Crawling is defined as any form of prone progression -- any way of moving in which the tummy is toward the floor. In fact, in one of her many studies on crawling babies, Karen Adolph, PhD, associate professor of psychology at New York University, observed 25 unique combinations of body parts used to propel a baby forward. The most common styles are:
- The belly crawl (also known as the commando crawl)
- The classic crawl (baby alternates arms and legs, getting the arm on one side to hit the floor at the same time as the leg on the opposite side)
About half of babies begin crawling by keeping their tummy against the floor as they move. Belly creepers usually begin crawling earlier than four-on-the-floor crawlers because they don't get up on their hands and knees, which requires greater strength and balance. Some babies use belly crawling as their only method of crawling until they learn to walk; other babies shift to the classic crawl before they start walking.
Here are some other, less popular crawling methods:
- The bear crawl (baby walks on all fours, arms and legs unbent)
- The crab crawl (baby pushes with arms instead of pulls -- which has the unintended, and frustrating, consequence of sending baby backward)
- The leapfrog crawl (baby makes a bridge with her arms and legs and then thrusts forward)
- The roll (some babies get so good at rolling that it becomes their primary way to get around)
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