What should crawling look like?
Crawling is defined as the movement of a baby on its upright upper limbs and knees. Usually this is done in an alternately coordinated manner, that is, the left leg works with the right handle, and the left handle with the right foot. Initially, however, this coordination may be difficult to notice by parents due to the fact that in the initial stages of development the toddler is still crawling uncertainly.
The crawling should not be confused with creep, i.e. forward movement performed with the help of all limbs, with the torso lying on the ground, and with the so-called "Creep like a seal" (sometimes found in literature) - the way of performing the movement is similar to creeping, but here it depends mainly on the work of the upper limbs, with a slight participation of the lower limbs. Creep and "creep like a seal" are the stages achieved by a child while learning to crawl, but they should never be considered as the final correct crawling.
What is the development of crawling?
Crawling is a movement process that develops in many stages. It usually begins around 8 months oldwhen the infant begins to rotate around its axis and attempts to move in place and creep forward. In the next month of life, the toddler moves forward in a crawling motion, with the help of all limbs. The legs are still slightly straightened at this stage, and the movement itself can be performed initially with the advantage of one of the sides of the body (this situation, however, lasts quite a short time). As for the further stages of development, the baby crawls in an uncoordinated manner, swinging on the hands and knees usually at the end of the 9th month of life. At 11 months, however, the infant masters crawling in cross-leg coordination (left hand-right leg and vice versa) and at this stage of development he usually does it willingly and confidently.
Inappropriate crawling - what should worry a parent?
The first issue to determine in the case of suspected incorrect crawling is the time criterion. As we have already mentioned, usually toddlers start learning crawling at the age of about 8 months, a they crawl properly around the 10th month of their lives. So, if 10-11 months after birth, the child does not show any desire to learn to crawl (for example, does not try to make any move, does not crawl), then this requires the consultation of a specialist. However, it should be remembered that in the case of premature babies (due to the corrected age), the first crawling attempts may start a little later, so in such cases an attentive observation attitude can be adopted.
Irregularities in the course of crawling may also apply to the movements performed or their absence. As we wrote earlier, crawling is a type of movement in which the baby moves on his knees with the help of erect upper limbs. So if a toddler, despite the passage of time, is moving like a seal, uses only one half of his body to move, or shuffles one of his limbs, it is a sign that urgent medical consultation is advisable.
What can incorrect crawling indicate?
Incorrect crawling can have many reasons, however, they are usually associated with abnormalities of the osteoarticular, muscular or nervous system. Changes in the osteoarticular system may limit the child's movements or cause pain to him, so he may crawl reluctantly, or try to do it in other positions (for example, with one leg straight or supporting only with one handle or on one knee). Abnormal muscle tone can cause difficulty moving the limbs, supporting the body weight on them, as well as bending and straightening them. On the other hand, defects of the nervous system (e.g. associated with neuromuscular conduction) may prevent movement of limbs, cause fatigue, as well as imbalances.
No matter what the reason, incorrect crawling requires a medical consultation as soon as possible (initially a visit to the family doctor or pediatrician is indicated). Moreover, in some cases it is necessary to carry out appropriate diagnostics and neurological, orthopedic and physiotherapeutic consultation. After establishing the diagnosis, it is necessary to make a decision regarding the treatment and rehabilitation of the baby, so as to be able to reduce the fitness limitations and give the proper motor development to the right track as much as possible.
In summary, crawling is one of the stages of proper motor development of the infant, and his irregularities can be associated with osteoarticular, muscular and nervous disorders, and therefore require prompt specialist consultation and the implementation of appropriate therapy. Such actions, if taken in a timely manner, can in some cases help overcome existing irregularities and give the child the opportunity to catch up resulting from their arrears in motor development.