When Do Babies Army Crawl? Milestones, Tips, and Support for Parents

Watching your baby reach new milestones is one of the most exciting parts of parenthood. One moment they’re just lying there, the next they’re starting to explore their world in ways you never imagined. One such milestone is army crawling, where babies use their forearms to pull themselves forward while dragging their tummies on the ground.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Army Crawling: Army crawling is when babies use their forearms to pull themselves forward while dragging their tummies on the ground. It’s a key developmental milestone signaling improved motor coordination.
  • Typical Age Range: Most babies start army crawling between 6 and 10 months, though some may begin as early as 5 months or as late as 11 months. Individual development varies widely.
  • Benefits for Motor Skills: Army crawling aids in building upper body strength, improving coordination, and enhancing spatial awareness. These skills are foundational for future milestones like traditional crawling and walking.
  • Cognitive and Emotional Development: This stage supports cognitive growth through brain stimulation and problem-solving, as well as emotional development by fostering independence and confidence.
  • Parental Support: Creating a safe environment and encouraging play can promote army crawling. Toys placed just out of reach can motivate movement, and frequent tummy time helps strengthen necessary muscles.
  • Addressing Delays: If a baby hasn’t started army crawling by 10 months, consulting a pediatrician is advised. Identifying physical or behavioral signs of delay early allows for effective intervention, such as physical or occupational therapy.

Understanding Baby Milestones

What Is Army Crawling?

Army crawling is a developmental milestone where babies use their forearms to pull themselves forward while dragging their tummies on the ground. Unlike traditional crawling, which involves lifting the stomach off the ground, army crawling keeps the torso in contact with the surface. This stage often shows improved motor strength and coordination. Babies might use their elbows and hands, pulling with one arm and then the other, propelling themselves forward.

When Do Babies Typically Start Army Crawling?

Most babies start army crawling between 6 and 10 months. Some begin as early as 5 months, while others take longer, starting at around 11 months. This variation is normal and depends on factors like individual development, muscle strength, and opportunity for floor time. Pediatricians usually note that each baby achieves milestones at their own pace. For instance, early tummy time can encourage earlier crawling movements, including army crawling.

Importance of Army Crawling in Development

Benefits of Army Crawling for Motor Skills

Army crawling enhances motor skills by building upper body strength. Babies use their forearms and hands, which strengthens their shoulder, arm, and back muscles. This activity, in turn, prepares them for the next milestone: hands-and-knees crawling.

Coordination improves as babies learn to balance movement on both sides of their body. The motion involved in army crawling encourages the synchronization of their left and right limbs. This is essential for later complex activities, such as walking and running.

Spatial awareness increases as babies move around. Navigating different surfaces lets them understand distances, textures, and obstacles. This contributes to their overall physical development and agility.

Cognitive and Emotional Benefits

Army crawling supports cognitive development by stimulating brain connections. The cross-lateral movements required for this type of crawling engage both hemispheres of the brain. This promotes neural connections vital for spatial understanding, memory, and critical thinking.

Problem-solving skills emerge as babies encounter obstacles. They learn to navigate around furniture, toys, and other objects. This experience enhances their ability to plan and execute actions.

Emotional development benefits from the increased independence that comes with mobility. Babies gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment as they explore new areas on their own. This fosters their self-esteem and curiosity, key components for later emotional resilience.

How to Support Your Baby’s Army Crawling

Creating a Safe Environment

Ensuring your baby has a safe space is crucial for encouraging army crawling. Clear the floor of small objects that might pose a choking hazard. Use safety gates to block off stairs and unsafe areas. Soft mats can cushion falls and protect delicate skin. Ensure electrical outlets are covered and furniture edges are padded to prevent injuries.

Encouraging Movement Through Play

Use toys to motivate movement. Place favorite toys slightly out of reach to encourage crawling. Interactive toys like rolling balls can stimulate chasing and movement. Offer tummy time several times a day, as it strengthens muscles needed for crawling. Engage in playful activities like peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek to encourage exploration. Use positive reinforcement through claps and cheers to build confidence.

Recognizing and Addressing Delays

When to Consult a Pediatrician

Delayed army crawling can concern many parents. Most babies begin army crawling between 6 and 10 months. If your baby hasn’t started by 10 months, consult a pediatrician to rule out any underlying issues. Pediatricians use milestones, like sitting up and rolling over, to assess development. If these milestones aren’t met in sequence, it might signal delayed motor skill development. Delays often stem from varying factors, such as low muscle tone or neurological conditions. Regular well-baby visits can help monitor and address these issues early.

Identifying Potential Issues

Physical and behavioral signs might indicate crawling delays. Weak muscle tone, uneven limb movements, or inability to bear weight on arms are key indicators. Behavioral signs include frustration during tummy time and reluctance to reach for toys. Observing your baby’s interaction with their environment can provide critical insights. Log these observations and mention them during pediatric visits for a comprehensive assessment.

Intervention Techniques

Early intervention can mitigate crawling delays. Pediatric physical therapy offers structured exercises to strengthen muscles and improve coordination. Encourage regular tummy time, as it builds the necessary strength. Use toys to entice movement and create obstacle courses to develop diverse motor skills. Occupational therapy might be recommended for babies with sensory issues to enhance tactile feedback and motor planning. Consistent practice and professional guidance can make a significant difference.


Army crawling is a crucial milestone in a baby’s development. It plays a vital role in building motor skills and cognitive abilities. As parents, we can support this process by creating a safe environment and encouraging movement through play and tummy time. If you notice any delays in your baby’s crawling, don’t hesitate to consult a pediatrician. Early intervention with techniques like physical and occupational therapy can make a significant difference. Remember, every baby develops at their own pace, but staying proactive ensures they get the support they need.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is army crawling?

Army crawling is when a baby moves forward on their tummy using their arms and legs. This form of movement helps in building upper body strength, improving balance, and stimulating brain connections.

Why is army crawling important for a baby’s development?

Army crawling enhances motor skills, coordination, spatial awareness, cognitive development, and emotional growth. It is an essential milestone that supports overall physical and mental development.

How can I support my baby’s army crawling?

Create a safe environment, encourage movement through play, provide tummy time, and use positive reinforcement to boost your baby’s confidence.

At what age should a baby start army crawling?

Most babies start army crawling between 6 and 10 months. If your baby hasn’t shown signs of crawling by this age range, it’s recommended to consult a pediatrician.

What should I do if my baby shows delays in army crawling?

Consult a pediatrician if your baby does not start crawling between 6 and 10 months. Delays could indicate issues like low muscle tone or neurological conditions and may require interventions such as pediatric physical therapy or occupational therapy.

What are the signs of army crawling delays?

Physical signs include low muscle tone and lack of coordination. Behavioral signs might include a lack of interest in movement or avoiding tummy time. Early intervention and regular monitoring are crucial.

What interventions are available for crawling delays?

Interventions include pediatric physical therapy and occupational therapy, which focus on strengthening muscles, improving coordination, and addressing sensory issues. Early intervention is key to supporting babies with crawling delays.