Did you know there are several fun “milestones” between hands-and-knees crawling and walking? Really, development is an unending string of new reflex after new reflex, but popular perspectives tend to break it up into the major highlights. But then we loose the whole picture. Let’s put part of that picture back together again!
Babies who are not walked (and some that are) will typically discover most of the following movements. It’s both a progression–not necessarily in this exact order–and overlapping waves.
- Starting with crawling on hands and knees…
- “Pulling up” by stepping on one foot
- “Pulling up” by pulling with both arms
- “Pulling up” by pushing with both legs
- Cruising with two hands, side-stepping
- Opening outward with one hand/foot out while holding on with one hand
- Letting go to stand hands-free
- Squatting while holding on
- Standing from squatting, and squatting from standing, hands-free
- Toddling (like a penguin) while holding something in both hands
- Walking cross-laterally (forward-stepping)
- Running. Flying?
That’s a lot happening between crawling and walking that is not often talked about! All of these in-between movements prepare the lower back, hip joints, ankles, foot arches, and core support for being upright on two feet. They also support necessary brain connections and the ability to integrate the new sensory information and stimulation they’ll be taking in.
This is part of why babies will walk best if they are not “walked” by bigger people. Their bodies are attempting to put all of these important pieces into place, so walking them can interfere with this process and cause compensations that make the natural developing reflexes/movements more difficult or even inaccessible.
If you are concerned about developmental delays, professional support may be needed. Please follow your gut feelings if you have a concern and speak with someone who is familiar with the details of first-year development.
© Elizabeth Parker 2012, All Rights Reserved (Links are welcome. If you’d like to share my post in your blog or materials, please ask permission.)
Much of my work comes from Infant Developmental Movement Education®, part of the Body-Mind Centering® Approach to Somatic Education, and Dr. Aletha Solter’s Aware Parenting. I am a certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator®, Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner, Feldenkrais® Practitioner, and Spiritual Counselor.