Why Your Baby Should Crawl

by Nicky Lasch - Physiotherapist

Why Your Baby Should Crawl

by Nicky Lasch - Physiotherapist

Crawling is one of the most important milestones that your baby will achieve in her first year of life. It is essential that she master and practice this skill, thereby gaining all the beneficial effects that crawling can offer. Babies crawl at different times during their first year- usually in the window between 8 and 10 months of age. However it is more important that your baby experience this motor milestone, than when or at what age she achieved crawling.

What Are The Benefits of Crawling?

When a baby learns to get herself up onto hands and knees and then learns to crawl, she continues to develop the muscle control of her body. To achieve this "hands and knees position", she has to push herself against gravity, and in so doing she develops muscle strength, co-ordination and control in her shoulders, arms, spine, hips and legs.

Your baby may then begin to rock herself forwards and back, side to side and may reach for a toy ahead. This also enhances the muscle control in her shoulder and hip joints, and helps her to learn to shift body weight. By being able to shift her weight and adjust her muscles, your baby learns to balance in yet another position.

By crawling on her hand and knees, your baby will discover a new world around her. As her body is lifted a little higher off the ground, she is able to see and explore more of her environment. By moving her body under, through, around and over obstacles in her path, your baby will learn new concepts of spatial orientation and body awareness. As she discovers how to fit herself between, under or inside furniture, she will also learn about size concepts.

The best pattern of crawling is where your baby moves her arms and legs in a reciprocal/alternating way. Crawling thus develops the communication between left and right sides of the brain, which is necessary for the co-ordination of the two sides of the body and the arms and legs.

As baby continues the exploration of her new surroundings, she will touch and crawl over surfaces of different texture (carpet, smooth tiles, scratchy grass, soft bed), and position in space (slopes, stairs, angles, corners, obstacles). These various experiences will enhance her sense of touch, sense of body and change her position in space, and again improve her balance and co-ordination.

The more your baby practices crawling, the faster and more agile she will become in this skill. She will also continue to develop an overall body strength and endurance essential for the development of future motor milestones especially, standing, cruising and walking. As your baby crawls and discovers these novel environments, she will begin to discover a sense of herself and will become more independent.

Tummy Lying With My Baby

by Nicky Lasch - Physiotherapist

Tummy Lying With My Baby

by Nicky Lasch - Physiotherapist

Commonly Asked Questions

From What Age Can We Start Practising Tummy Lying?

It is recommended that you begin lying baby on her tummy from as early as 6 weeks old: since at this age, your baby is able to free her chin from side to side and thus breathe effectively on her tummy. By 6 weeks of age, baby is also able to bring her hand to her mouth in this position as her shoulder and arm muscles are developing in response to the maturing muscles of her spine. Initially she will only tolerate this position for short intervals.
However as she develops better muscle control in her head, neck and spine through practising movement on her tummy, she will be able to play in this position and use it functionally.

How Often and How Long Should We Practice Tummy Lying?

The frequency hereof depends on your baby's individual response to this position. If she enjoys this position, then practice it more often- perhaps each time you change her nappy, roll her onto her tummy and play with her for a few minutes. If your baby cries when placed on her tummy, don't be discouraged and avoid this position: rather try it for shorter periods of time, and show her a new toy or play a novel game; which will distract her for a little longer.

What Activities Can We Do During Tummy Lying?

  • Place baby on her tummy on your chest, looking at you (approximately 6 weeks to 3 months of age). The close contact between your face and hers will encourage baby to lift he head and push on her arms.
  • Lie baby on your lap on a supportive pillow (approximately 6 weeks). This position is very effective for winding baby and it also encourages her to lift her head.
  • Hold baby securely on her tummy on the armrest of the couch. This is a very successful activity when other people are around, as it encourages baby to lift her head and shoulders off the surface and to begin pushing on her forearms, as she watches the activity about her.
  • Lie baby on the floor on an activity mat/textured surface (4 months onwards). Mom lies on the floor facing baby, thus encouraging good eye contact and communication between them. Favourite toys and mirrors can also be very useful in encouraging baby to push up onto her forearms.
  • From 6 months of age, babies enjoy swiping and batting at objects. Place baby on the floor on her tummy with a colourful play gym in front of her, and encourage her to reach for and swipe the objects.

contact

Get in touch...

contact

Get in touch...

Nicky Lasch BSc.Hons Physio (WITS)
nicky@nickylaschphysio.co.za
www.nickylaschphysio.co.za
011 803 5050

17 Winston Avenue, Rivonia
PR No: 7224753
PT No: PT 0042633