Not Crawling Yet

Archived Q&A and Reviews

8-month-old shows no interest in crawling

Oct 2004

My 8 month old son rolls over onto his back whenever we put him on his tummy. He has shown no interest in crawling. We have put toys out of his reach to tempt him and recently put a rolled towel under his chest to help him feel more comfortable in the belly-to-the-floor position. It helped a bit, but he still rolled over after a very short time. He is interested in walking and already takes assisted steps, and he's a bright, happy, healthy boy. Any advice about how to encourage him to crawl? And is it something to worry about? I don't know what stories to believe about crawling being related to coordination, reading and writing, etc. Is it possible that he may just be a late crawler or walk before he learns to crawl? I appreciate your ideas. Thanks! Mom of a non-crawler

Dear Mom of Non crawler I don't think you need to worry. My son wasn't interested in crawling at 8 months either. He was more interested in pulling himself up to standing. He went through a frustrated period when he obviously wanted to move but couldn't. Then at 9 months he suddenly figured out how to crawl and off he went. I didn't do anything in particular to encourage him and it actually was good as I could leave him on the floor when I had to do something and he wouldn't move far. He actually started taking steps at 10.5 months so didn't crawl for very long and all he wants to do now is walk. I've heard that crawling is supposed to be good for coordination for later on but who knows - its a hard thing to test. A mom
My son did not crawl until he was 10 mos. old and when he did he did the army crawl. Not the regular on all fours crawl. He started walking at 13 months. I also was afraid of this ''coordination'' or learning disorder problem that I heard about. I asked my doctor and he said there are no studies that say a child who walks first will have learning problems or coordination problems. In fact, he just laughed and said that my son probably just gets frustrated with crawling so he's decided to master walking first. But no worries...your baby is developing normally. Chris
Our son didn't crawl until 11 months, then walked at 13 months. After that, all bets were off and I longed for those non-mobile days!! :) He loved being upright, however, from very early on, and liked to ''stand'' with support holding on to stuff much before he crawled. We enticed him with toys just out of reach, but didn't sweat it too much, and he eventually did it himself. I figured out, at least in my case, that the more I seemed to stress about it, the more he picked up on it in subtle ways and got frustrated easier. Maybe mention it to your pediatrician, but it sounds like you're right on track. Laura
Don't worry. Babies are crawling late or not at all these days due to the Back to Sleep campaign. Crawling is not considered a developmental milestone by doctors. susan
Crawling is not essential -- in fact, most books have removed it as a ''milestone'' in baby's development. Kids who walk early, often don't crawl, and I don't believe this is associated with any lasting problems. Karen
I'm not a medical expert so I may get blasted for saying this but according to a lot of parenting books and contrary to what a lot of people believe, crawling is not a necessary milestone. A lot of kids don't crawl at all, especially since back-to- sleep. And, my mother told me I crawled for maybe a day before walking at 8 and a half months. My grandmother said my dad never crawled. I'd check things out with your doctor, but I have a feeling your son will do what he needs to do in his own time. I read in two books of the many parenting books I have (Touchpoints and What to Expect in the First Year) that crawling is not a necessary milestone.

Now having said that, I do think you need to do whatever you can to encourage your child to explore and move. Keep at it. Give him tummy time. Prop him up. Put toys around. He needs stimulation and eventually, he'll be enticed enough to move around in SOME way, even if it's rolling over and over to his favorite toy.

Good luck. Play with your little guy. Keep encouraging him to move in many ways. Anon

Our son never crawled either and we were worried about it like you. Then one day at about 10 months, he got up and wobbled across the room. Our crawling worries vanished! We then fixated on his funny gate, frequent falling, etc. In retrospect, we now know all those things were within the range of ''normal''. At 4 years old, he runs well, is very coordinated, and is athletic. As long as he moves and is interested in grasping and using his limbs I wouldn't worry too much. Mom of a non-crawler
Relax! Your baby is an individual and will do everything in his own time. If he is happy and healthy, then maybe it's not so important that he is a 'late' crawler. And what is 'late' anyway? In the beginning I read so many books and listened to so many people about what should be and what should not be happening with my baby. I finally had to take a step back from all of it and just appreciate my son for the person he is. Trust your instincts (and contact your pediatrician if your worries persist) and enjoy this brief period--he'll be running around soon enough! another mom
As I was fretting about some aspect of my baby's motor development recently, my mother told me a story about myself: I never crawled, just waited until 10 months and went straight to walking, and she was told by the ''experts'' that that meant I would potentially have all kinds of problems (poor motor coordination, learning disabilities, etc.) if she didn't force me to learn to crawl. She never did, since I seemed happy walking. I now have a Ph.D. from Harvard and I'm a professional dancer. My mom's conclusion: phooey on those experts! lara
My first baby roller over at a year (!), and never crawled. I never worried at all. She was an alert, interactive baby, very social, but not very physical. So what? People used to ask me if I was worried, and I always said, ''Well, I've never met a grownup who can't roll over...''. My other two babies crawled between nine and ten months. Remember, in some places (like West Africa, for example), many babies are carried on their mother's backs until they are of walking age. I lived in Africa for three years and never saw a baby crawl! There is no proof of any correlation between cognition and crawling. Relax. Enjoy. Mary
Crawling is a developmental leap that can be and often is skipped. No worries if all else seems fine. My son never crawled and is a perfectly well-adjusted four year old. Mama of a walker...
Our daughter was never much of a crawler -- from birth, she was a very ''vertical'' child, always wanting to stand up and check everything out...around 9-10 months she started crawling between things so she could then stand up and hand-over-hand her way around. She never did the stereotypical crawling thing.

At almost 20 months, she's really rather astonishingly coordinated (watching her on the climbing structure at the park is sort of amazing...that would be the 5-year-olds plus climbing structure, not the toddler one....) -- much more so than other kids the same age that we see. So I wouldn't worry about getting yours to crawl too much.... Sara

My 3-year-old son runs, jumps, climbs, talks constantly in complex sentences, can spell his name and is generally a wonderful preschooler.

But even at 10 months, he didn't crawl, and I was worried. At about 11 months, he finally started scooting around on his bottom, but he didn't walk until 17 months. He never crawled. If your child seems fine in others ways, try not to worry (though I did.) Karen

I'm in the same boat -- we have an active, energetic 7 1/2 month old who is very eager to walk, and balances on all fours, but prefers to sit up or stand up with help, rather than crawl. My mother is constantly warning me of the dire implications of my daughter not crawling, but yesterday I asked our pediatrician who said there really are no conclusive studies that link crawling to other developments. And our 3 year old son followed a similar pattern, very little crawling. With babies sleeping on their backs now there are a lot more going more or less straight to walking, with little or no crawling in between. So I have decided not to worry about it any more! another mom of a non-crawler
Don't worry. He sounds perfectly fine. All babies do things at different ages. mom whose kids didn't walk until 15 months
Don't fret! It's perfectly normal for a 8-month-old not to crawl. Our little girl didn't crawl until she was 9 month old and we know kids that didn't start until later. Indeed, one of her little friends never crawled but instead deviced this method of moving at high speeds sitting up. He's now 2 1/2 years old and playing baseball!

But chances are your little girl will crawl if you give her time. Mine finally did, at exactly 9 months, when my husband got a remote controlled car. She was fascinated by it and decided to crawl after it. I'm not sure it was a coincidence or if that actually encouraged her, though you may want to try. anon

Our now 11 month old didn't crawl until almost 10 months. She hated her tummy when she was a new born. She now crawls like crazy. Give your baby time. Try placing some toys in front of him when he is on his tummy. Or get down on your tummy facing him to try to entertain him. Good luck. Anonymous
My daughter did not crawl until 9 months, and then began walking three weeks later. She was the latest crawler but the earliest walker of her baby group. She is now 4.5 years and can run faster and farther than most of the 7 year olds she knows, and she is on track or early in all developmental milestones. Don't worry. speedy's mom
relax. some kids simply aren't into crawling and go right to walking. you can encourage whatever you want but in the end they're going to do their own thing and be just fine. anon
I wouldn't worry at all. I have a friend whose kids didn't crawl until after 9 months and they're doing fine. Every kid is different on this one. Some kids skip crawling and go straight to walking (or go to spiderwalking on hands and feet). Yours may do that. Late crawling and going straight to walking are both possibilities. Lori
Some kids don't crawl and go straight to walking, which is fine. Crawling isn't necessary. Our daughter didn't crawl until 9 1/2 months, which is also normal. just another mom
Our now-2-yr-old didn't crawl until 11 months or walk until 14 mos. I worried about it at the time, too. But he is now extremely coordinated, rhythmic, verbal and musical! Don't worry! Debbie
Hi- I never crawled. Neither did my brother. And we are both well-adjusted people. :) My pediatrician said it was perfectly normal not to crawl. My son, who is now 13 months old, was a late crawler (9-months), but it didn't bother me or my husband or my pediatrician.

I have never heard of crawling being linked to coordination and reading, like you mentioned in your post, but I wouldn't worry. Some kids roll over to get from point A-to-B, others just take their sweet time and some prefer to walk. Never bothered with the crawl

10-month-old not Crawling

July 1999

My 10 month old daughter is not crawling yet and I am a little concerned. Every baby in her peer group is crawling, including all of the younger ones. She didn't like being on her stomach and up until the last month or so I didn't make her do it regularly. Now I have her on her stomach for five minute stints multiple times a day. She does push up and slide a little along the floor backwards, but can't bring her knees up underneath her and support herself. I know some babies never crawl, but I also understand it it isn't great for their development to go directly to walking and to not develop that kind of coordinatin and muscle strength. I would appreciate some insight and I was wondering if there are some physiological reasons for why she still resists being on her stomach. As an aside, she basically doesn't rollover either (she rolled over from her stomach to her back a couple times and now I think she forgot how.) She also happens to be 95+% for height and 95% for weight. Thanks.

My son never crawled and walked at 15 months. He spent a great deal of time walking around a sturdy table. He is now a teen and has never had any sort of physical problems. He tends to be a very cautious, methodical type of person and maybe he just didn't feel a need to get anywhere quickly.
It doesn't sound like you have anything to worry about. The pediatricians I talked to were not at all worried about my daughter crawling late or incorrectly and never rolling. My daughter, now 5, is very coordinated and I have always thought she actually got two cool things out of her development pattern: she got to carry things around and see well ahead of her when she crawled because she did it sitting up; and (for whatever reason) she never toddled, she never went through that falling-down-all-the-time period that most kids do.
Sam, my now almost 3 year old, never crawled, started scooting around on his bum at around 11 months, and didn't walk until 18 months. Since his main little buddy followed nearly the same pattern, it made it easier not to have peer-induced worries. In retrospect, I see that kids follow a wide variety of courses toward walking, and it seems that many fall outside what is considered normal. I, too, had heard that it wasn't great to go straight to walking... but we certainly haven't seen any signs of trouble. Our main concern was with whether or not he made some effort to locomote ... and the scooting achieved that quite efficiently. In fact, more efficiently -- since there was no need to change position to pick things up to play! His (other) large and small motor skills -- as well as verbal and social skills -- were proceeding at or ahead of schedule in all other ways.... we decided to look at the totality rather than the separate parts, and checked in with our doctor about it all during regular visits. In short, we decided not to worry ... and he did it all at his own pace and in his own way. He is now in perpetual motion, and the days of stillness have some allure!
My daughter will turn one on Saturday the 10th and she didn't start crawling until last week. She wasn't even mobile until about a month until about a month and a half ago, when she started being able to move a couple of feet across the floor by herself. She also followed the exact same pattern as yours with the rolling over. She could do it, but never figured out she could get anywhere by doing it and so gave up on it. I think you have a very advanced group of peers, because I know of a few other babies who also didn't crawl until later. I heard a couple of reasons why babies would crawl/walk late. One of them has to do with how fat they are. The pudgy ones have trouble until they stretch out a little because the fat gets in the way. The other is that they sometimes spend so much time concentrating on other things like talking that they just put it off until later. Late walkers, early talkers. (and vice versa). My daughter, while not exactly talking, started babbling a couple months before her peers. Perhaps there's something like that that your baby did early? In any case, I wouldn't worry about it. It's still well within the range of normal and how early or late a baby crawls has nothing to do with their future abilities. (Or so I'm told.)
My now 15-year old didn't crawl until he was 11 months old, and then he just barely met the requirement. Like 2 times! I had to stop reading the development books! I could have put him on a raft in a swimming pool at 10 1/2 months and he couldn't have gotten off! He would just sit. Then he cruised and at 12 months walked and I've never seen any ill effects. He just hated to be face down.

I didn't really feel there was anything to worry about because in every other way he seemed OK and I think that's important--to determine if he's just being an individual or if there is a developmental problem.

We had a similar situation with our 3rd child who never did crawl. So much toddler clothing with reinforced knees! Eventually, our little one sat up on the floor and utilized her legs and arms to propel herself (at remarkably great speed I should add). She was actually much fast than crawlers. Also she didn't start this mode of transportation until around 10 months, perhaps because until then everything she wanted was right at her disposal. And following the then latest advise, she slept on her side or back. So for her, being on her stomach was a little foreign. Her older sisters slept on their tummies or side, and did begin crawling around 7-8 months.

Also all of our children have been slow to walk, which in our case meant they were pulling themselves up around 12 months but didn't let go and really take off until they were 16mo. Babies develop differently, but for the most part they all seem to catch up with one another. We discussed it with our pediatrician and she wassn't concerned. So we decided to relax and let her develop at her own pace and she is none the worse for wear (well except for the bottom of all of her clothing, but on the bright side, we had well polished floors;-)

We are expecting our fourth in a few weeks, and it amuses me still how with each pregnancy the experts have flipped opinions from things like sleeping on the stomach only, to sleeping on the side or back to sleeping on the back is best. Sometimes I feel like we are one big case study.

I think you're just looking at typical baby idiosyncrasy there. One of ours was like that, and she was also hefty like yours--it seems that bigger babies often crawl and walk later than the smaller ones. She eventually learned to do both. If your pediatrician's not worried, you shouldn't worry either. They all have their own schedules.
Assuming the pediatrician says she's completely healthy... There's this terrific toy from Gerber you could try, it is a ball about 8 diameter, it has an offset motor in it and is battery powered so it rolls around on its own, plays music and animal sounds, then stops. Baby will be curious and want to crawl over to it. But a few seconds later it starts all over again and keeps the baby interested in the very hard exertions needed to try to crawl. If you cannot find this product in the store or at a used toy store, perhaps try any ball that makes noise from inside; or get creative with a noisy toy dangled by you on a fishing line (with total supervision of course). Good luck!
My daughter, who is now 12, didn't spend much time crawling and never wanted to be on her stomach either. People tried to scare me into thinking her development would somehow be hindered by her going directly into walking without having crawled, (including my brother-in-law who is a doctor). She is now a beautiful adolescent, plays the violin and viola like nobody's business, gets excellent grades and is physically able in many sports. Our pediatrician told me not to listen to what others were saying. If your pediatrician tells you your child is healthy, please don't worry.
This is for the parent concerned about the 10-month old not crawling. I too had concerns at about the same time when my 10-month old (now 15 months and crawling all over the place) son was not crawling or attempting to crawl. He too did not enjoy being on his belly and did not do a lot of rolling (only in his crib). He did begin to crawl at 12 months -- first pushing backwards and then commando crawling by dragging his body by pulling with his arms. He eventually figured out how to lift his belly up and support his weight on his hands and knees. It can be disconcerting when you see all of the other babies crawling and especially when younger babies are doing things your child isn't. My son also couldn't get into a sitting position on his own. He sat fine as long as he was place in a sitting position.

I would suggest having your pediatrician look at her, or at least talk with the doctor about your concerns. I was concerned about my son's muscle tone, but it was fine. He basically waited until he was ready and felt comfortable with the new movement. I don't know what your daughter's personality is like, but my son loved to watch people and explore things in his hands and read books. He just wasn't a very physical infant. But once he figured it out and was comfortable with it, he is doing great. He did go through a very intense period of frustration prior to developing his new skills.

Some ideas to try that helped us: sit on the folor with her with your leg extended and place a toy on the opposite side of your leg while positioning her on the other side; keep her barefoot so that she has leverage for weight bearing and greater sensitivity with her feet; when she is on her belly and if she begins to push up her chest with her place your hands under her belly and hips and gently lift her so that she goes on her knees to help her feel the new position (my son didn't seem aware of *how* to get there. Good luck.

I have a niece who is almost 10 months and she isn't crawling yet either. And only rolls from her belly to her back because she hates being on her belly. I run in to more and more parents who are having the same concern. Apparently because babies are sleeping on their backs they are not getting as much tummy time, and are not rolling and crawling as early as babies have in the past. I belong to another list serve and one of the moms there said that she works for an office doing research on the long term effects of late/skipped rolling and crawling and on revising the developmental guidelines. Of course, if you are about development, you should certainly bring it up with your pediatrician to see if tests need to be done.
From what I've seen, a 10-month-old not crawling is nothing to worry about. I've known two children who didn't crawl until they were a year old, and they're fine now. One of them is almost two now, is running around, and is very advanced for her age at talking and at many other activities. Another girl I know didn't crawl at all; she just sat for a long time, then kind of scooted in a sitting position for awhile, then walked. She's 8 years old now, exceptionally bright and has no developmental problems at all. It can make a parent worry if their child isn't doing what the others do, but chances are there's no problem at all with your child.
My daughter is almost 9.5 mos. old and doesn't crawl either. She never liked be on her stomach, so it also took her a while to figure out how to roll over. Now when I put her on her tummy, she just rolls over. So I'm not sure she'll ever crawl. There are some who feel a baby should crawl before they walk, but I thought was sort of passe. My doc says no big deal. I say no big deal, and in fact, am told to enjoy her non-mobility while I can, since life changes drastically once they they start to move. Also remember that boys tend to develop those those gross motor skills more quickly than girls, while the girls tend to develop those fine motor skills more quickly. My daughter's fine motor skill are beautiful, she likes to stand and so I'm definitely not worried. If you really are worried, talk to your doctor.....if everything else is normal, then I'm sure your daughter is just a late bloomer like mine!
Slightly different subject, but when my son was around 12 mos. we went into a small store where another adult customer asked me something about him & I somehow let out the thing at the top of my mind which was he's not walking yet. (I had previously worried about his crawling too, by the way.) She mentioned that her parents had told her that she hadn't walked until she was 18 mos., & fortunately for me I had the wit at the time to say and just look at you now! We both laughed, and once I saw it that way, it really changed my perspective & improved my attitude. I figured my son would certainly be walking long before he grew up! Of course we worry, but apparently with motor development there's just no telling the future from the present. And the present moves awfully slowly when one is home with a baby! In retrospect (from my desk at work) the people who say these days are fleeting so you'd better enjoy them are 100% right.

12 month old not crawling

Aug 2005

I'm a little distressed. My 12 month old is not crawling and is showing NO signs of interest in it either. We had our check- up and the doctor said he was fine. While I should be enjoying this period of having a baby, especially one that I'm not running around after, I still feel a bit of anxiety. All the babies in his playgroup are crawing/cruising/walking. I put my son on his belly and he just rolls over. If I work with him to get up on all fours, he just wants to get down on his belly and then rolls over! Is there anyone out there who was in a similar situation? What did you do or not do? Thanks!

Our son only recently started crawling at 14 months. Like you, I knew I was supposed to just relax and ''be happy I didn't have to run after him all the time.'' But sometimes seeing him with other kids his age, just sitting there while they ran circles around him, made me cry! He already seemed lonely and ''left out.'' Plus, it didn't help that all the relatives kept calling and asking whether they should contact a child development center. I never found anyone online or among my friends whose babies weren't crawling by this time. All I can say is that he finally got around to it at his own pace, and he's now having a ball locating the electrical equipment in every room he enters. I almost instantly forgot about all the pre-crawl worrying. Our pediatrician said not to BEGIN worrying unless he wasn't crawling by 15 months OR walking by 18 months (even if he never crawled). Of course, he is still not walking or even pulling up or cruising, and we frequently see MUCH younger babies doing triathlons at the playground. What can we do? I can only assume that if he was SO delayed that he was going to be disabled or something, the doctor would see signs of this already. You didn't say whether your son is large for his age, has a big head, or is naturally cautious . . . these were all factors for our son.

We received all kinds of advice about various toys, devices, and exercises we should use to ''encourage'' crawling. Nothing really worked, and the doctor confirmed that ''lots of floor time'' was really the best thing we could offer. She also recommended more play-time with kids his age. I personally found it helpful to focus of the neat things my baby COULD do, to keep me from unconsciously defining him as lacking in some way.

I don't have much advice to offer, but just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one! It's another one of those uncomfortable ''phases'' we have to endure and then instantly forget about once they're over. ekc

Please don't worry about your child being a late crawler. Our now 2 yr. old son didn't crawl until he was 12 mos. and didn't walk till 17 mos. He's now constantly in motion, but very cautious which may explain the initial slowness. He also started talking early which I figure made up for the slower motor skills. In our playgroup we were surrounded by babies (especially the girls) who were walking by 10 mos. Looking back it was a luxury not to have to start chasing him around any sooner or worry about what he was getting into. According to our peditrician, the chunky ones always take longer which was definitely the case w/our son. Good luck and try not to worry...