The 6 Most Common Types of Baby Crawls

There is not one right way for a baby to learn to crawl. Learn about six of the most common crawling methods babies use.

Crawling is defined as any form of "prone progression," which is movement in which the tummy is toward the floor. In fact, in one of her many studies on crawling babies, Karen Adolph, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at New York University, observed 25 unique combinations of body parts babies use to propel themselves forward. That means that no matter how your baby figures out crawling, it will be exactly the right way for them.

The two main categories of crawling are belly crawling and criss-cross crawling, which is when the hands and knees of opposite limbs work together to move forward. Scientists have found that this type of crawling is beneficial for brain development and may even help the two brain hemispheres communicate.

Here are six of the most common styles of crawling that most babies will use.

01 of 06

The Belly Crawl

baby on stomach
Fancy Photography/Veer

The belly crawl is also known as the combat or commando crawl since it looks a bit like crawling with only the upper body. 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 have to 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 while other babies switch from commando to the classic crawl before they start walking.

02 of 06

The Classic Crawl

baby crawling

With the "classic crawl," the baby is on all fours (hands and knees) with their tummy off the floor. They'll alternate arms and legs, getting the arm on one side to hit the floor at the same time as the leg on the opposite side. This movement is what most parents tend to think of when they talk about babies crawling, but not every baby will use this style.

03 of 06

The Bear Crawl

learning to crawl
Fancy Photography/Veer

Just like the classic crawl, the bear crawl uses all four limbs to get around. The difference is that a bear crawl uses the hands and feet on the floor (rather than hands and knees), which keeps the arms and legs unbent, making your baby look like they could be doing push-ups.

04 of 06

The Crab Crawl

baby holding self up
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With the crab crawl, the baby pushes with their arms instead of pulls, which has the unintended, and often frustrating, consequence of sending them backward or sideways just like a little crab.

05 of 06

The Leapfrog Crawl

babies playing
Fancy Photography/Veer

With the leapfrog crawl, the baby makes a bridge with their arms and legs and then thrusts forward. It may look like play, but your baby is hard at work learning to move around like a pro!

06 of 06

The Roll

baby lying on rug
Image Source/ Veer

Some babies get so good at rolling that it becomes their primary way to get around. For little expert rollers, it is wise to make sure that spaces such as beds, changing tables, and other furniture are babyproofed so your mobile baby doesn't roll off and get hurt.

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