What Does It Mean When A Baby Is Shaking Head Side To Side?

Parenthood is usually interesting although sometimes it can be a little frustrating especially if you are a new parent. One of the ways in which parenthood can be frustrating is when your baby picks up a new behaviour, like baby shaking head side to side, and you are clueless about it, sometimes you end up getting worried over nothing.

As your baby is growing, her motor skills are also developing. Usually, from the time babies are born up to their first month, they are always unable to turn their heads on their own. Once the muscles around the neck are developed to aid their motor skills, they will be able to turn their heads on their own including shaking head side to side.

Reasons Why A Baby May Start Shaking Head Side To Side

It is a normal thing for a baby to shake his or her head side to side. The head shaking is usually common in babies who are between the ages of 3 to 7 months old. This is usually interesting though sometimes it can get you concerned as a mother. As a parent, you should know that a normal baby may shake his or her head side to side due to the following reasons.

When They Are Learning To Take Control Of Their Body

By the time your baby is in her fourth month, her motor skills would have developed such that she would have gained muscle control and will, therefore, be able to turn her head to follow objects. Once she has discovered her new abilities, she might get a little naughty with this new trick in order to get your attention, including shaking her head during your best stroller outings.

As A Sign Of Fatigue

A baby might shake her head side to side when she feels tired and wants to take a nap. The dizziness that will result from head shaking will be enough to send her to dreamland. Some babies have discovered this trick and will do it more often so they can fall asleep.

As A Sign Of Excitement Or Satisfaction

When your baby is nursing, she is usually excited. She might shake her head side to side to show her excitement before proceeding with her appointment with the nipples. When she has had enough of the breast milk, and you still want her to carry on, she is likely to protest, and the best way to do this is by shaking her head side to side.

Don’t get worried when she does this. Babies too can communicate without even saying a word. So be smart, as a mother, to notice your baby’s cues and try to interpret them.

What Can Head Shaking Also Mean And When Should I Get Worried?

Head shaking can also be a sign of ear infection or even worse, autism. When the inner ear is blocked, your baby might shake the head side to side in an attempt to be more comfortable. When the head shaking happens frequently accompanied by episodes of crying, then it means that there is an underlying health issue like an ear infection.

At this point, you will be right to get worried. Seeking a paediatrician's attention would be recommended to check your baby’s ears to see if there might be some infection.

How Can I Know If It Is A Sign Of Autism?

Some paediatricians believe that there is some relationship between a baby shaking head side to side and autism. This is sometimes true hence parents are advised to watch out for the following symptoms in their babies.


Lack Of Social Interaction Skills

A baby with autism will have poor social interactions. If your baby is unable to respond to you when you call her name, if she doesn’t smile back at you when you smile at her and usually looks disinterested in everything all the time, then it means that she has some mental disorders that should be examined by a paediatrician.


Poor Communication Cues

A healthy baby should be able to use gestures and show gestures to communicate. By the time babies are 7 months old, they are able to point out things that they want with their fingers. A baby with some mental disorders will be unable to do this. A baby with autism may also have abnormal prosody and weird voice quality. You should be concerned should your baby exhibit such symptoms.


Regression And Loss Of Skills As The Baby Gets Older

A baby with autism will lose her language skills such as word pronunciation and comprehension as she gets older. She will also be unable to make eye contacts and will poorly interact with people. This is usually noticeable easily when the baby is between 19 to 21 months.

All these symptoms accompanied by vigorous head shaking from side to side should not be ignored since it could be a sign of autism. You should, therefore, act on your concerns as quickly as possible since chances of successfully dealing with autism are high when you seek medical intervention early enough.

According to paediatricians, chances of identifying autism as early as below one year old are very high, that is, over 80% chance.

The Takeaway

Baby shaking head side to side is a normal behaviour in babies. It’s like a stage that babies have to pass through as their motor skills are developing and they are learning to control their bodies. They are also likely to shake their heads side to side when they are excited and playful.

However, when a baby is shaking his head side to side accompanied by some weird behaviours as shown in this video, then it should not be taken as normal.

As a mother, you should be keen on your baby’s behaviours and should you take note of such weird symptoms, then seek a doctor’s help straight away.

Kristi Cathey

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi Cathey and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I am a mother of 3 beautiful angels. This blog was created in order to share my personal experiences in baby care and general health care for pregnant women. If you'd like to get in touch with me, please contact me by sending me an email via kristicathey.intelligentmother@gmail.com. Welcome to Intelligentmother.com

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