He is crawling most of the time 'in the right direction', but sometimes he crawls backwards. Otherwise, his movement development seems to be fine; he is almost able to walk. Could it mean that there are some mental issues?

  • It's often helpful to discuss a parent concern with the child's primary care provider, if you can. Jan 23, 2022 at 19:08
  • Maybe he's just experimenting with variations: hey, this works for going backwards too! Mar 2, 2022 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


This is super common. It’s actually easier to go backwards than forwards for some kids, if they're using their arms primarily instead of their legs - pushing is easier than pulling, right? It’s very common for kids to go through a phase of crawling where they go backwards. One of my kids did, one didn’t - that one didn’t really crawl at all though.

For example, this article supports that for some babies, crawling backwards is easier because they push with their arms:

As your baby grows, you might have observed her using her arms a lot more as she learnt 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.

Of course, as they work out the mechanics of using their legs, those will become the stronger muscles - but it's hard to coordinate those actions, and they have to learn to do so.

This article gives some suggestions for how to work with the baby:

As they get stronger they usually learn how to coordinate moving forwards. If your baby doesn’t learn to crawl forwards you can try blocking their feet with your hands so that they have something to push off and propel themselves forwards. You can also place large cushions on the floor and toys on top, as this will encourage them to crawl up onto it. It is also easier to go forwards once they get on their knees up onto the cushion.

  • For legs, going forward is pushing. The gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the body (and perhaps strongest given its size) extends the hip, i.e. gets you up off a chair, or up the stairs, or off to a quick start in a race, or helps you run, or in babies, crawl. Crawling backwards for short periods isn't uncommon at all, but not for the reason you gave. Jan 20, 2022 at 15:58
  • @anongoodnurse hmm, that makes sense… but for the baby I saw doing this it seemed like they were pushing with their arms and not using the legs so much.
    – Joe
    Jan 20, 2022 at 16:03
  • @anongoodnurse Pulled in some references to support.
    – Joe
    Jan 20, 2022 at 16:26
  • 1
    Good references! I agree that initially pushing is easy. To turn over, they not only use their torso and legs, they also push with their arms. Development in animals is largely arms/forelegs first, legs/hindlegs next (an extreme example is marsupials), but legs are bigger and stronger (again, think marsupials), so the arms are mostly used to push to the upright position and stay there while the legs - pushing - propel them forward. They extend their arms to keep from nosediving (which is also common). When their arms tire, they sit back to avoid nosediving. Jan 21, 2022 at 3:24
  • Cam confirm about the backwards crawling. My 8mo has been rather quick on arm motor skills and slower on leg skills, and he ends up pushing himself backwards. He's starting to go forwards now using the army crawl (looks like crawl swimming), but still not getting the legs to cooperate.
    – Flater
    Mar 9, 2022 at 22:41

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