Rolling, belly crawling, getting into and out of sitting, creeping on hands & knees, kneel-sitting, pulling up to standing, cruising, bear-walking, walking, running, climbing . . . flying?
Each and every developmental milestone is important. Nature is smart that way–we can trust it! The milestones build the foundation for all the movement we do as adults, as well as our emotional and relational patterning. A baby’s comfort level in movement affects all aspects of her daily life.
- Establish a healthy lower back and hip/knee joints
- Develop balance, coordination, and learning habits
- Interweave with brain development
- Influence self-confidence, a feeling of security, and an ability to adjust to new people, locations, and experiences
- Affect the ability to modulate emotions and communicate effectively
And it’s not only about the movements! The quality of a baby’s movement has an effect on her sense of self and her means to get what she needs out in the world. Did you ever know anyone who is “pushy?” Or admire that person who seems to glide easily through life?
I often hear parents report that their doctors and books say creeping on hands and knees is not an important milestone. However, just because many babies do not creep does not mean it’s not important! (“Back to Sleep,” while important for reducing SIDS, has challenged babies in finding their way to each milestone.) Creeping is a key pattern. It entails a criss-crossing of movement through the body, which supports and teaches the criss-crossing of information between both sides of the brain. Research has shown creeping even to help children and adults at any age!
Let’s consider Baby’s future. Contrary to popular belief, movement challenges in infancy are not simply “grown out of.” Left un-addressed, they remain lurking in the body-mind, and can easily become problems in childhood or adulthood, such as back pain, hip or knee instability, behavioral difficulties, and learning challenges. What happens now will affect what happens later! Yet, it’s never too late. So if you yourself missed creeping . . . then what are you waiting for?!
© Elizabeth Parker 2011, All Rights Reserved
Hi Jill! Yes, indeed! This will often happen at other transitions as well. Evolution, perceptions, motivation, and the way the human nervous system is designed to build up step by step all propel the infant further along to new skills. So the drive to learn the new skill is there. At the same time, the new skill, while motivating, is not as familiar or easy and its neuro-muscular tracks are not yet “ingrained.” So there’s some amount of time spent exploring the new fun–but slower–skill; but when speed of attaining desired outcome is concerned, Baby will go back to the previous well-practiced way of doing things.
Also, one informs the other. Walking calls on the foundation built by crawling, and crawling naturally progresses to walking. A similar thing is useful to us when we’re learning to do something with “the other side.” It’s a dialogue!
Developmental milestones do happen in a “progression”; but they’re really more like overlapping waves. Thanks for your question!
I have noticed with my own kids and others that I have spent a lot of time with that when they first learn to walk, there is a tendency to also crawl a lot. There is a trial period of walking and then a return to crawling and back and forth. What are your thoughts on that transition?
Thanks for bringing that piece in, Gretchen. This also speaks to the perspective I hear a lot of “but Baby knows best.” Baby does know; but sometimes these things happen and he doesn’t make a conscious and informed choice to affect/skip his milestones.
Great information! One thought to consider is that misalignments of the spine from inutero or birth trauma may predispose babies to imbalance and weakness. This then effects them reaching the miles stones effectively.