Crawling is a major milestone for your little ones, as it marks a new phase of gaining independence while exploring their surroundings. It’s also a critical step behind your baby’s first steps.
Ideally, most babies start crawling between 7 to 10 months. However, if your baby is in the higher percentile for height and weight, you might notice that it’s taking them a bit longer to do it. So, do bigger babies take longer to crawl?
It’s true that babies who are on the larger percentile of height and body development tend to take a bit longer than slimmer/smaller babies to start crawling.
This happens due to various natural factors, and it shouldn’t be a cause of parent’s concern, as every baby develops at their own pace.
Keep on reading if you want to find out more about developmental variations in babies as well as the factors that cause bigger babies to take longer to crawl. Let’s dive right in!
- Understanding Crawling: A Big Step for Little Ones
- Why Some Bigger Babies Take Longer to Start Crawling
- Helping Your Baby Learn to Crawl
Understanding Developmental Timelines and Variation
As your baby develops awareness of the world surrounding them, they’ll naturally want to explore it, and mobility is the gateway to achieving that.
However, before achieving full mobility, your baby will go through various transitional phases, starting with crawling.
But as simple as it might seem, crawling is quite a complex skill. It requires your baby to develop enough muscular strength and coordination to lift their tummy off the floor and alternate their arms and legs while maintaining body balance.
The Importance of Crawling for Babies’ Development
Since crawling is such an exciting milestone for your baby, it’s deeply connected with a wide range of developmental aspects.
In other words, crawling depends heavily on them, but it plays a significant role in the development of these aspects. These include but are not limited to the following.
Motor Functions and Upper Body Strength/Development
Crawling requires your baby to use a variety of muscle groups to move around, including arms, legs, and core muscles.
In fact, one study shows that the crawling phase can have positive impacts on infants’ body development and body proportions (anthropometric parameters) as they grow.
Crawling is also one of the longest phases where your baby will put weight on their arms, so it’s quite essential for developing upper body strength, especially their shoulders.
This muscle development is essential for their next phase, as it allows them to control their fine motor skills, such as handling things.
Crawling is also a critical milestone for developing a healthy vestibular system, which is responsible for maintaining balance and coordination of the body.
One study shows that the process of crawling has a remarkable influence on skills like hand-eye coordination and vestibular processing among other essential developmental aspects.
In another study, experts associated the crawling phase with trunk flexibility and hip/shoulder ranges of motion.
Crawling helps your baby develop a sense of spatial awareness, which is the ability to understand their surroundings and their position relative to them.
This is critical for learning how to navigate their environment and avoid dangers as they start gaining independence and curiosity to explore.
Research also shows that there is a positive correlation between the length of time an infant crawls and their ability to perceive space and search for objects.
Crawling gives your child the ability and independence to explore their surroundings so they can learn about their environment.
However, it can also help in developing their problem-solving skills because it requires them to overcome various obstacles that might be in their way.
The Natural Variation in Developmental Timelines Among Infants
The developmental timeline among infants can vary greatly, even among babies of the same age, as babies develop at their own pace.
For instance, some babies may start crawling as early as 6 months old. On the other hand, it might take some babies up to 10 months before they’re capable of crawling, so there’s a wide range of what we consider normal in that regard.
That being said, as a general rule, it is common for bigger babies to take a bit longer before reaching certain milestones.
This is especially true for developmental milestones that heavily rely on physical aspects like crawling, according to various studies.
So in short, do bigger babies take longer to crawl? In most cases, yes, but this does not mean that there is anything wrong with them.
It simply means that your baby needs a bit more time to develop at their own pace.
With time, patience, and encouragement, most babies will eventually start crawling and reach all other developmental milestones.
Factors Contributing to Delayed Crawling in Bigger Babies
Although every infant develops at their own phase, some common factors play a significant role in delaying crawling. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of them:
Physical Size and Muscle Development
The first and most logical explanation behind delayed crawling in bigger babies is simply their size.
If your baby is in the higher percentile of body size, it means that they have more weight to move around.
This makes it more challenging for their muscles to support their own weight and push themselves forward while maintaining balance.
This doesn’t only include arms and leg muscles, but also other muscle groups that are essential for proper crawling, such as core and neck muscles.
The Action of Gravity
Gravity is another major factor that makes crawling challenging for larger babies. When your baby is on all fours, their center of gravity shifts forward.
However, since their upper body is much heavier than their lower body, staying balanced and coordinating movement can be harder to achieve.
As a result, it can take some babies longer to develop the strength and coordination necessary to overcome the action of gravity.
Individual Variations Can Also Play a Critical Role
All babies are unique in their own way, and there are tons of micro-factors that can impact their ability to move.
This doesn’t only include genetics, but also other unexpected elements like eagerness to crawl as well as individual developmental challenges.
In fact, the most in-depth studies show that infant development is unique for every baby, and some babies around 7% of babies may skip the stage of crawling or spend very little time in it.
In other words, even if most infants will typically start crawling between 7 to 10 months, you have to keep in mind that these are all speculations and don’t have to apply universally to all infants.
It also means that delayed crawling doesn’t necessarily mean delayed walking or problems with movement in the future.
Encouraging Crawling Development
Now that you know more about the crawling milestone, here are some helpful tips to help you encourage your baby to start crawling
Physical Activity and Tummy Time Are Key
Your baby spends a lot of time on their back. During this time, your baby’s field of view and physical activity is limited.
For that reason, you need to give your time more tummy time to encourage them to strengthen their core and neck muscles. In fact, one study associated having little tummy time with delays in motor development milestones like crawling and walking.
Create a Crawling-Friendly Environment to Encourage the Behavior
This point is often overlooked but it makes a lot of difference for infants trying to crawl. You should make sure that there’s enough space for your baby to crawl and that the surfaces provide enough traction to support their movement.
For instance, if your baby is wearing socks, they may have a hard time supporting their own weight on smooth surfaces, especially if they’re on the bigger end of the scale.
Instead, try to expose their feet and knees while trying to crawl and encourage them to crawl on carpeted surfaces to improve traction.
Entice Your Baby with an Attractive Toy
One technique that many parents find effective is encouraging their babies to crawl by using an alluring new toy.
Sit in front of your baby during tummy time and grip their attention with an attractive toy. Start with a few inches and slowly increase your distance to encourage your baby to come forward.
Give Your Baby a Helping Hand
You can also help your baby crawl by helping them crawl forward. To do this, put your hands on the soles of their feet and apply some pressure, which gives them something to push against.
Once your baby moves one arm forward, push the other foot forward to simulate natural crawling, and so on. With time, your baby will start doing it on their own as you push their feet with less power.
Wrapping Up: Do Bigger Babies Take Longer to Crawl?
This marks the end of today’s guide that walks you through everything you need to know about the onset of crawling in bigger babies.
As you can see, babies reach different developmental milestones at different paces, but it’s common for bigger babies to take longer to crawl. Yet, this is rarely a cause of concern, as babies take different times to develop various skills.