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Baby Milestones: Sitting, Rolling, Crawling And Walking

At around two months your baby is working very hard at trying to control his head.

This is an important skill to develop in preparation for sitting up, rolling over, crawling and later walking.

Sitting

Head control along with development of back, neck and tummy muscles will help your baby sit up and around at 4-6 months your baby will be able to sit up with support and reach his arms and hands to grasp toys. To help your baby develop the skills needed for sitting, encourage your baby to participate in ‘Tummy Time'.

At around 4-6 months, your baby will have developed good control of his head, reaching and grasping will have become purposeful and he will be learning to sit upright.

By the end of 6 months your baby may be learning to roll over. Between 4 to 6 months, your baby’s primitive reflexes disappear, allowing your baby to have more control over his body movements, thus the movements become purposeful.

Your baby will also begin to discover what fun his mouth is and all objects will be put in his mouth to explore. This is not necessarily a sign your baby is hungry or teething, it's just his way of learning about his world through his mouth as he explores shapes and textures.

When your baby begins to sit up with support, encourage him to sit on the floor. You will notice he will lean forward on his hands as his back muscles are not yet strong enough.

However, with practice and encouragement, your baby might be able to sit up unsupported for brief moments by 6 months. Your baby will also now begin to use his hands to explore as he will reach for and grasp at toys which are placed close to him on the floor.

When your baby is placed on his tummy he will begin to push up on his arms. When toys are placed close to him he will try to reach out to them causing him to collapse over onto his back. This begins accidentally and as he practices and engages in ‘Tummy Time’, he will become more proficient and purposeful at rolling onto his back.

Rolling

By 6 months your baby should be able to roll from tummy onto back. During this period it is really important to encourage your baby’s motor development by allowing him to engage in different positions.

Spending play time on a mat on the floor, supervised at all times, will help him develop his motor skills. Try not to let your baby spend long periods of time sitting in his buggy or car seat.

Crawling

From 6 to 9 months, your baby will be working very hard at developing his tummy muscles to help him sit unsupported and to crawl. When your baby is lying on his back he will play with his feet and lift his head to look at his feet.

This is important for developing tummy muscles. As your baby masters the ability to sit unsupported, he will be able to sit up from a lying position and go from a sitting position to a lying position on the floor.

Your baby will also now have the freedom to play with toys when sitting on the floor. As your baby practices these skills, he is developing the skills needed for crawling. When your baby does manage to get up onto all fours, he will spend time rocking back and forth on all fours.

The next step in crawling is moving backwards on all fours. If you think your baby is having difficulty crawling, you can help by giving your baby lots of ‘Tummy Time’. Also, strip your baby down to vest and nappy as clothes such as baby suits, tights, trousers etc are all very restrictive around your baby’s pelvis, hips and knees and can impede your baby’s crawling.

When your baby does take off crawling, encourage him to crawl over different surfaces, such as carpet and tile, to develop your baby’s sense of touch. Whilst some babies do not crawl, going straight into standing, missing the crawling stage can be an indicator of latter difficulties.

So if your baby does not crawl, it is not a sign your baby is really intelligent by skipping a milestone, rather you should encourage your baby to spend time on the floor developing the skills for crawling.

Walking

From 9 to 12 months, your baby will begin to pull himself up into a standing position. Any piece of furniture will become a place for your baby to try pulling up into standing. Once your baby has mastered standing, it won’t be long before he is rocking on his legs holding onto the furniture, then he will attempt to side step around the furniture before taking his first steps.

Some babies begin walking at nine months while others begin walking at 16 months. The most important thing is that your baby develops and masters all the skills needed for walking.

If you are in any way concerned about your baby’s development or progress, do speak to your healthcare professional. Often, reassurance is all that is needed and if there are signs your baby is having difficulty it is much better to take action at a younger age than waiting until your baby is older.

When seeking advice, always check to your therapist is validated by the Department of Health. This will ensure the advice and recommendation you are given are correct and in no way misleading.

Any questions? Leave a comment below.

About the Author

Fiona O’Farrell is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, specialising in baby development, premature babies and is an experienced sleep consultant, validated by the department of health. For information on workshops and sleep consultations visit fionaofarrell.ie or Facebook. Call Fiona on 0879144323

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