During the latter part of your baby's first year, she will typically learn a new way to keep you on your toes: She will crawl. Whether she uses all fours, a booty-scoot, or drags herself commando-style using her elbows, her chosen method of motion will require attire that allows her body to use and develop all the muscles required for the next magical milestone -- walking. Put away those fussy dresses for a while because she needs freedom to move, learn and explore without getting hitched up, tangled or restricted.
1. Pants and Leggings
The most obvious choices for crawlers are pants or leggings. Comfortable cotton fabrics are always a good choice. Try to pick pants with elasticated waists that give with movement. Elasticated ankle cuffs are a great idea also and deter the pant legs from riding up as the crawler is on the move. You can also look for pants with reinforced knees to withstand the rigors of a life on the floor. Stretchy leggings are another good choice as they provide comfort and ease of movement. Just make sure they're not too small or tight as you don't want to restrict your crawler. Also, if you absolutely must see your little diva in a dress, you can opt for a very short one to avoid tangles -- and let her wear leggings or tights underneath to protect her knees.
2. Overalls and Rompers
All-in-one outfits, or "rompers" are a good bet for crawling babies. In a romper, your little one's diaper is covered and there are no tops or shirts to ride up his body. Pick more figure-hugging rompers to contain those quick little legs, as babies can get tangled in outfits that are too large or baggy. When dressing your crawler in overalls, be sure not to shorten the straps too much since they will force the overalls to ride up in the crotch area.
3. Leg Warmers
Lightweight leg warmers are also popular with the crawling set. These are actually just long, footless socks. Several companies manufacture them in funky designs and colors, but you can also make your own from a pair of adult knee socks. They should extend from your little one's ankles up to the tops of her chubby thighs. Teamed with a onesie, they're perfect for crawling because they enable your baby to move freely, while covering her dimpled knees and keeping her legs warm. You might also want to pair them with shorts and a tee.
While it's not entirely necessary to put socks or shoes on a crawling baby, sometimes it's the practical thing to do. Barefoot is typically best and most natural for crawlers, but there are times when it's just too cold for bare feet, or you want to protect those little toes from the outside world. Non-skid socks are often a good choice, especially if your little one is starting to pull himself up, as they provide a little traction while keeping his feet warm. Also consider the many varieties of soft leather booties designed to mimic bare feet. Or, you can go with a more traditional sneaker or shoe, but you don't want anything too clunky to impede your little one's crawling.
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