BABY'S GREAT ADVENTURE
BABY’S GREAT ADVENTURE. Moving, creeping, crawling, walking and running.
Baby’s Level 1 OMSDEP: Her mobility and movement intentions:
To move her arms and legs at birth.
To do Level 1 reflex crawling (as explained below) in preparation for Level 2 conscious crawling (as explained below).
Mobility is a technical term used by child care professionals and others to describe when children move themselves about by crawling, creeping, walking, running or dancing; that is, when they become mobile. When children have magnificent mobility they not only move but they can move gracefully and elegantly, quickly and slowly. Although magnificentchildren.love generally avoids using complicated technical language the term ‘mobility’ is sometimes used when it is the most suitable term to use.
Baby’s first mobility method is crawling, followed by creeping, cruising, walking and running. Each of these terms is explained below.
Movement is a crucial key to other development:
If, due to lack of time or for other reasons, parents are able to do only a very few magnificentchildren.love activities then the mobility development activities are the activities they should do with baby at Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4. The reason being that baby gains a great deal from these activities with comparatively little of parent’s time or effort being required.
Mobility is generally required for human survival and, when baby first begins to develop her mobility skills, her mobility helps to ‘switch on’ and ensure continuing development of the six senses. How the senses are ‘switched on’ is explained below.
As well as the fact that mobility development eventually allows baby to walk and run, it also provides considerable benefits for her tactile, balance and sight development and, to a lesser degree, benefits the development of her hearing and other senses. Also, from a parent’s point of view, the mobility development activities are very easy to do for the first few Levels, insofar as the basic requirement is to give baby the freedom to explore the floor; naturally. Even though the Level 1 and Level 2 crawling activities are so very simple baby’s entire life can be changed dramatically for the better, if she is helped to do only those simple activities.
The importance of crawling:
Crawling is one of several natural mobility activities. Crawling deserves a special introduction at this point because it is not only important as a foundation for baby’s future ability to walk, run, dance and do gymnastics but crawling is also a crucial key for developing the six senses and the ability to learn.
When she crawls baby also greatly increases the use of her six senses and this is a very important aspect of crawling and self-development. As she crawls baby physically feels everything she touches and, as a result, her brain grows and develops and she learns to know what she is touching. When she crawls her eyes see a variety of objects from far and near and from different perspectives and, depending on her environment, she probably also sees many changes in light intensity, colours and patterns. These visual effects, which occur when she crawls, also cause her brain to grow and develop, and she begins to learn about what she sees. Her brain also grows and develops as she learns about balance and other sense experiences when she crawls. Additionally, crawling creates exercise for most of baby’s joints, bones and muscles and the activity created by crawling positively shapes the present and future development of most of her joints, bones and muscles. For example, the femur bones in the thighs actually grind into and are shaped by, the hip sockets within which they must fit well for a lifetime. Baby’s senses and physical development can be severely delayed, perhaps for a lifetime, if she doesn’t crawl. Conversely, if baby lives in an environment that is conducive to crawling her sense development (particularly her touch, vision and balance) and her physical development is more likely to be excellent.
Many people treat crawling as something of little importance that baby will do before she learns to walk. The reality though, is that crawling plays a very, very important role in baby’s development. For that reason magnificentchildren.love parents are enthusiastic about helping their babies to begin crawling.
Crawling begins at birth:
Most children can crawl at the moment of birth. Many, many children do not crawl from the moment of birth because they are not given the opportunity to do so. Some mothers place their child on their thighs or hips at birth and allow their child to crawl up to the breast to feed. This practice was apparently common with Inuit natives in Alaska in the past. In Western medical practice it is common for parents or others present at the birth to lift baby to the breast for her first feed. It is also common in Western birthing procedures to tightly wrap the newborn child shortly after birth. She is then unable to crawl even if she wants to. In fact she is unlikely to be able to move her arms or legs due to the tight wrapping that is common in many hospitals using Western medical practices.
In a natural environment healthy newborn children begin crawling at birth and then usually become fully competent crawlers at between 3 to 6 months of age. For natural mobility development healthy children, (i) sleep and rest in the crawling position so they are able to begin crawling at any time, (ii) they are not wrapped so tightly that they are unable to crawl and, (iii) except for short periods, such as during car travel, they are not kept in small baskets, cradles or cribs that prevent them from crawling.
Research indicates that when children are allowed to develop naturally their crawling ability develops in the following way:
Level 1 crawling:
At birth children can crawl but they have little, if any, control over their crawling. Crawling at the time of birth is, in fact, a reflex action called Level 1 crawling. When she crawls at birth baby is on ‘automatic pilot’ and will continue to crawl until her ‘automatic pilot’ stops operating (which is usually up to about 2 meters of crawling at any one time).
The reflex point that causes baby to crawl is located on the soles of her feet. When anything touches the sole with sufficient light pressure the reflex causes both arms and legs to begin crawling actions until there is insufficient light pressure to activate the reflex action. Then baby stops crawling until the reflex point on the sole is again touched with sufficient light pressure to cause her to crawl again.
Baby’s Level 1(reflex) crawling usually lasts for about three to six months. Within the first few days of birth baby’s ability to reflex crawl usually begins to increase and then begins decreasing until, in about three to six months, she is unable to reflex crawl at all. At this time she might not crawl for perhaps one or two weeks.
Level 2 crawling:
At some time, usually between about three to six months of age, baby will begin to crawl in a way that is very different to Level 1 reflex crawling. When baby begins Level 2 crawling she is in control; she is the pilot. She is not on automatic pilot and she is not controlled by her reflexes. When she decides to crawl she crawls in the direction she wants to go and she crawls as far as she wants to crawl until she is too tired to go further or she discontinues for some other reason. Her Level 1 crawling reflex has no effect on her crawling once she has begun Level 2 crawling. When baby begins Level 2 crawling she might only move one millimetre the first time she crawls. She then begins to increase her daily crawling distance a little each day from a few millimetres to many meters. Level 2 crawling is dealt with at the next Level, Level 2. At this present level (Level 1) we will deal with Level 1 crawling.
Movement and crawling at Level 1:
At birth baby should be able to move her arms and legs. She might also crawl at birth, if she is given the opportunity, and if her Level 1 crawling reflex is stimulated.
When she first crawls at, or soon after her birth, she does so in a very automatic way as she is made to crawl by her own body reflexes. About three to six months later those body reflexes will no longer dominate and she will crawl by deciding to do so herself. You might also note a difference in her eyes between the two events. On the first occasion she is unlikely to pay any attention to you because she is on ‘automatic pilot’, and possibly has not yet developed the eyesight to see you. On the second occasion, three to six months later, she should be able to see you and, when she hears your joyous response as she crawls, you are likely to see a twinkle in her eyes as she looks towards you and acknowledges the joy you both share.
It is important to know that there are two different types of crawling as some parents can become concerned if their child crawls considerably for the first six weeks after birth and then begins to crawl less and less for the next three or four weeks before finally stopping altogether for a few days or even two weeks or longer.
The importance of Level 1 crawling:
When she crawls baby also greatly increases the use of her senses and this is a very important aspect of crawling and self-development. As she crawls baby physically feels everything she touches and, as a result, her brain grows and develops and she learns to know what she is touching. When she crawls her eyes are likely to experience many changes in light intensity which will stimulate her light reflex, cause her brain to grow and develop, and help to give her sight as explained in Level 1 of “EYES THAT SEE WELL; FULL COLOUR, DEPTH, BEAUTY AND MOVEMENT” (Chapter 6). Her brain also grows and develops as she learns about balance and other sense experiences when she crawls. Additionally, crawling creates exercise for most of baby’s joints, bones and muscles and the activity created by crawling positively shapes the present and future development of most of her joints, bones and muscles. For example, the femur bones in the thighs actually grind into and are shaped by, the hip sockets within which they must fit well for a lifetime. Baby’s senses and physical development can be severely delayed, perhaps for a lifetime, if she doesn’t crawl. Conversely, if baby lives in an environment that is conducive to crawling her sense development (particularly her touch, vision and balance) and her physical development is more likely to be magnificent.
Giving baby the opportunity to crawl:
To allow baby the opportunity to freely move her arms and legs and to do Level 1 reflex crawling whenever the opportunity arises, she needs to spend time in the crawling position. In most homes the ideal place to do this is on the floor. The floor should be clean and baby should be wearing appropriate clothes as described in the Activities section at the end of this Level. Every moment of the day when she is not being fed, cuddled, washed, nappy changed, danced with, taken shopping or supported in other necessary ways baby should be on the floor. And ideally her parent(s) should also be on the floor with her, to communicate with her, play with her, and to demonstrate to her that the floor is a fun place to be. By sharing the floor with baby, by all means comfortably with cushions, rugs and other requirements, you will be more a part of her world rather than being ‘you up there’ and ‘me down here’. Natural Parenting babies usually spend at least 8 hours or more on the floor each day until they begin to walk. Ideally baby will spend almost 24 hours sleeping and playing on the floor each day until she begins to walk.
Be exuberant about how much fun it is to be on the floor; and don’t ever complain about it even as humour, or baby might begin to think being up and being held is better. Remember also that baby is smarter than most people think and she wants to be just like you. From her point of view her parents are in charge of the world and able to go wherever they wish, and she wants to be like you. Baby pays a lot of attention to what you say and do and not just to your spoken words, but also to your body language and the tones, love or anger in your voice. There is more about this in Levels 1 to 7 of “ENJOYING SOUNDS, MUSIC AND LANGUAGES.”
It is particularly important that baby is spending time on the floor when she is ready to commence Level 2 crawling. She will then be able to commence Level 2 crawling immediately she is inspired to do so and a golden opportunity will not be lost. As stated earlier, crawling is very important in the development of not only mobility but of the senses. And, by ensuring that baby is given the best opportunity to develop her mobility and senses you ensure that she is given the best opportunity for a well developed life.
If baby is often picked up and carried she could begin to prefer being carried to crawling, just as some adults habitually prefer sitting, or driving, to walking or running. She might then begin to complain if she is not carried on demand. The more she is carried the less opportunity she has to crawl, and the longer she is likely to take to become a crawler, creeper, walker and runner, and the lower the quality of her crawling, creeping, walking and running could become. To become an excellent walker and eventually a runner almost always requires a lot of practice as a crawler (and, later, as a creeper on hands and knees). To get that practice baby needs to spend most of her time on the floor. Every time baby crawls she is a little closer to becoming an excellent walker and runner.
In a natural environment the ground level is not usually completely flat and there are likely to be at least some short downhill slopes which baby would be able to crawl down from time to time; if she was living in a natural environment. It is easier to crawl downhill than to crawl uphill or on the level. For this obvious reason many babies appreciate a little slope to crawl down when they are between about 3 to 6 months old. One solution is for baby to crawl down a gently sloping lawn. Even better is to peg a sheet of vinyl over the section of lawn, as this will be cleaner and provides a smoother surface for baby to crawl on. The difficulty with crawling outdoors every day is that cold, wet or hot weather sometimes stops the activity from taking place. To overcome the weather problem and the fact that most homes do not have a gentle downhill sloping floor on which baby can crawl magnificentchildren.love parents make a short indoor crawling slope, as pictured below. The crawling slope is useful to have soon after birth so it can also be used as a level sleeping, resting, crawling and playing surface as described below. The crawling slope is usually not used as a slope until a few days before baby moves into Level 2. That is, the slope is usually used as a slope when baby is about to begin to crawl by her own decision, but it can be used on the level before then.
When baby decides to crawl:
There is an old saying that every journey begins with the first step, but baby’s first journey will begin with something that appears insignificant to some parents and can pass unnoticed by them. Baby’s first journey can begin with a wriggle of her big toe, a shrug of her shoulders or a kick of her leg. At some time after she has completed her Level 1 crawling, and she is ready to commence Level 2 crawling, baby is going to move part of her body and then notice that this can cause the rest of her body to move. This is a major learning breakthrough for her. natural parents try to help baby learn that by moving parts of her body, especially her arms and legs, she can move forward. They encourage her to crawl by setting up opportunities for her to crawl; such as by placing her on a gently downhill sloping plywood crawling slope to help her move forward when she wiggles a toe, gives a kick or moves some other part of her body.
Using a gently sloping crawling slope made from a piece of smooth surfaced plywood baby’s first crawl might be for a distance of only 1mm, achieved by wriggling one toe. If the family cheer group responds enthusiastically she is likely to wriggle her toe again and move another millimetre or two. Further cheering is likely to encourage another wriggle and several more millimetres. By using a gently sloping surface in this way baby is given the opportunity to get more movement with less wriggle effort and she can learn from her experiences. Most children will learn quickly after a few successful wriggles produce a centimetre or two of movement and over a period of days or weeks will then usually learn to crawl using their whole arms and legs. Once she begins, then each day baby will likely crawl a little further than she did the previous day until she crawls off the sloping board and onto the floor.
Using the crawling slope:
Baby should be placed on the crawling slope ten times each day for no more than two minutes at a time. The ten times that she is placed on the crawling slope should be spaced out evenly throughout the day, say once each hour. Spacing the times out by roughly equal intervals throughout the day makes the experience more interesting for baby and allows her to gradually build up her knowledge about how movement of her body parts causes her to move down the slope, or across the floor. Two minutes is a maximum time for baby to spend on the crawling slope as more than two minutes may become boring for her or she could even see herself as failing to succeed if she does not move considerably and frequently.
Building the crawling slope:
Use a two meter length of board such as formwork ply (18mm thick and 1.2m wide) with a suitable surface (smooth but giving traction) and lift one end up with bricks or timber. New formwork ply usually has a suitable polished but gripable surface. If the surface of the timber you obtain is not smooth enough then floor or furniture covering vinyl can be glued to the surface or it can be painted with high gloss paint. There should be 70 mm high rails on each side of the crawling slope to prevent baby from falling off or she must be very closely supervised to ensure that she does not fall off. The crawling slope (with rails on each side) can also be used as a suitable surface for baby to sleep on as is described below. If the crawling slope is to be used for sleeping, and ideally it will be, then the ideal surface is vinyl stretched over carpet. The carpet is glued to the timber crawling slope surface and the vinyl is then stretched over it. The four edges of the stretched vinyl are also glued to the underside edges of the carpet and to the surface of the timber crawling slope. The advantage of the vinyl over carpet surface is that it is relatively warm to sleep on, provides good traction for baby to crawl on and it is a suitably smooth surface on which she can easily slide when crawling. This type of crawling slope is definitely the best of those mentioned.
Using the crawling slope:
The slope should never be more than 1 in 5. This means that if it is a 2 meter long board it should be no more than 400 mm high at the top end. If the slope is too steep baby could roll down it and may be frightened or hurt. Also ensure that she never turns sideways on the slope as this too could cause her to roll. Make sure the slope is not too steep for baby at any height and always stay within easy reach of her and closely supervise her when she is on the slope.
Start with the crawling slope having a slope of one in ten, that is, a 2 meter long board is raised 200 mm at the high end. Place baby on the crawling slope so her head is about 300 mm from the bottom, facing downwards, and start cheering her on. Adjust the slope of the board as required to best help baby to crawl. The ideal crawling slope is steep enough to help her learn to move while still requiring a little effort from her; moreso in the beginning than later on. Be very careful to closely observe baby and support her if she begins to slide or roll.
Becoming mobile is a wonderful achievement for baby as mobility brings a high level of independence and an opportunity for her to explore the world and to satisfy her almost insatiable desire for adventure, experience and knowledge.
If she is to develop well baby should be free to safely move about, unrestricted by clothing or cages such as cots and so-called playpens. She should not be tied down in ‘bouncers’ or other restrictive apparatus.
Later, from when she is about six months old, baby’s crawling usually provides an obvious indication to parents that she has her Own Magnificent Self-Development and Education Program. If given the freedom, she will use crawling to help herself to discover and investigate almost everything she can find. Because she is so adventurous at this time, baby’s Own Self-Development and Education Program is sometimes curtailed by well meaning adults who can severely restrict her movements by placing her into a play pen, cot or other small space. Two other reasons why parents sometimes restrict baby’s freedom to crawl before she reaches an age of three to six months is that firstly, they do not expect her to crawl and secondly, they do not realise how important crawling and the movement of her arms and legs is. For example, baby is quite possibly kept in a cot face up to the ceiling, or she may be tied into a bouncer. Or she may be laid on her back elsewhere, perhaps frustrated that she is unable to easily roll over to start crawling. Sometimes she may be wrapped tightly during cool weather to keep her warm and the tight wrapping will usually prevent her from moving her legs and/or arms. In most circumstances laying baby on her back will prevent her from crawling; as she is unlikely to be able to roll over into the crawling position. Also, babies who are almost always placed on their backs can become so conditioned to seeing their world from that position that they will complain if turned over to lay on their chests. Some gentle help and encouragement may be required for perhaps several hours until those babies become enthusiastic about the natural crawling position. Be sure that baby is on a suitable crawling surface if she is laying chest to the floor as explained below.
Natural Freedom is Best.
Tight wrapping and a restricted area in a cot or bouncer are not what baby needs at this time. Bouncers (and ‘walkers’ at a later stage) are anti-developmental and act to retard baby’s progress. She needs room to move her arms and legs, and to crawl, so that she can develop her crawling abilities. As explained previously, for about her first few months of life baby has a reflex action that is usually set off by pressure on the soles of her feet. If light pressure is applied to her feet then her arms and legs begin to move in a crawling motion. Obviously baby needs to be free to move and crawl when her crawling reflex is activated; that is what is natural in child development. Also, if baby is not in the natural chest down crawling position then the bottoms of her feet are probably less likely to touch surfaces that will cause the crawling reflex to be activated; thereby reducing her opportunities to practice crawling. Thick clothing and devices that prevent her from crawling should not be used unless they are essential for her protection. ‘Booties’, socks, shoes, wrapping or other ‘protective’ clothing that reduce baby’s opportunities to feel the floor with her feet, hands and arms should not be used unless essential. Obviously though, baby must be kept warm in cold weather, but methods other than thickly covering her feet, hands and arms are certainly preferable to help with her development.
The best position for baby to be in to practice crawling is with her chest to the floor (technically called the prone position), and she should wear a light well fitting short sleeved T-shirt. She should also be in a warm room on a clean floor or similar surface. Body temperature (about 37C or 98.6F) is the ideal air temperature for baby. The floor surface should be a smooth material such as polished timber or vinyl so she can easily slide along on her T-shirt covered chest. But the floor surface should also have enough traction (foot, arm and hand grip) so she can push herself along using her feet and pull herself along using her arms. She should have bare feet and not shoes, socks or ‘booties’, which usually obscure the required tactile (touch) information. She should also have bare arms. A short sleeved T-shirt allows her to get traction with her arms and to properly feel the floor surface while protecting her chest from injury.
Natural Sleeping Arrangements that Help Baby to Crawl:
On the floor:
A well cared for baby spends over 8 hours a day on the floor and she can sleep there quite comfortably providing she is warm and the surface is not too hard. (Babies can sleep quite comfortably on much harder surfaces than most adults prefer). Ideally baby spends almost 24 hours sleeping and playing on the floor each day until she begins to walk.
Magnificentchildren.love parents sleep with baby in their own bed or baby is placed on a level crawling track alongside their bed. The vinyl and carpet covered crawling slope described earlier, with about 70mm high rails on each side, is ideal to use for baby to sleep on. The track is then placed with a pillow at one end and a wall at the other so baby will not crawl off it during the night. Baby is placed at one end so she will be able to crawl to the wall if she commences crawling during the night. Crawling 1 or 2 meters during the night is quite common for babies. Many parents who use conventional cots sometimes find baby with her head pushed up against the end of the cot where she has stopped because she could not crawl any further. Babies commonly crawl during their sleep and immediately before and after they sleep. When parents sleep baby in their bed the bed is often reduced to a mattress placed on the floor with folded blankets or pillows placed on the floor around it, so baby does not have far to fall in the unlikely event that she crawls out of bed.
Separating a baby from the warmth and comfort of at least one parent soon after birth is unusual in the world of warm blooded animals, especially if only one baby is usually born at a time. Children, especially babies, are unlikely to benefit from separation from their parents at night and risk being physically or psychologically harmed by being isolated. Breast-feeding is also easier during the night if baby is in the same bed, or right alongside, and checking that baby is breathing, alive and well is also easier.
Books are available that describe sleeping with children and the associated risks (very few) and benefits (very many). Aletha Solter’s ‘The Aware Baby’ (ISBN 0961307307) is informative in this regard. The risks appear to be negligible for most children as parents do not apparently roll on and hurt their children and children apparently do not smother in a flat, firm bed with a reasonable number of covers.
Sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS, can be a risk to some children who are tightly wrapped, sleep face down on unsuitable surfaces, or who are prone to SIDS for other reasons. Check with your doctor that your child is not at risk of SIDS before being placed face down; most children are not at risk and will greatly benefit by having the opportunity to crawl. Children denied the opportunity to crawl by being kept on their backs will be developmentally delayed to at least some extent.
Restricting baby’s movement:
Many commercial products are produced which restrict baby’s movement. Some, such as cots and playpens, deliberately seek to restrict baby’s movement in order to protect her from harm, or to prevent her from interfering with adult activities. Some such as bouncers, walkers and swings are intended to provide enjoyment and development for baby. Others such as strollers and prams are intended to provide baby with a comfortable form of transport and to reduce the effort required by the parent taking her from one place to another.
Unfortunately most of these commercial innovations provide little if any support for baby’s OMSDEP or her mobility development, and they generally have the overall effect of preventing good development. Even though they are in common use the products mentioned usually prevent babies and toddlers from doing activities that are developmentally positive and in some cases the products cause negative development. It is therefore advisable not to use any of the products mentioned, or to at least use them only when it is essential to do so.
Some of the problems these products cause are:
Cots, playpens, bouncers, walkers, swings, strollers, prams, baby back packs and restrictive clothing all prevent baby from being able to move freely and develop her ability to crawl and creep. To put it briefly; baby is not able to develop naturally while using any of these products. Each of these products delays her development and she does not fully benefit from the huge developmental gains that crawling and creeping provide as explained in Levels 1, 2 and 3.
There is a tendency for children to develop scoliosis, a curved spine, when they sit in swings, or in a stroller, if they do not sit with a straight back. Young children usually do not sit with a straight back. In general, the longer and more often a child sits this way the greater the negative development that will occur.
Walkers are dangerous. Many children using walkers have been injured falling over steps and other drops. Walkers can also prevent proper hip socket development.
The ideal way to transport baby if she cannot crawl, creep or walk the distance, is for a parent to carry her on his or her hip with baby having one leg to the front of the parent’s body and one leg to the back. Baby’s legs are then free to swing and the ball joints and sockets are able to form and develop well. The next best carrying method is to use a snuggle pack on the parent’s chest and abdomen. Using a snuggle pack baby and parent can communicate well, baby’s legs can swing reasonably well, she can breast feed easily, parent’s arms are free to move and there is no need to carry, pack, care for or lift a pram or stroller. The swinging legs effect is comparatively negligible when laying or sitting in a pram or stroller. Also there are potentially positive psychological benefits for parent and child when baby is held closely while being carried. Backpacks are dangerous as babies can and do fall out of them.
If baby is strapped into a bouncer she lays on her back, unable to crawl and as explained in Levels 1, 2 and 3 her development is easily retarded as a result.
For a variety of reasons some parents will choose to use strollers or prams some of the time. It is important though to always minimise the use of strollers or prams, to attempt to carry baby whenever possible, and to place her down into a crawling position whenever it is safe and possible to do so. Stroller and pram use can become a habit and babies who can be carried on the hip or in a snuggle pack, and toddlers who can walk, are sometimes habitually placed in a stroller by parents in Western countries.
Activities for parents and babies:
A list of magnificentchildren.love activities follows. These are practical activities for children to do with their parent’s help. Magnificentchildren.love parents create the environment baby requires to complete her OMSDEP. In many cases, these activities are the environment required and, after commencement, promote baby’s excellent natural development.
The activity list sometimes includes extracts of preceding sections as well as new information. The list is intended for use as a day to day checklist for quick and easy reference but, to fully understand and participate in the activities, parents may need to re-read the entire Level, or other parts of this book, from time to time.
As mentioned previously Baby’s Great Adventure Mobility Development activities at Level 1 are among the simplest and easiest of all the magnificentchildren.love activities for parents and baby to do. Nevertheless, the simple act of placing baby in the crawling position on the floor for most hours of the day has a very significant effect on the overall development of her six senses, her intelligence, and her mobility skills. If parents are able to do only one magnificentchildren.love activity at Levels one, two and three then placing baby on the floor for at least 8 or more hours each day is the activity that will provide the most overall benefits for baby with comparatively little drain of parent’s energies.
Create an enjoyable, safe, clean and comfortable floor environment having a suitable surface for crawling.
Help baby to spend most hours of the day on the floor, and some hours either sleeping on her crawling slope or sleeping in her parent’s bed. Baby should be in the crawling position, (that is, with her chest to the floor). Stimulate her Level 1crawling by touching the soles of her feet ten times daily.
The floor surface should be polished timber, smooth tile, vinyl or another surface that baby can slide on but also get some grip on with the skin of her feet, legs, arms and hands. At this Level carpet is unsuitable as a floor or crawling slope surface as it causes too much drag for baby and requires too much effort for her to move.
Make a crawling slope and put baby on it ten times each day from when she is about three months old, or sooner if you wish, until she is able to consciously crawl one meter on a level floor. Read the information in Level 1 above to decide on how steep the slope should be and how to use it. The surface of the crawling slope should be timber, tile, vinyl or another suitable surface that baby can both slide on and get some grip on. Carpet is not a suitable surface except when it is covered with vinyl.
It could take baby until she is four, five or six months old before she makes the decision to crawl herself.
Sleep with baby near floor level. Read Aletha Solter’s book The Aware Baby for full details about sleeping with baby.
Be joyful when doing magnificentchildren.love activities with baby. Cheer her on and warmly, proudly, joyfully congratulate her for each achievement. No matter how insignificant the movement of a little toe and the 1 millimetre of crawling that might result seems to fully developed adults it is a highly significant move for baby and this and her other achievements deserve considerable congratulations.
Avoid putting baby into restrictive apparatus such as a bouncer, walker, swing, cot, playpen, backpack, tight or bulky clothes, or tight wrapping.
Read “LEVEL 2. BABY’S GREAT ADVENTURE. Baby’s ability to move and mobility development.” so you have a clear picture of where baby’s OMSDEP will take her and how you can support her along the way.
When baby is on the floor she needs to have the freedom to move about unrestricted by clothing. She also needs to have sufficient protection to avoid hurting her skin if she drags across the floor. Parents can judge for themselves what is the best clothing for their baby when she is on the floor but short pants and a T-shirt are usually suitable. These clothes usually allow baby to feel the floor and her motion with her skin while simultaneously providing protection and warmth where it is needed.
Some clothes that are unsuitable include; baby suits that have a skirt or bag at the bottom instead of legs, large nappies that lift baby up from the floor, and dresses or skirts. Many dresses and skirts easily trip up a crawler or get caught between baby’s legs and the floor and simply slide; this prevents a child from moving across the floor. Girls are greatly disadvantaged if they are given skirts to wear before they are walking, as skirts can, and often do, interfere with leg movement when crawling or creeping.
What baby should be doing at this Level of development:
At this Level 1 baby should be moving her arms and legs and doing Level 1 reflex crawling.
What baby should be doing as she enters the next Level of development:
Commencing Level 2 crawling; that is, making her first attempts to crawl by her own decision.
You will probably become aware of her first attempts to crawl by her own decision because she is likely to stop crawling reflexively for several days or even weeks before she attempts to crawl by her own decision.
When baby can do what is stated above then she has completed this Level of development and it is time to read the information, and begin the activities at the next Level of development. In this case baby has now completed BABY’S GREAT ADVENTURE LEVEL 1 and is ready to commence BABY’S GREAT ADVENTURE LEVEL 2.
When baby can do as above she graduates to Level 2 of Baby's Great Adventure. Click on the diploma below to move on to Level 2.
An average child is likely to move on to Level 2 at approximately age 6 months.
A Natural Parenting child could potentially move on to Level 2 at approximately age 3 to 4 months.