types of crawling

If you’re a new mum, you may not know yet that there are several different types of crawling that your little one could try out before he begins walking.

You may be focusing on questions like when he will start, how fast he will go, or how soon this will transition to walking. And these are all important things to think about!

You probably already know that crawling is your baby’s first way to move about and explore the world, and he’ll typically start somewhere between 7 months and 10 months. Not only does it help him develop motor skills and muscles that he will need for walking, but it also helps him to understand distances and the concept of things existing outside of his reach. After he starts crawling, he’ll improve his hand-eye coordination, he’ll have better balance, and he’ll feel like he can conquer the world!

But remember that every conqueror has his own way of doing things. Don’t expect all babies to crawl in the same way! Being prepared by knowing all about the types of crawling will help you better understand your baby’s development—and prevent you from thinking that your eyes are playing tricks on you if you ever see your baby crawling backwards!


So many choices!

That’s right, your baby has a lot of different options when choosing how to move around. Take a look at this list of the most common types of crawling, their characteristics, and explanations on why your baby might choose them:

  • The Classic – As the name suggests, this is the most common crawl, and the typical image that comes to most people’s minds when they hear the word. Your baby will keep his weight on his hands and knees, moving first his arms, then his legs forward in an alternating pattern. Many babies crawl this way when they have gained enough core strength and coordination to get up off the floor, as it is one of the more comfortable and efficient baby crawling styles.

  • The Bear Crawl – This can be one of the most entertaining types of crawling to watch because your little guy will have his bum up in the air! It’s just like the classic crawl, but with the legs unbent, creating this amusing shape. Your baby will probably try this one out for a while after he gets tired of the classic crawl, and once his legs are a bit stronger. Soon he’ll be ready to walk!

  • Commando Crawl – Unlike the bear crawl, this style is all the way to the ground. It’s like the classic crawl, but your little guy will keep most of his weight on his tummy. With all the squirming he’ll do, he may look like a little snake! This is sometimes a first step as he builds the core strength required for more demanding types of crawling.

  • The Scooter – This one’s another fun one to watch. Your baby will sit upright with his bum on the floor and use his arms to drag himself across the floor. He may do this if his arm muscles have developed more quickly than his legs.

  • The Lopsided Crawl – This is when your baby always seems to go a little more to one side than the other. Don’t worry, it just means that one side of his body has developed stronger muscles sooner than the other side. It’s usually temporary. It can also happen when your little guy is eager to hold onto objects in one hand as he moves, making him favour one side over the other.

  • The Crab Crawl – Don’t let your eyes pop out of your head if you see your baby crawling backwards! It’s actually one of the common baby crawling styles. Like the scooter, it can happen when your baby’s arms are more developed than his legs.

  • The Rolling Crawl – This one is a bit of a misnomer. Instead of crawling, some babies just choose to roll everywhere they go. They’re clever little guys because they have figured out the fastest way to get from place to place!


Is your baby crabby?

This doesn’t have anything to do with your baby’s mood; there’s actually one special type of crawling that is worth mentioning separately because many parents find it confusing or worrisome. This is the Crab Crawl, or your baby crawling backwards or sideways. If your little guy does this, you have nothing to worry about. It’s actually pretty common and can be a sign that his arm muscles are stronger than his leg muscles. Or, he could just be exploring new ways to move his body around. Either way, it will most likely pass quickly.


When you see your little guy starting to crawl, or maybe trying to master one of the different types of crawling, you will probably be tempted to help him. While it can be helpful to place items just out of arm’s length so that he can try to grab them and explore his own abilities, it’s best not to interfere too much with his crawling development. Just be sure to keep him out of harm’s way! After all, it’s his body and he’s got to learn how to use it!