Baby Crawling Backwards: Reasons & Helping Your Child to Crawl Forward

Baby Crawling Backwards – Do You Need to Worry?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
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Crawling is an important development milestone, and when you see your bundle of joy getting on her fours – ready to explore and exercise independence, you’re bound to be overjoyed. But your happiness may be short-lived if you notice her crawling backwards. Some infants could find it challenging to maintain balance and good posture while crawling and coordinating their limbs. But if you let them go at their own pace, they’ll eventually get the hang of it. If you notice her crawling backwards or using a single leg, you’re likely to worry and possibly think the worst, but should you be worried if she scoots backwards? Let’s find out!

Video: Baby Crawling Backwards – Do You Need to Worry?

When Does a Baby Start Crawling?

All babies develop and achieve milestones at their own pace, the same stands true for crawling too! Babies may start crawling at different times. Some may begin to crawl when they are just about 7 months old while others may take close to a year to begin any kind of movement. Their styles of crawling may vary as well. Some babies slide their entire bodies along the floor at times or combine crawling with rolling their body around. While the others crawl a bit and sit then, crawl a bit more and sit again. So if you were thinking that there’s an ideal crawling style your baby will adhere to, then that may not happen!

Is It Normal for a Baby to Crawl Backwards?

With all the unique and unusual styles of moving around that babies tend to adopt if your baby is one of those who has learnt to crawl backwards, you’re likely to worry since crawling backwards is not common. But put your mind to rest, as it is not a sign of any disorder. Many babies tend to crawl in such a manner before understanding the proper way of doing it and it’s alright. Crawling backwards is easier than crawling ahead, so most babies opt for the former. If a baby feels her arms are stronger than her legs, she may scoot backwards. And it’s perfectly normal; you don’t need to worry. With time, your little one will learn to crawl in the right manner.

Why Do Babies Crawl Backwards?

Why Do Babies Crawl Backwards?

Many doctors and paediatricians focus on the crawling aspect of a child. This is when a baby starts becoming aware of how her limbs function and how to use them together in coordination. The aspect of crawling is a strong sign of a baby’s motor skills being developed in an appropriate manner. But it isn’t as simple as it seems, as the baby takes her time to put it all together. And this could result in a backward crawling style. Here are some possible reasons why a baby may start crawling backwards:

  • As your baby grows, you might have observed her using her arms more as she learns to support herself. This dependency on the arms tends to result in a crawling style that makes use of the arms the most. This strength of the arms manifests in the form of pushing instead of pulling ahead, which results in a backward movement.
  • Many mothers do undertake the exercises of letting their babies rest on the tummy and encouraging them to use their arms to lift themselves up as well as support their necks. This ends up in the upper body developing the strength that’s needed, and the baby knows that as well. Therefore, the initial crawling generally starts depending on the upper body instead of the legs.
  • Since all the strength is primarily focused on the upper part of the torso, your baby might need some time to understand the mechanics of crawling and start pushing her body ahead with her legs. The backward movement might also be quite good, getting her to reach the point she wants. But sooner or later, she might realise the necessity and benefits of crawling forward as her legs become stronger.

How Long Will Your Baby Crawl Backwards?

Up until the age of three months, infants lie on their backs. Then, they grow specific reflexes that allow them to flip from front to back. This is your baby’s first phase as they prepare to start crawling forward or backwards. At about four months of age, babies start to develop this reaction.  

How to Help Your Infant Crawl Forward?

Most babies learn to crawl forward by themselves or sometimes they may directly switch to walking. But if you want to help your baby learn the right way of crawling, there are a few indirect ways you can try.

1. Turn It Into a Game

Play a game of catch and chase with your child as you spend time with her. When the baby attempts to crawl away speedily from you or comes to catch you, she will realise the necessity of using her legs and may attempt to crawl forward.

2. Exercise the Right Way

Babies function a lot in muscle memory. Which is why, once they start learning to crawl backwards, they will continue to do so. Therefore, every time you place your baby down and play with her, use her arms and legs to teach her the right way to crawl to give her a hint.

3. Repeat the Tummy Time

Remember those exercises you would put your baby through in the initial months of her life? Repeat them again and try to show her how to use the legs properly to support her body as well.

4. Use Toys

Guide your baby’s attention with some toys that make noise. If not the noise, the sight of the toy could make her want to grab it and learn how to push herself forward to get it.

A baby playing with toys

5. Use Temptations

Avoid doing this if your baby is extremely hungry. But just before her feeding time or by using her teething biscuits, you can place them before her and ask her to grab them. She will realize the limitations of moving backwards and figure out ways to push herself ahead.

6. Resist and Push

Do not come in the way when your baby is crawling. However, you can place your hand behind your baby’s feet or her bottom to act as a resistance. When your baby attempts to crawl, she might end up moving forward, surprising herself and giving her the hint to move forward.

7. Let Her Watch and Learn

Babies learn a lot by observing their parents. If your baby is sitting upright and playing with her toys, get down on your fours and crawl in front of her. Crawl forward and backwards so that she knows there is more than one way to do it.


1. Does Asymmetrical Crawling of Baby Mean Autism?

Asymmetrical crawling may appear in young children with autism. It should not be used as the only symptom to diagnose autism, though. 

2. What Are the Crawling Stages of a Baby?

Babies go through various stages of crawling before they begin to move forward with ease. They may consist of the following:

  • Keeping their head while lying on their stomach.
  • Pushing themselves up with their hands and elbows.
  • Infants almost begin to crawl while using their limbs to support their body weight.
  • Finally, preparing to crawl by creeping or dragging their body forward with their hands and legs.

3. Are There Any Developmental Concerns Associated With Backward Crawling?

If a baby crawls backwards at first, this is usually not a problem unless it continues and prevents the development of other critical motor skills, including crawling forward.

4. Can Babies Still Learn to Walk Normally If Crawl Backward?

Yes. Infants that crawl backwards eventually learn to walk correctly because both types of crawling help them develop better posture, keep their balance, and build stronger muscles.

5. Is There Any Difference in Cognitive Development Between the Babies Who Crawl Backward and Forward?

The cognitive development of baby crawling backwards vs those who crawl forwards is the same.

Learning to crawl is not an easy thing for a baby. When you try to get your baby to crawl forward, it might be met with resistance, bouts of crying, and frustration on your baby’s part since she has to relearn the entire process. Don’t force her to crawl if she is not ready for it and let her figure it out on her own, or skip to walking if she feels like it.

 Also Read: Rolling Over: Developmental Milestone in Infants

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