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Home Wellness Articles Moving and Learning Baby Crawling: How Important It Really Is - Page 2

Baby Crawling: How Important It Really Is - Page 2

Written by Bernardo R. Sañudo Diez, DC   
Monday, 01 December 2008 00:00
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The body of the baby must remain in equilibrium and advance in an orderly and organized fashion. The axis that it is formed between the joints of the hips and shoulders should rotate opposite to each other while the baby crawls causing some torsion in the baby’s spine. This torsion will tonify and model the structures of the spinal column, preparing them for an erect posture when the baby starts to walk. The curvatures of the spine, especially the ones at the neck and lower back area, will start to form, setting the basis for the correct spinal model which will accommodate for a proper spinal function and posture. This is very important for the chiropractic doctor because it sets the beginning of a healthy spine.

In addition, when the baby crawls, his body acts against the weight of gravity, developing his vestibular and propioceptive systems. Furthermore, when crawling, the baby touches different surfaces and textures and this will develop the sensibility of his palms and fingers, allowing him in the future to grasp and hold small objects such as a pencil or crayon to draw, write, or play a musical instrument. These two systems will be of utmost importance in his future neurological and cognitive development.

Another area where crawling is very important is the visual aspect of baby’s development. Crawling helps the baby measure the world that surrounds him; the distance between his eyes and his hand when he is in the crawling position will become fundamental in everything he does and will have an impact in his future development. This is called optical convergence, which helps us to know at what distance an object is located, its volume, and its size. It helps the baby to know how the distance from the sofa to the floor and if it is safe to go down face or feet first. This ability will be important in the future in order to clearly see things that are near, such as letters and pictures in a book, or things which are far away, such as words or drawings in the classroom and be able to accommodate far and near objects instantly. Knowing the distance and volume of objects will also help him with puzzles and brain-teasers and will also set the basis for reading and writing skills. So, binocular and stereoscopic vision, convergence, and accommodation will all be developed by crawling, which in due time helps the baby to solve problems, jump obstacles, and understand spatial relationships.

As stated earlier, crawling creates neurological connections which criss-cross between the right and left brain hemispheres; the more the baby crawls the faster these connections will interchange information. This process will transform the brain and produce the phenomenon of lateralization, in which one hemisphere becomes dominant in certain activities and skills. When you throw an object to a baby he will try to catch it with both hands because the information reaches both hemispheres at the same time. But in an older child, he will catch the toy with one hand or the other. His brain will decide which hand is closer or which hand is more skillful to perform the task.

A newborn infant has a crawling instinct right from birth, but babies will usually be ready to crawl between 8 and 10 months. There are different styles of crawling but most of them allow for simultaneously bearing weight on both arms and legs and alternating the movement of opposing extremities. All babies have their own rhythm and time. There is no use to compare the development of infants of the same age, but it is clear that babies without this experience almost always will have some degree of delay in the performance of skills explained before. Crawling is key in developing crucial brain activities and skills that will allow the baby to succeed and to relate to his world in a more complete and satisfying manner. We should stimulate this activity by giving the baby “floor time” every day: placing him belly down to strengthen his neck, arm, and back muscles and placing colorful objects in front of him to encourage forward movements. And always remember to cheer him and to transmit love and confidence.

Bernardo R. Sañudo Diez, DCAbout the Author:

Dr. Sañudo graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic, Iowa  and practices in Mexico city, Mexico, he has a general  chiropractic family practice. He holds many areas of interest in chiropractic such as rehabilitation, pediatrics, sports, spinal trauma and biomechanics.

Pathways Issue 20 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #20.

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