From scooting to crawling to cruising, babies learn how to get around during these
months. So now is the time to childproof
your home, if you haven't already. Be especially careful to gate staircases and block
off rooms that you'd rather your baby didn't explore.
How Is My Baby Moving?
By now your baby is sitting and using his or her hands every so often for support.
Once comfortable in this position, your baby will start to turn and reach for objects
without falling over. Your baby will also get better at changing positions, and soon
figure out how to get into a sitting position, then pull up to stand.
When on the stomach, your baby will learn to push up onto the hands and knees and
rock back and forth. This little "exercise" is working the arm and leg muscles, getting
your child ready to propel forward (or backward) in an attempt to get moving.
Some babies are better at crawling than others so don't worry if your child has
developed some novel ways of getting around, including rolling, scooting on his or
her bottom, or creeping.
As long as your baby is using the arms and legs on both sides of the body and shows
an interest in exploring surroundings, there's usually no reason to be concerned.
Leg muscles have gotten stronger from standing, bouncing, and crawling. Now is
the time for your baby to start taking steps while holding on to the couch, coffee
table, or other pieces of furniture for balance. This is called "cruising."
Fine motor and hand–eye coordination also continue to improve during this
period. Babies develop the ability to pick up small items. This coordination can range
from an awkward raking grasp to a precise finger-to-thumb pincer grasp.
How Can I Encourage My Baby?
Give your baby safe areas to practice moving and many chances to move. Limit the
time your baby spends in strollers, cribs, and other equipment that restricts movement.
Put a favorite toy out of reach, and encourage your baby to move toward the desired
Encourage walking by letting your baby cruise along the furniture (remove or pad
furniture with sharp edges), or hold your baby's hands while he or she practices.
Walking toys with a bar that extends to about chest height on a baby and is attached
to a stable, weighted base with wheels also can help your baby practice. The baby
holds the bar for support and pushes the toy for movement. You'll need to supervise
this, of course, and make sure stairs are blocked off.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Normal child development tends to follow a certain pattern. The skills that babies
develop early serve as building blocks for future skills. Still, the time it takes
to develop these skills can vary widely among kids.
Let your doctor know if your child does not:
crawl, creep, or scoot around
stand when supported
use both sides of his or her body equally
seem to have good control of his or her hands
Not reaching individual milestones doesn't necessarily mean there is a problem.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your baby's development.