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  • Does Your Baby Use Her Arms To Move On The Floor? It's Called The Army Crawl

    Crawling is one of the most exciting developmental milestones parents look forward to.
    by Kate Borbon .
Does Your Baby Use Her Arms To Move On The Floor? It's Called The Army Crawl
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Crawling is one of the developmental milestones parents look forward to the most in the first months of their babies’ lives. It can be a sign that your baby is ready to start pulling up, standing, and walking, though it is not a prerequisite to those milestones, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

    There are various kinds of crawling that a baby can do (though it is also possible and normal for a baby to skip crawling altogether). One kind of crawl that a baby might do is the “army crawl.”

    What is the army crawl?

    Also known as “belly crawl” or “commando crawl,” the army crawl is when a baby is lying on her belly and using her arms and elbows to propel her body forward. In this type of crawling, the baby is putting her weight on her belly and thighs so she doesn’t have to worry as much about losing her balance.

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    The army crawl might look a bit strange since it looks slightly different from the usual kind of crawling we see (moving one arm and the opposite knee at the same time), but experts assure parents that it is just as normal as other types of crawling.

    “Army crawling is generally seen when a baby’s upper strength and coordination is more advanced than the lower body, which is usually the case when infants are first learning how to propel themselves forward,” hand and arm surgeon Dr. Erin Nance tells Romper. “It is a natural progression from practicing tummy time and lifting up their heads.”

    Dr. Nance also says that all types of crawling are “normal attempts” that babies make as they learn to progress from sitting upright to learning to walk.

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    How to encourage your baby to crawl

    Each baby goes through a unique process of growth, so it’s difficult to pinpoint an age when it is most developmentally appropriate for a baby to start crawling. However, parents are encouraged to promote activities that would help their little ones achieve this milestone.

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    One very important activity, according to the APA, is tummy time, which “prepares babies for the time when they will be able to slide on their bellies and crawl.” Tummy time can help your baby build the strength she will need not just for crawling but also for sitting upright, rolling, and walking.

    Certified pediatric nurse practitioner Amanda Gorman also tells Woman’s Day that having your baby spend time with others who are already crawling can help encourage her to try crawling. You might even want to try getting down on the floor yourself and showing your tot how to move and play.

    Finally, remember that each child is unique and not every baby will go through crawling. Some babies might take a while to achieve this milestone, while some might go straight to walking. As long as your child still gets to use the muscles in her body and is developing normally as a whole, there’s no need to worry.

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    Click here to learn about what else you can do to develop your little one's gross motor skills aside from crawling.

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