Anything our babies may do that we don’t understand makes us worry. A baby that starts shaking his or her head out of the blue can look really worrying and strange. But is it something to worry about? It can be. Read about four common reasons why a baby starts shaking head here.
Also take a moment to check out the huge number of testimonies and comments by parents sharing their babies’ head-shaking at the bottom of this post.
So, if a baby starts shaking head, should we just relax and enjoy this new skill our baby has developed? Well, maybe. Head shaking is quite common and a variety of this repetitive behavior is a baby hitting his or her head, something you can read about here.
Reasons For Head Shaking In Babies and When To Worry
Some of the more common reason a baby is shaking head are:
- Many babies start doing a head shaking thing as part of learning to get control of their body. They may be imitating you or may have discovered they get lots of response from you when they try this trick. This, of course, is the real sit-back-and-enjoy reason. Nothing at all to worry about!
- Some babies also shake their head when they get tired, as self-soothing. Some young babies (and older children too) shake their head until they fall asleep! Again, nothing to worry about.
- Head shaking may also indicate an ear infection. If you think your baby has had a cold, is running a fever, is less active than usual or may have an infection it is worth checking out. Babies will sometimes shake their head when the inner ear is blocked, and they are trying to get more comfortable.
- Repetitive movements, including head shaking, can in some cases also be a sign of autism. However, in this cases, there will be other signs as well, such as lack of eye contact, no smiling, no babbling et cetera. If you do suspect that something is not right, contact a doctor, since early intervention is crucial for babies with signs of autism.
In general, head shaking is just another interesting stage, but worth checking for an infection or signs of autism in rare cases.
When Can Head Shaking be a Warning Sign?
So, to be clear, here are some situations when head shaking in babies and young toddlers can be a sign of illness:
- Your baby or toddler is not interacting with you or their siblings, but shakes their head frequently and randomly
- He or she doesn’t move their eyes normally Your baby seems to have an infection, which means that the shaking can be a sign of for example ear or throat pain
- Your child fails to reach other developmental milestones outlined by your doctor
- Your child doesn’t respond to your voice, as well as other sounds
- Your toddler continues these behaviors beyond 2 years of age and you are worried that they are related to your child’s development. (I.e. it is not obvious self-soothing, a sinus infection or similar)
More On Shaking in Babies
Here are some other ways babies may be shaking and what to think about it:
Baby & Toddler Health Book Tips
It can be quite comforting and helpful to have a kids’ health reference books at home! Here are a few quality books:
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