What If Baby Skips Crawling?
Not all babies crawl before they learn to walk. In general, babies are achieving motor milestones at a later age than they did 15 or 20 years ago, in part because most of them are now put to sleep on their back. The Back to Sleep Campaign has significantly reduced the risk of SIDS, but the unintended fallout is that babies spend less time on their stomach. Experts recommend giving baby tummy time during the day so he has a chance to build upper-body strength and coordination.
Still, not all babies will tolerate being facedown on the floor; others are destined not to crawl no matter what. The good news is there is no evidence that babies suffer motor-skill delays if they don't crawl. The important thing isn't so much the crawling, says Robin Adair, MD, who directs the infant, toddler, and preschool clinics at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Care Center, in Worcester, "but giving your baby lots of chances to build up his muscles and experience the world from different views."
Ironically, just as a baby learns to crawl and can get away from you, he may also realize that he's terrified if you're out of his sight. He often brings this on himself by crawling into another room or rounding a corner. Of course, his hysteria at being separated from you (or any other trusted primary caregiver) can also be brought on when you leave, even if he's in the care of someone he knows. This phenomenon of being so attached to one person that a baby mistrusts all others is called separation anxiety. Most babies suffer from it in varying degrees between 7 and 9 months, even if they were chortling in the arms of any stranger just a month ago.
Don't worry, though. "Separation anxiety is a sign that your baby is emotionally attached to someone, and that's a very positive development," says Adair. Some evidence suggests that the onset of this powerful attachment to the most important people in their lives is associated with a spurt in brain development between 6 and 12 months. Studies also support the idea that your baby's earliest emotional bonds are the foundation for healthy relationships later on.