Baby Shakes Head Side To Side

What if baby shakes head side to side

Are you curious to know What if the baby shakes head side to side while sleeping, playing, feeding, latching, or nursing? Or Are you afraid of seeing your baby shaking head and thinking that it may be any serious problem? Many new parents ask 8 month old shaking head. Even parents wonder is shaking head a sign of autism? For all these, you will get answers in this article. To say simply it is not a serious problem if it is not prolonged symptoms or it is accompanied by other illness symptoms. Just it is a part of child development including developing motor skills and reflexes.

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Knowing what the reasons are for head shaking may allow you to relax and sit back and enjoy the fun of a head-shaking baby. So what are the causes of head shaking? Let us see.

Causes of baby shakes head side to side

Child development

A Child may start shaking their head as a result of child development. It is a sign that the child is developing. It starts at the period of 2 months, the baby starts reacting to the sounds. Head controlling all happen maybe at the 4th month. It is the starting stage that tends the child turning his head. Then slowly start to move from side to side. The head movement may be more in a noisy room than a quieter room.

Next thing that the head-shaking at the moment of breastfeeding when the baby trying to latch. It may happen due to the excitement. Supporting their head during feeding is essential for up to three months.

Babies may start to understand the words the parents are using to communicate with him at about 6 months. The response may be in head shaking and by one year the baby may start to signal no or avoid something uncomfortable by shaking his head.

Head shaking is common in other situations like calming themselves. When the baby wants to calm themselves they will start the kind of activity performed by shaking their head to relax from the anxiety or to get into sleep.

And also at the time of play mood, the head-shaking in the baby may be intense due to excitement. The head shaking is normal when it is happening as the way of interactions if someone is interacting with them. Head shaking is the way of interaction in the initial months.

These are the normal cause of head shaking and it is part of the development process. If you are founding head shaking in these situations, no need to take it seriously, just take part in the development process, relax and enjoy the fun.

There are other causes due to some medical condition that you need to consider and take necessary action to check the reason and to get a diagnosis from that.

What are the medical conditions that need to be concerned?

Ear infection

An ear infection is one of the major causes of head shaking in babies. It makes the discomfort and causes pain. Due to discomfort, the baby may start shaking head vigorously and it may associate with other symptoms like fever, crying, and other illness. Parents or caregivers should take necessary check-ups during this sort of situation. It is not normal child development.


Head shaking in babies with autism is not normal, it happens involuntarily. Babies with autism show no reaction to sounds even if you call their name and they fail to smile and have no eye contact. Finding diagnosis earlier can improve the quality of a child’s life.


Myoclonic jerks can be seen in babies with epilepsy. It happens when the activity of nerve cells gets disturbed and causes seizures. An abnormal behavior, loss of consciousness can be seen in this condition. It is not like voluntary shaking head and taking diagnosis earlier is good for child health.

Neurological disorders

If babies find it difficult to control head shaking or unusual movements or behaviors it may be because of brain dysfunction. Some of the neurological disorders you can find with babies are speech disorders, trouble in movement, and other behaviors.

Shuddering attacks

It is a rare condition that occurs in babies and young children in which the body shakes and extends to their heads. But it is said that they are harmless.

Spasmus nutans

It is a disorder with rapid head movement and head-bobbing. Abnormal neck position can also be found in rare conditions. This condition will disappear in life, though it occurs between four months and one year of age.

Rhythmic movement disorder

This neurological disorder has a symptom of shaking head and repeated large muscles movement during sleep. It is specifically found in infants.

When it is required to consult a doctor?

Though baby shakes head side to side is not a serious and harmful condition in babies but it is not in all cases. There are some situations in which you need to consult a pediatrician. Let us see what are they?

  1. If there is any serious illness associated with head shaking such as fever, bruises, rash, or any scrapes, take immediate action to know the cause and diagnosis.
  2. An injury due to a fall on the wall may induce to shake the head, check for any hurt at the back of the head.
  3. Stress and anxiety may increase the symptoms of head shaking.
  4. Found any trouble in making eye contacts
  5. Not responding to the sound around.
  6. Not in in-time development
  7. Head shaking should not be present after 2 years of age; action is needed if it continues.
  8. Continuous shaking or jittering movements found in babies don’t make further delay. The Myoclonic seizure will have these symptoms. It may be a rare condition, but delaying leads to fatal.

Ways to stop baby shakes head side to side?

Shaking the head is not a serious problem but sometimes it may cause dizziness or disorientation, even sometimes may lead them to fall and spill.

  1. Find an alternate way of soothing the baby if the head shaking is in the practice.
  2. Create a calm environment to make the baby stress-free or free from any anxiety that causes head shaking.
  3. Baby Massage is the best way to help your baby get relaxed.
  4. Don’t shake your head when your baby does, if you have done so it fuels the head-shaking habit.
  5. If you found head shaking in severe or any sign of developmental delays, then immediately consult a pediatrician to diagnose and resolve them.

Head shaking is not a serious problem if it is a cute and fun action of baby, at the same time monitor the baby for there any serious reason, if it so doesn’t fail to visit your pediatrician.

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Also Read: Baby Ear Infection – Causes, Prevention And Home remedies

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The article written by me is for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice. The reader should always consult a Medical practitioner concerning any medical condition.

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