You’ve anxiously been waiting for this day since your very first contraction. Your baby seems to be lifting himself up excitedly and becoming more interested in the world, and you know that it will only be a few hours until he builds up the strength and coordination to crawl by himself. You’ve been the best mom you could be for the past six months and the house is baby-proofed in preparation. You rush for the camera, grab your husband and your baby finally is up and crawling – backwards.

Confused, you call the pediatrician hoping your baby’s brain isn’t in his head backwards, but your doctor will reassure you that this is perfectly normal. It’s actually just a sign that your baby’s arms are stronger than his legs. When he started moving, he probably realized that moving his arms was easier, so he started scooting his backside behind him to get around. Any movement at all is a great sign because it means that your baby is developing further, so crawling backwards is just as good of an indication as crawling forward would be.

Your baby might start crawling forward on his own when he realizes that his back legs have grown stronger, but he might need encouragement. You should try strengthening his legs by holding him up and allowing him to “stand” with your help. You should also put his favorite toy or snack just ahead of him when he’s moving around so that he wants to move forward and get it. Though he might be frustrated momentarily, he probably will stop crawling backwards entirely once he realizes how much better moving forward is.

Some babies never crawl forward before they learn to walk. In fact, some babies never crawl at all. No matter how your baby is moving around, the most important thing is that he is moving in general. If your baby reaches ten months and still hasn’t started crawling or at least scooting in different directions to explore, you should certainly let his pediatrician know because it could be a sign of a developmental delay. Babies that crawl backwards are simply being energy-efficient. Instead of taking the time to work on moving their back legs steadily, they are cutting right to the chase and getting where they need to go the only way they can. Even if your baby is moving backwards, you’ll still need to baby-proof.

Source: Tanya Remer Altmann: The Wonder Years: Helping your Baby and Young Child Successfully Negotiate the Major Developmental Milestones. American Academy of Pediatrics. 2008

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