Baby on the move: Different crawling styles

Is your baby ready for crawling? Around 7-10 months most babies master the hand-and-knee crawling method, but others develop alternative styles of crawling that work well enough for them that they never progress to the traditional hand-and-knee crawling. Here are some types of crawling your baby can adopt.


Not all babies crawl in the traditional way- alternating hands and knees- some babies use their belly to move, others scoot on their bottoms using their hands to propel themselves forward, and some babies use one leg down in crawling position and the other foot in a standing position on the floor to move forward. But no matter what method your baby adopts, remember that the important thing is that he or she is showing a desire to move independently and explore his or her surroundings.


These are the different styles of crawling according to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics):

Classic hands-and-knees or cross crawl.

Your baby distributes her weight on her hands and knees, then moves one arm and the opposite knee forward at the same time. This is the most common type of crawling.

Bear crawl.

It looks like the classic crawl, but your baby keeps his or her elbows and knees straight, walking on hands and feet like a bear.

Belly or commando crawl.

Your baby moves his or her body forward while dragging his or her belly against the floor. This can be an efficient way of moving around but it will definitely result in dirty clothes!

Bottom scooter.

Your baby scoots around on his bottom using his arms to move himself forward. This type of crawling will never be as fast as the classic hands-and-knees crawl, but it gets the job done. Bottom scooters are also often babies who have really resisted tummy time.

Crab crawl.

Your baby will move backward or sideways like a crab, propelling herself with her hands. This type of crawling usually occurs when your baby is just learning to crawl. This phase usually doesn’t last longer than a week or two. 

Rolling crawl.

Your baby gets to his or her destination by rolling from one place to another. While not strictly crawling at all, some babies become so efficient at rolling that they never really develop the crawling stance because they simply roll over and over until they get to their destination.


Take in consideration that atypical crawling patterns do not necessarily indicate a problem, but asymmetry in crawling can be a red flag so if you have concerns about the way your baby is crawling, talk with your pediatrician or have your baby evaluated by a pediatric physical therapist.


If you’d like to learn more about crawling, visit our blog Crawling 101 or the following sites:


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