If you're a mom, very few things in life can match the unexplainable magic of a newborn baby. For starters, they always smell good (minus any major blowouts), and they fit perfectly into the palms of your hands. While you may dread your little one getting any bigger (you know, in those moments when they're not crying and keeping you up all night), there are so many exciting milestones to look forward to.
In addition to melting your heart with their first smile and adorable coos, they're also going to keep you moving when they start to crawl. So, when should you expect them to hit the road (aka your floors) to explore the world around them? POPSUGAR spoke to Dr. Kristin Dean, family practice physician and associate medical director at Doctor On Demand, about the crawling phase.
When Do Babies Start Crawling?
Dr. Dean says you should expect your baby to start crawling when they're between seven to 10 month old. "Some babies may not learn to crawl in the manner that most of us think of," she explained. "They might use their hands to slide across the floor on their tummies or even scoot across the floor on their bottoms. These movements will still help them develop the important skills needed for walking." She added that all babies will develop at their own pace, but if your baby isn't crawling by 12 months, it's a good idea to talk to your pediatrician.
How Can You Encourage Their Mobility?
Babies need physical activity too, so leaving them in car seats, strollers, swings, or anything that keeps them from moving regularly can lead to delays in developing important motor skills, Dr. Dean said. But this doesn't mean you need to do all the work. To help them move, put a play mat on the floor with toys hanging above their head or near them on the ground. Their attempts to kick or reach for the toys will help them gain strength. Also use the play mat (or something similar) for tummy time when they're awake and alert!
When your baby does start to crawl, get ready to move and stay close to them. Establishing a safe zone is important for exploration, so be sure to stabilize any furniture they might pull themselves up on. Also offer the proper support when helping them stand so they can further develop the balance and muscles they need when crawling and eventually walking.