Dear Helen, is it normal that my baby is still not crawling?

“Dear Harper family, is it normal that my baby, who is 9 months old already, is still not crawling? When I put her on her stomach, she started crying. It has been that way ever since she was born. As soon as I put her on her stomach, she starts crying and she makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be on her stomach. What should I do?”

Dear Mom,

The motor development of a child takes place according to a certain order and regularity.

While the age at which a particular motor activity is mastered can vary from child to child (e.g., some kids start walking sooner and some start later), the order of occurrence of these skills is universal.

This means that motor skills develop in the same order for each child (e.g., all children first master holding up their head and torso before sitting; all children master sitting and then walking, etc.).

The only motor skill that is not universal and does not occur in every child is crawling.

In fact, about 6% of children simply skip this phase, and instead of crawling, use other methods – rolling, relying on their stomachs, even crawling with the butt (known as a monkey crawl).

So, if your child of nine months is still not crawling, there is no need to worry or force this motor activity.

It is possible that this phase will soon appear (it usually occurs between the 7th and 9th month) or it will simply skip it.

What is important, however, is to make sure that the child’s development of motor skills is proper and in accordance with its age.

This can be determined through a detailed examination by a pediatrician.

During this period, it is mostly important that a child is able to explore its environment in its own way and that it is strengthening the body for walking.

Generally, by the ninth month the baby should be able to sit completely independently and without support.

It is possible that occasionally it loses stability, but it should be able to balance itself by relying on its hands.

Also, at this age, children begin using their legs and knees, making hopping movements, which is a preparatory action for crawling and straightening up, and finally walking.

Dear Helen, how to tell if my baby is sleeping correctly?

“Dear Harper family, can you help me with a dilemma – if a baby is sleeping on the same side can it create a dent in its head? I place my boy to sleep on his stomach, but he is already big and he turns around on his own, so he often wants to sleep on his back. Should I worry and listen to other moms who say that the head can flatten?”

Dear Mom,

A baby’s head can hardly flatten from the sleeping position, especially nowadays, when we are all maximally present in a baby’s life and fully follow their growth and development.

The problem can only arise if the baby has “soft” bones (rhinitis), which any pediatrician can recognize.

You just have to take your baby regularly to a clinic where they will be under expert supervision, and you don’t have to worry.

As for the sleeping position, babies quickly choose the position that suits them, and we are there to support them.

Dear Helen, how to tell if my baby is trying to attract our attention?

“Dear Harper Family, my son is 4 years old, and he is still not pronouncing words very well. Lately he has been inverting words even more than before. I wonder if the underlying reason is jealousy as we have another baby in the family – my sister-in-law’s baby. I am thinking this may be his way of trying to attract our attention?”

Dear Mom,

Any change in the behavior of a child requires inquiring for an underlying reason.

Sometimes, it may be helpful to observe the circumstances that change the child’s behavior, or what precedes it (what was said to whom and in what way, who else was present, etc.).

To determine whether this is indeed a case of jealousy, pay attention to whether the change in speech occurs only in situations when the other baby is present or when others are talking about the other baby.

What is the reaction of family members in the presence of the baby, (Is he neglected? Does he feel neglected?) and what are the reactions of the environment to his behavior in these situations.

If you find that this behavior is site specific (occurring only under these circumstances), it is probably a case of regressive behavior, which occurs as a reaction to the loss of the position that the child previously had, and the loss of attention it had received from adults.

These reactions, however, are quite common and normal for children of this age (and even older children).

What is important is to give him enough time to adapt to the new situation in which he must share the attention of the adults with a baby, and to keep letting him know how important he is to everyone and that his place in the family is not threatened.

Regressive behavior usually lasts only some time and withdraws when a child retrieves a sense of security and stability of its status.

However, it is important that this behavior is not encouraged by giving the child special attention in these situations, but rather you should indicate that his position is safe (you love him, he is important, etc.) in other circumstances (when he behaves as usual).

It is also very important that you never criticize him for regressive behavior, but emphasize the benefits of
being an older cousin (e.g., he is a big boy, and he can do many things that little babies can’t).

If, however, you find that it is not a site-specific behavior, it would certainly be useful (and necessary) to contact a speech specialist in order to determine the most effective ways of overcoming difficulties in speech.