Baby Bottom Shuffling – Is it Common?
As parents, your baby will cross numerous milestones while growing up, and one such milestone can be baby bottom shuffling. Well, if this term is new to you and you wish to know more about bottom shuffling in babies, we suggest that you take a look at this post. In this post, we shall be talking about bum shuffling, how you can manage this condition in your baby, and many other aspects related to the topic!
What Is Bottom Shuffling?
When your baby is all set to move around, he will make efforts to crawl, but some babies may prefer to move while sitting on their bums. When babies move on their bums, they make use of their arms and legs to propel their movement. It is often seen that babies who begin bottom shuffling usually skip crawling. Also, bum shuffling and late walking are closely related, which means if your baby is scooting on the bottom, then there can be a delay in walking. Usually, such babies begin walking around 18 months to 24 months.
Is Bum Shuffling Normal Among Babies?
Where some babies are fast in achieving various developmental milestones, others may skip them altogether or opt for variants, and bum shuffling may be one such variant. If you are thinking about how common bum shuffling is in babies, well, it is fairly common in babies. Though crawling is something that most parents expect their babies to begin with, as far as movement is concerned. However, it is surprisingly common for babies to opt for this alternative instead.
Why Do Some Infants Bottom Shuffle?
Though it is common for babies to scoot and not crawl, however, it is important to understand that there may be underlying reasons for the same. Following are some factors that may make babies do this:
1. Neurological Development
Here are some neurological factors:
- Infants or babies with low muscle tone may prefer bottom shuffling to crawling if they were not given ample tummy time.
- Sometimes traumatic births can hamper the primitive reflexes of the babies, which may put them at risk of impeded or delayed maturation. This may lead to bottom shuffling too.
- If your baby is born preterm, it may become difficult for the baby to come into the crawling position because he may have tighter hip muscles. Tighter hip muscles make it tricky to get the baby into the crawling position.
2. Environmental Causes
Sometimes, environmental factors may lead to bottom shuffling and the following are some environmental causes:
- If your baby spends more time on his back, he may find it difficult to creep or crawl.
- If there are carpets on the floor or there is a hard wooden floor, babies may find it difficult to crawl and may opt for bum shuffling.
- If your baby didn’t get ample tummy time and was assisted to sit instead, then he may find it difficult to crawl or creep and may opt for bottom shuffling.
What Are the Possible Complications of Bottom Shuffling?
Though there are no major complications that may affect your baby, the following are some drawbacks that you may notice:
- The baby misses out on the crawling experience, which is not only required for the strengthening of the arms and legs muscles but also helps the baby to move around on different kinds of surfaces such as grass, slopes, sand, slippery floors, etc.
- Usually, the bottom shuffling movement is very asymmetrical, more so if the infant sits with his leg twisted or with his one knee flexed. This may lead to tightness of the lower back muscles that can make the baby’s pelvis tilt on one side. Sometimes when the baby is resting, the leg may appear either turned outwards or look shorter than the other leg.
How Can Parents Help Their Children?
Before you begin helping your kid, it is important to understand that bum shuffling is very normal, and you can adopt various measures to help overcome the habit of your munchkin. Here are some ways in which parents can help their children:
- If the floor is hard or carpeted and the baby finds it difficult to walk, use knee pads for the baby. This will help the baby to be on his four without any discomfort and thus encourage him to crawl and creep.
- Help your baby to kneel using a step, as this will help strengthen the baby’s arms.
- Assist your baby in coming to a kneeling or crawling position from the sitting position.
- Indulge your baby in games that involve muscle toning and which also involve inhibiting primitive reflexes.
- Help your baby stimulate the joints and muscles by providing ample movement opportunities.
- Baby massages are also a great way of strengthening your baby’s muscles and joints.
- Whenever your baby begins bottom shuffling, shuffle his position and help him to crawl instead.
- Help your baby roll from side to side as this helps in hip area movement, and it also aids vestibular stimulation. If you wish, you can use a big ball, or you can do it on a mat too.
- When your baby begins to use one of his legs to bum shuffle, get him on his fours and start rocking him forward and backwards.
- If you are not able to make any changes to your baby’s movements to help him crawl, we suggest that you visit your doctor and get help. Osteopaths, chiropractors, and paediatric physiotherapists are some professionals who can help a great deal in altering your baby’s posture and assisting in his crawling.
When to Consult the Doctor?
Sometimes bum shuffling may remain the main choice of your baby’s movement until he starts walking. Do not worry or panic. The best you can do is help your kid get some crawling experience. Parents may sometimes fear because there are beliefs that bottom shuffling may lead to other complications. If you notice any of the below symptoms in your little one, it will be best to get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible:
- If your baby experiences any problems with hearing or vision.
- If you notice any bottom shuffling and developmental delays, which include motor, language or other skills.
- If your kid experiences difficulty in making movements with his legs or arms, or they may appear floppy or weak.
- If your kid is not able to place both feet flat on the floor or places one foot differently than the other.
- In case your kid loses his balance whenever he tries to stand, and he falls backwards or towards one side.
- If you notice your kid using one side of the body more than using the other side or your baby prefers to turn his head on one side only.
Sometimes the reasons for bum shuffling are very common, but sometimes there may be underlying complications like autism. Therefore, if you notice any such changes in your baby, you should get in touch with your doctor and get the required help.
1. Normal Variation In Development – Bottom Shuffling; Fife Health & Social Care Partnership; https://www.nhsfife.org/media/33208/nhs-fife-normal-variation-in-development-bottom-shuffling-2020.pdf, May 2020
2. Okai, Y., Nakata, T., Miura, K., Ohno, A., Wakako, R., et. al.; Shuffling babies and autism spectrum disorder; Brain Dev – PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32878720/, February 2021
3. Rebecca Shelton; Bottom Shuffling Babies; University Hospitals Dorset – NHS Foundation Trust; https://www.uhd.nhs.uk/uploads/about/docs/our_publications/patient_information_leaflets/Childrens_therapy/Bottom_shuffling_Babies.pdf, February 2021
4. Shuffling Babies: Babies who don’t crawl – Projects; Child Research Net; https://www.childresearch.net/projects/health/2016_01.html, July 2016
5. Okai, Y., Nakata, T., Miura, K., Ohno, A., et. al.; Shuffling babies and autism spectrum disorder; Brain and Development; https://www.brainanddevelopment.com/article/S0387-7604(20)30221-7/pdf, Fenruary 2021
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