Why Does My Newborn Shake Sometimes? A Pediatrician Explains
It’s normal for a newborn.
Newborn babies do a lot of weird things, many of which you probably weren’t really aware of before you had one at home. As a new parent, you may find yourself worried about a lot of little things that may or may not be a big deal. One of those things that people often don’t tell you before becoming a mom how every little weird thing they do will send you down internet rabbit holes at 3 a.m. searching things like “why does my newborn shake?”
Why does my newborn baby shake?
When I brought my daughter home from the hospital, she would shiver sometimes, even though I knew she wasn’t cold. What are those weird little newborn tremors and why do they happen? “Newborn infants have an immature and changing neurological system,” explains Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “When areas of the body are touched or stimulated, sometimes the neurological feedback loop gets overly-stimulated, causing muscle trembling or shaking.”
In short, it’s pretty normal for newborns to shake or tremble a bit. Their neurological system is still developing, so you may notice quivers or shakes during the first few months. My baby used to do it sometimes when she was nursing. I’d also notice this tendency when we changed her diaper or, when she was a bit older, when she got really excited about something.
When should you be concerned about your newborn baby’s shakes?
You should call a doctor, however, if the shaking is rhythmic or symmetric. “With firm, gentle touch to the area, the tremble should stop. If the trembles are frequent, increasing or cannot be stopped with gentle pressure, reach out to your child's doctor,” Burgert emphasizes. Of course, you should also call your child’s doctor just to be safe if you’re ever worried or unsure.
Ultimately, babies have to adjust to their new bodies and their new environment. And there are some quirks that come along with that process, including a little bit of shaking. It’s easy to panic over every little thing when you’re a new parent, and don’t be afraid to call your doctor just to double check. That’s what they’re there for.
Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics
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