce the risk (2). In such cases, the babies often go directly from toddling to sitting and don’t really have a crawling phase. You can always choose to lay your toddler on his/her back while sleeping or napping but provide him/her with enough supervised tummy-time throughout the day.
4. Not Given A Chance To Attempt
Sometimes, babies are picked up more often than needed, as in the case of joint families. Such babies rarely get an opportunity to explore and strengthen their muscle movements. It is advisable to refrain from picking babies up frequently. Instead, let them venture out into activity areas or parks, once in a while. This can help build their confidence in their ability to do things on their own.
5. Moves But In Other Ways
One thing that most doctors agree with is that if the baby shows other body movements, even if not crawling, then there is nothing to worry about. The other ways can include rolling, sitting up sans falling, or moving forward using arms, etc. Suppose your baby isn’t moving so much, you can always encourage him/her by stretching the legs, supporting him/her to sit up, etc.
Might Be A Cause Of Concern
Hypertonicity, or stiffening of legs, can seriously hamper a child’s mobility. This occurs when his/her muscles are too tight. Not only is this a physical issue, but is also related to brains and nerves. Probably, the only time a baby’s muscles relax is during sleep time. The good news is that babies are still young and can easily remap their brain functioning. However, consult a pediatrician if you have a suspicion. He/she can suggest you a few physical therapies.
2. Weak Leg Muscles
Babies can have muscles that aren’t toned enough or are weak. It not only depends on physical strength but can also have an underlying central nervous system issue. Babies with weak muscles can face more difficulties in moving their body. If you notice your baby struggling to stay put on his/her belly or can’t stay in table-top position, you can begin with a simple muscle-strengthening exercise. But, if you notice a bigger problem, call a doctor.
3. Late In Other Milestones Too
If your baby has achieved all other milestones and is only delayed in terms of crawling, it is nothing to worry about. Be it rolling on the back, getting into a crawling pose, sitting up, or probably trying to stand with or without support. However, if you find that your baby is delayed in terms of other milestones too, meet a pediatrician immediately.
Now that we have broken it down for you, you know what to do! Usually, there is nothing to worry about. So, keep looking out for the signs without getting worked up, and things should just be fine!