We frequently get this question from parents. Often young babies of 2-3 months may be seen bringing their legs up under their body and kicking them out behind when on their tummy, and their parents wonder if they will be crawling forward soon. In order to crawl on their hands and knees, babies need to master certain skills on their tummy first.
A baby will be able to bear weight on her hands with her elbows straight on her tummy and shift her weight to one side to reach with the opposite arm. She will also be able to shift her weight at her pelvis and lower body, bringing one of her hips up off the floor with the leg on that side bending up by her body. Once she masters that, she will be able to pivot in a circle on her tummy to get to toys. It is also the position that she will use to get on to her hands and knees from her tummy. You may see your baby pushing herself backwards on her tummy in an attempt to crawl forward toward a toy or pushing up into a plank position from her tummy. These are both signs that your baby is preparing herself for crawling. Many babies will start crawling forward with their tummy down before they crawl up on their hands and knees. Once she is up on her hands and knees, your baby will play with rocking in this position. At first, the rocking may not be very controlled, and she may may fall. With practice, she will be able to control these weight shifts better, and they will progress from simple back and forth rocking to more advanced side to side and diagonal rocking. She will be able to reach for toys from the hands and knees position. She will be able to get into the hands and knees position from her tummy and from sitting. Once she has mastered all of these things, she will be ready to take off crawling on her hands and knees!