Army "Low" Crawling 8 1/2 Month Old?

Updated on June 08, 2010
B.S. asks from Wahiawa, HI
38 answers

My son doesn't crawl in a normal manner. Instead he uses one leg and his arms and scoots around on his belly? He uses both of his legs during other activities but for some reason he's adopted this style of movement and I want to know if this is normal? I'm concerned because both my sister and my brother had to go through crawling therapy to correct their reading skills. Neither of them could read well because they hadn't developed proper hand and eye coordination. I was told that crawling is vital for this development, and I don't want my son suffering through school like my siblings? Any thoughts?

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D.J.

answers from Seattle on

I have never heard of that, but here is my thoughts. There is no point trying to correct his crawling just because you can't really do much about it. But there are plenty of eye and hand coordination toys out there, just stock on that. Now you made me worry, because my son actually never crawled at all. But on the other hand he has a play station and quite few games and even there is a strict game limit time he is very good (better than daddy). He also plays kids games on the PC and he is very good too. He can't read but he knows all the important words and he doesn't need help with the instructions. To play a game with him I need to read the instructions and he doesn't, he just knows what to do and "spots" the options. I might expand the game time now... Good luck!

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J.R.

answers from Seattle on

All babies develop their own method of crawling and they do it in their own time. Let him get around however he is able to do so...and before you know it, he will be walking!

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S.C.

answers from Seattle on

LOL. MY now 2 yr old did the "spiderman" crawl. She would go all over the house like that. Hubby had the bright idea of trying it and made it half way down the hall before his muscles protested. It is perfectly normal.

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D.H.

answers from Portland on

Don't worry. Babies learn to crawl and walk in all sorts of different ways, including this technique! If it's clear to you that his limbs are generally functioning normally, then don't worry.

As far as the connection between "normal" crawling and reading skills -- well, yes, there does seem to be evidence that babies who crawl for a long time do seem to develop the part of the brain that helps with reading. However, I am not aware of any way that you can actually "make" them crawl the right way, to develop this connection to reading.

Instead, I suggest you focus on positive encouragement and acceptance of the way your baby is developing, plus make sure you are reading to him a lot. Strong self-esteem and early exposure to books and literacy are sure to help him succeed in the future.

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

B.,

I wouldn't worry at all about it. Many many many children do a low crawl before they get up to their hands an knees. Some never get up to their hands an knees. My dad has pictures and stories of me crawling on 1 hand, 1 elbow, 1 knee, and 1 hip. I never crawled on hands and knees, and reading is one of my favorite things to do. My comprehension has always been grades ahead of my actual grade, i.e. in 7th grade I was charted at a freshman in college comprehension level.

I wouldn't worry at all as long as he's hitting his other milestones.

Hope this helps,
M.

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A.E.

answers from Seattle on

My youngest just turned one on June 16. When he was 9 months, he started the army low crawl. He would lay on his belly and pull with one arm and push with one leg.

He crawled around low crawl style for about 3 months. A few days after his first birthday, he stopped the low crawl and started crawling on his hands and knees.

Don't worry about your son! Give him some time. We mothers always worry first, but most of the time if we just wait and give it time, it works itself out in the end. Then we see we had nothing to worry about. :)

Enjoy watching your baby as he grows . . . they grow up so fast!

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M.D.

answers from Seattle on

Hi Bonnie,
Sounds like you've recieved a lot of comforting and good advice. The only thing I'd like to add is that you do have a valid concern w/the family history. However, all is not lost at this early stage. If your son does go from from combat crawl to walking, it's ok. The benefits of crawling can be made up. You've been given some good ideas so far, others I would suggest include swinging on the monkey bars as he gets older.

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K.W.

answers from Seattle on

Hi B.,

My son, who is now 16, did what I always called the "jungle crawl," never did actually learn to crawl the "right" way, and he has always been a straight A/B student in all subjects. In fact, his WASL scores for reading were above average and always have been. He will be an AP English student next year. My daughters(17 and 9), who crawled normally, are exceptional readers also.

I tried teaching him to crawl the right way, even by getting on my hands and knees and showing him, and it just made him angry when I tried to force him to do it another way. Even his older sister, who's 17 mos. older, tried to show him, and despite the fact he wanted to do everything she did, he wouldn't mimic her in that.

I don't think that there is lot of correlation between type of crawling(or crawling at all) and better reading skills. I think better reading skills are learned through practice, quality time spent reading, first you to your child, and then exchange reading, where you read then they read to you.

Hand/eye coordination can be learned in a variety of ways. Block play, sorting toy play, and puzzles, drawing and coloring, writing, and later, even though you don't want them addicted, video games also teach hand/eye coordination. So, crawling isn't the only way that can be mastered.

By no means am I an expert, I'm just a mom of 3 kids, but like I said, my son never properly crawled, my daughters did, and they are all great readers because it's something we always practiced, stressed, and did together, and because they enjoyed it.

Bottom line, I wouldn't worry if I were you. As long as your baby is on cue developmentally in every other way, he should do fine even if he never crawls.

Have fun with your little man, and enjoy the time he spends on the floor. Pretty soon, he'll be up on his feet and into *everything*! :o)

K. W

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L.G.

answers from Eugene on

My second child crawled this way, then went straight to walking. He never did crawl on all fours. He became my best reader, still reads voraciously, has a masters in education and teacher history at a high school. None of my other four "crawlers" read as well as he did.

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L.D.

answers from Eugene on

My daughter did the same thing for months and eventually she started crawling on all fours, now at 14 months she walks just fine. My brother never crawled on all fours and he turned out just fine. I wouldn't worry.

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A.C.

answers from Eugene on

Have you spoken to your Pediatrician yet. That would be my first suggestion. He will be able to make any suggestions as to what to do if you do need to do anything. I think all kids are different and crawl at different stages and different ways. My son used to crab walk. He didnt like his knees touching the ground. Good Luck

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S.S.

answers from Portland on

Set your mind at ease. I have only had one of my four that actually crawled. My others all did that army crawl thing. My oldest that did the least army crawling even will be in the 3rd grade this fall and is reading at the 5th grade level. Limiting TV time and encouraging lots of book reading is the more important thing to help their reading level. God bless!

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K.M.

answers from Seattle on

I wouldn't worry too much about his not crawling. My mom was told that if I didn't crawl I would never read. Well, I NEVER crawled - I scooted on my bottom and pulled myself along with my ankles. However, I was always one of the best readers in my class. There isn't too much that you can do to "make" your child crawl anyway, so I would focus on reading to him on a regular basis to help develop a lifelong love of books.

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C.G.

answers from Seattle on

My now 16 month old did the same thing! She didn't walk until she was 14 months either. She has great hand-eye coordination, can pick up the smallest things. Some kids just don't crawl the typical way. She does now once in a while, & we don' ever see the army crawl she used to do!

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N.P.

answers from Seattle on

It's normal to crawl like that. It's okay! Also, crawling is not considered a necessary milestone. some babies never crawl and they are okay! My daughter did the crawl you are describing. I think it's called the military crawl or something similar to that. I think it was the only way she could figure out how to move her body. Then one day we were out with a few other babies that were crawling the 'normal' way, and sure enough, she started crawling the 'normal' way later that day or the next. I think she just hadn't figured it out until she saw other babies doing it.

If you have any concerns or questions, you should call your pediatrician. They will answer any questions you may have and will reassure you that it's normal and quite okay to crawl like that.

Good luck.

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J.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I have read through a number of the responses below and it appears that a majority of the responses are not addressing your question. Reading comprehension as it relates to crawling has nothing to do with other neuro/physio milestones. A child that crawls or doesn't crawl will ultimately walk. I don't believe that this is your question. Crawl therapy has to do with crawling in a specific sequence. Other activities that promote or require hand to eye coordination do not replace the neural connections in the brain made by "conventional" crawling. This is why crawl therapy was implemented instead of having adults play video games in order to promote better hand to eye coordination. This is what I would do with a child that only army crawled: If the child goes from army crawling to walking without passing through the "conventional" crawling stage then I would knock my child back to the ground (playing on the ground with the child, if necessary, to show how cool it is to remain on the floor a little longer) and encourage more crawling time before moving to the walking phase of development.

My wife and I are now merging our two families and we have a child that has comprehension issues. She can read the words and excels in other areas but not in comprehension. We are trying to figure out what to do as she now enters 7th grade but is reading at several levels below. Not so coincidentally, she is the one child out of our 6 that didn't crawl as a baby.

Now, with all of that said, there is tremendous individuality with people. If a love of reading is not instilled at a young age, if vocabulary is not developed, and if time is not set aside to read then even a child that crawled may struggle with both reading and comprehension. I would recommend that you periodically assess your child and see how he/she is coming along. Fortunately this is one issue that can be resolved if caught early enough...and by early enough, I mean no earlier than 2nd or 3rd grade on.

Hope this helps.

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W.C.

answers from Seattle on

It might be early days to be concerned, but if you want these are some of the things you can do:

Take him swimming and make sure he uses both legs to kick with. Put him in a bouncing swing or chair, and make sure he uses both legs to bounce with. When he crawls spend five minutes in the morning (when he's happy and rested) making sure he crawls correctly. Later you can make the time longer. Have him stand on your legs or stomach on one leg and then the other.

W.

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A.S.

answers from Eugene on

I agree with getting him checked out by a developmental movement specialist, if you aren't able to help him yourself. You can crawl with him, help show him (by touching him) how to crawl, make it a fun game. You can also do crosscrawling kinds of games on his back, moving his arms and legs.

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K.M.

answers from Seattle on

NORMAL. My son did the Army Crawl forever then suddenly started crawling and then on to walking. My daughter did the butt-scoot and turn for a while, crawled backwards a couple of times, crawled normally for a few months, then just stood and walked.

If you are truly concerned, model the crawl with him. Show him different ways to crawl and challenge him to do what you are doing. Visit a therapist if you have true concerns (failing to reach many other milestones), otherwise, he'll figure it out. Best of luck!

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N.M.

answers from Portland on

Don't be too concerned. Babies all crawl differently and at different stages. Both of my kids were pretty "normal" crawlers. But I have neices and nephews who were typical crawlers. One never ever crawled just butt scooted across the floor, another did the army crawl and graduated to normal crawling, another only army crawled and then went straight to walking. One of my nephews only crawled backward never forward. They are bright, smart, fabulous kids ranging in ages from 8 to almost 14.

Congratulations on your little one!!

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S.S.

answers from Eugene on

Hi Bonnie,

My daughter did the Army crawl too. She only crawled on her hands and knees for about a month before she started walking. It was so funny to watch her do the army crawl, but she could keep up with the others. She is now going into 3rd grade is an excellent student. She is towards the top of her class in her school work. What we did, was just kept a close eye on her throughout her development and asked for help if we thought it was needed. She was in the SMART reading program at school during kindergarten and we always read to her at home as much as we could.

I think that if you keep a close eye on him and worked with him, that he will be just fine.

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S.S.

answers from Pensacola on

The army crawl is very normal! One of my daughters and several of my friends kids did it and they have turned out just fine, no devolpmental problems at all!

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F.G.

answers from Anchorage on

I have heard of plenty of children not crawling or doing army crawls and turning out just fine. Every child developes their own way of getting around. My husband for example never crawled he rolled around to get where he wanted to go and he turned out just fine. And my son does something similar to what you described your son doing. Instead he is on 1 knee and 1 foot and gets around. but i am sure your son will be fine if you have any concerns i would ask your Dr.

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T.H.

answers from Seattle on

MY son scooted on his butt to get places he never really crawled until he walked. They say if he is using all his motor skills he will be ok . But, if you are really concerned give the doc a call and ask it really cant hurt anything.

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C.F.

answers from Portland on

Crawling is an important developmental milestone. My sis-in-law is an Occupational Therapist, and has made more than several comments regarding this. She has told me that the thing that it is really working on is both sides of the brain learning to work together.

However, it is just a fact that many kids do not crawl, and are fine in the future. My mom didn't crawl,and neither did my husband. Many people that I know never crawled, and they are just extremely successful individuals. Crawling isn't the only way that the 2 sides of the brain learn to work together. It's just a big way. I agree with the other postings... relax and let your kid develop in his own way.

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S.W.

answers from Seattle on

I have never heard of crawling therapy. Every book you read and doctor I've talked to say it is perfectly normal for a child to crawl any way they want. Some don't crawl at all. I think you need to relax and enjoy your son the way he is. Reading doesn't happen for a long time after they are done crawling and I don't know of anyone who needs hand eye coordination to do so. He's fine!

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L.A.

answers from Seattle on

I wouldn't worry or at least not yet - my daughter did this for quite a few months - then she crawled - then she walked a bit on the late side - now she's about 2 1/2 and she still will sometimes drop to all four and crawl - ok so mostly to get away from me.

I've heard about the crawling and reading - but don't worry about it until you figure out if he doesn't crawl at all. Plus even if he doesn't crawl - sounds like a lot of people say it doesn't matter and if it does matter crawling theory sounds like it works. Just tuck it back in your file and if he has trouble reading pull it out.

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M.J.

answers from Seattle on

My son did pretty much the same thing...he used one arm and one leg. Then one day he just pushed up on all fours and took off. I understand because of your sibling's experience that you are worried, but I think kids crawl in all different sorts of ways. As long as your doctor is not worried about his development in other areas I think I would not worry too much. He is just figuring out his own way of doing things :)

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N.P.

answers from Portland on

Dear Bonnie Jean...I would like to confirm that your intuition of being concerned is vaid, especially with the family history. I applaude your willingness to be pro active. If you are in the Portland, OR area, I would highly recommend the NW Neurodevelopmental Training Center in Woodburn,Or. [email protected]____.com Phone: ###-###-#### They do free screenings the 2nd Sat of the month, and are a non-profit with 36 years of experience. They may be able to advise you as to the best course of action.
When my daughter stood up and walked across the room, all on
her own at 10 months old, I intuitivly knew that she needed more crawling. That was 7 years ago and I didn't know how to find someone to validate my concerns about the connection with crawling and brain development.
Last fall, I went to a dyslexia lecture and discovered that she had all of the markers of dyslexia. No wonder she had been struggling with reading, spellling, math facts and writing for the past two years. Which didn't make sense, because she is very bright. I knew something wasn't quite right at the beginning of 1st grade and it was very frustrating to hear let's wait and see. I knew the clock was ticking. Some research shows the best time to make life long changes with the brain is before the age of 9, while there are still so many brain cells. (However, changes can be made all our lives) Did you know that Texas tests students at age 5 for dyslexia? They recognize that 25% of their students may have dyslexia or some form of a learning processing challenge. I didn't realize that dyslexia is more than just transposing letters. The way the brain is wired can impact directions, time, and other processing challenges like auditory and visual. We went to the center and the feedback was that both us of needed to reclaim the crawling that we didn't do as infants. I wish we would have been doing this when she was younger and easier to play crawling games. Little did I know the impact these learning challenges would have on her self esteem. I think better to be pro active than try to play catch up later. So good for you that you want to do something now. You will be glad you did. This is why I strongly suggest you follow your intuition. The biggest surprise was to find out that I also had many of the dyslexic markers and never knew it. I love to read and learned how at an early age. I was at the top of my class all the way through school. Things changed in collage, and it took me 6 years to finish. The dyslexia shows up in many ways and I now realize how much energy it took to get through school and daily life. Now I am recognizing the toll it can take on the quality of one's life. I know that we are all influenced by our own experiences. I have had the gift of being able to look back many years and realize that something I thougt was working ok, really wasn't in the long run. The people in the dyslexia community get this, because they hear stories like mine all the time. I do understand why our schools take this wait and see method. The funding and ability to help the students is few and far between. Some people feel that the educational system is about 30 years behind the medical community in the area of brain research and learning. All the more reason for parents to take a pro active role, especially if there is a family history. I had no idea until last fall, that this was inherited. Keep listening to your intuition and inner wisdom. It will serve you well. Blessings on your journey.

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S.M.

answers from Seattle on

My son did the same thing and has developed quite normally. This was corrected when he had no diaper on and discovered the carpet did not feel so good. LOL And he was walking at about 10 months. But if you feel concerned it is certainly valid and worth asking your pediatrician. Good Luck.
S.

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M.F.

answers from Seattle on

I just wanted to add that I read somewhere recently that it really doesn't matter how the child gets around, (whether the child crawls on hands and knees, army crawls, scoots on their bottom, etc) as long as the child is using their arms and legs to move around they are developing their eye hand coordination. This excerpt is from babycenter.com:
Babies develop skills using different methods and different timetables. But if your child hasn't shown an interest in getting mobile by some means (whether it's creeping, crawling, rolling, or scooting), figured out how to move his arms and legs together in a coordinated motion, or learned to use both arms and both legs equally by the time he's a year old, bring it up at his next doctor's appointment. Keep in mind that premature babies may reach this and other milestones several months later than their peers.
So I think your son is doing great!
M.

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C.S.

answers from Seattle on

I think that is cute. Im pretty sure your son is too young to even be tested for gross motor delays....or reading for that matter :-)

I don't mean to minimize however, my son doesn't walk at 18 months. My sister didn't walk until 2 yrs. I walked at 8 months. Really every one is so different. Most dr.s don't get involved for a PT assessment until the child is around 15-18 months. Once they get secure in thier abilities the just take off and learn so fast. you can teach hand eye coordination. I think you have plenty of time to relax and let your baby grow a little. If by 15 months he is still doing the same crawl without trying other methods of getting around (like walking) ask for a gross motor assessment. Every child qualifies for an assessment if referred by a Dr. through the 0-3 No Child Left Behind act. Ask your Dr. for details. If you are in Pierce County, check out the county web site.

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T.B.

answers from Seattle on

Yes this can be an indication of a problem latter on. It doesn't have to indicate one, but with a family history this is one of the first signs you see. The neurons in the brain are not processing correctly; this is what causes the problem for crawling, reading and lots of other little things. The earlier you can retrain the brain the better chance you have to avoid other problems latter. Waiting till school age behind the curve reading is far too late. Then you have self esteem issues on top. Keep a close eye on other developments.

I am dyslexic (more auditory processing issue), and have 2 children, one who does have processing problems and one who doesn't; they where different right from birth. Some things I noticed about my son – trouble nursing and taking a bottle (hard for him to suck), colicky infant – wanted to be rocked, swung, bounced, constant motion (this is due to an under active are of the vestibular region in the ear). Had trouble crawling and rolling over, walked at the end of 9 months. Was late and had trouble with the pincher grab- using thumb and pointer finger to pick small things up. Had a difficult time with eating utensils. Did not speak until almost 3, and only now after almost 5 yo and intervention is being understood. Unable to write, hold a pencil, and figure out how much pressure to put down. Extremely gentle, uses very little pressure for most everything. Did not scribble, did not like play doe, or any thing ‘icky’. Loves roller coasters, fast rides, has a photographic memory, extremely imaginative, shape sorters, puzzles, empathy and reading people well beyond his years, clearly a very smart boy. Look for the disparity in skill as he develops.

The crawling therapy did not work well for me as a kid (maybe it was too late), but we are seeing some amazing results with a Berard Auditory Integration Therapy. Use you intuition and insist for early intervention. Look are your family development, I had many of same skill (or lack of) as my son.
Good luck, you are right on track for looking at the issue now.

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A.B.

answers from Spokane on

B.

My daughter also army crawled for a long time. It wasn't until about 9 months, when I had her around lots of other children her age, that she figured out or decided to crawl in the usual way. I think she switched becasue the army crawl was too slow to keep up with the other infants, and she wanted to try out the other crawl because she saw other kids doing it. Do you have other infants that are crawling "normally" (notice the quotes)? Maybe exposure to other crawlers might help. Good luck.

A.

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A.M.

answers from Seattle on

hi .. my baby was 6 and half month when he stared crowiling and he did the same that yours for like 2 months and then he swich the normal crawl if we can said that..now he is 15 months and walks normal...

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S.S.

answers from Seattle on

Wow, I've never heard that about reading, but my son also never really crawled well. He started with the "injured soldier" crawl and then ended up kind of scooting across the floor on his bum and one knee. He was more interested in walking and even now at 16 and a half months when he's tried to emulate smaller babies crawling, he can't really do it. He's very proficient in everything else - walking, talking, etc., so I'm not worried at all. He's got no problems with his hand-eye coordination either, as far as I can tell... Hope that helps.

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L.S.

answers from Seattle on

My son army crawled at 8 months. Then at 9 months he stood up holding onto things. He crawled "normal" at 10 or 11 months and then walked at 12 months. What I am saying is that he creaped around on his belly first and is completly fine. He is now 2 and runs everywhere.

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H.B.

answers from Seattle on

I would help him with his coordination by getting on the floor and teaching him the right way of moving his hands and legs. Crawl yourself to show him, but most of it is going to be you helping moving his arms and legs. He will get the hang of it.
I'm glad you said something about crawling therapy. 2 of my cousins that live in Alaska had to go to crawling therapy when they were in Kindergarten/1st grade. The floors of my Aunt and Uncle's home were so cold at the time that my cousins were crawling, she had linolium and tile floors that had sheets of ice on them, inside her house (this was in the mid 60's). So she didn't allow the babies on the floor, and they didn' learn to crawl.
So many parents say "oh, my baby skipped crawling and walked at an early age". Crawling is an important milestone that shouldn't be skipped. I know it sounds like an old wivestale, but it's true.

Good Luck with your little one.

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