Baby Shaking Head Side To Side – Is It Normal?

As a mom, I know it can be pretty disconcerting when you turn around to check on your baby and they’re shaking their head side to side. It looks like they’re in some kind of trance-like state, almost as if something out of the ordinary is going on with them.

Well, don’t worry – it’s actually more common than you’d think.

So, why does your baby shaking head side to side?

Head shaking is a common behavior seen in babies when they are overstimulated or anxious, or trying to fall asleep. Fortunately, this self-soothing technique is harmless and may aid in reducing anxiety in new situations.

In this blog post, I’m going to take a closer look at why babies shake their heads from side to side, what makes it stop, and when you need to see your baby’s doctor about it.

Baby Shaking Head Side To Side

Is It Normal For Babies To Shake Their Head Side To Side?

This is a common behavior that is seen in babies who are between the ages of two and six months old. Babies do this as a way of exploring their surroundings and learning about what’s going on around them.

When Do Babies Start Shaking Heads?

By the age of nine months, babies can begin shaking their heads from side to side. While it is typical in most cases, it might indicate a neurological or developmental issue in rare circumstances like hitting the head with hand.

Why Is My Baby Shaking Head Side To Side?

1. Taking Control Of His Body

Their muscles are growing, and they try to mimic everything that everyone around them does as they learn more about themselves. When babies are tired, they shake their heads to fall asleep. The continuous movement causes dizziness and lulls them asleep in a matter of minutes.

2. Suffering From An Ear Infection

When your baby’s ears are blocked, he may shake his head or, when his gums hurt, be more at ease. It is quite typical for babies to shake their heads from side to side while teething. Although the shaking of the head is natural, if you believe that your infant has a fever, a cold, or is teething, it is important to visit a doctor for treatment.

3. Trying To Latch On While Breastfeeding

When a baby nurses, he or she usually shakes his or her head. They may continue to shake their heads in excitement after they are used to the routine. It’s a good idea to cradle your infant’s head as he nurses during the first three months of life.

It aids in the management of muscular reflexes, allowing him to learn how to attach properly.

4. Shaking His Head While Sleeping

When your baby is on his tummy or back with his butt in the air, you may notice that he shakes his head. At 5–6 months old, babies will begin to rock their heads or even their entire bodies.

5. Neurological Issues

Frequent head shaking by the infant might indicate a neurological problem, particularly if the baby is unable to control the head shakes or is displaying additional abnormal actions in addition to them.

These are brief seizures that may affect any part of the body and might cause babies to turn their necks or heads. Myoclonic twitches are generally abrupt, powerful, and frequent throughout the day for a few days.

6. Due To Shudder Attacks

In a few instances, these can happen spontaneously and cause the infant to shiver or shake. These motions may lead to the baby shaking its head when they reach the head.

Is Head-Shaking A Sign Of Autism?

When your baby shakes his head from side to side, it is generally not a symptom of autism; yet it’s good to pay attention because certain indicators appear unusual.

Babies who don’t interact with their parents and siblings, have no responsibility for their name or noises, hold an odd gaze, or show no interest or reaction to smiles might require medical treatment.

1. Poor Communication Signals

The most common gesture made by 7-8-month-old babies is pointing, as well as the production of noises. 

2. Deterioration and Loss of Key Skills

As a youngster becomes older, he or she will have trouble communicating and comprehending. They won’t make as much eye contact with people, and they won’t often connect with others. This sign is typically seen between the ages of 9 and 12 months.

3. Repeated Behavior or Movements

Babies with autism might repeat movements and odd behaviors even if they are showing no signs of learning new skills. When your baby has these symptoms, it should be a cause for concern.

4. Headbanging

If your baby bangs his head against the wall or crib, or even fists the wall despite being harmed, you have cause for concern. He may also shake his head violently during stressful situations or for lengthy periods.

5. Missing Developmental Milestones

If your youngster fails to attain the developmental milestones for his age on schedule, he may have autism. 

How to Stop Your Baby Shaking Head Side To Side?

How long should the shaking sessions be, and when do they finish? You’ll be able to determine whether it’s a continuing, recurring problem that necessitates attention or if it can be ignored based on what you’ve found.

Alter The Environment

Sometimes, external stimuli like sounds or smells might set off your child’s head shaking. Attempt to modify the circumstances in which you observe your kid performing this motion most often. They might be testing boundaries as they are no longer newborns.

Try Relaxing Techniques

To relax his muscles, massage a soothing oil into his skin to soothe his reflexes.

When to Consult a Doctor?

If your child has the following symptoms with continuous shaking of his head, you should consult a doctor.

  • When he’s worried and crying uncontrollably, he shakes his head too much.
  • Shows little reactivity to sounds and voices.

If you observe your toddler shaking his or her head from side to side or if your baby’s head nods in one direction and other symptoms are present, see a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Why does my toddler randomly shake his head?

Ans: Head shaking may help babies reach developmental milestones as they learn to control their bodies, train the muscles required to keep their heads up on their own, and test out their movement abilities. There might be a possibility that the baby has swallowed something like bath water.

Q2: What is shudder syndrome?

Ans: Shuddering attacks (SA) is an uncommon benign childhood disease that causes shivering and straining motions, but no loss of consciousness or epileptiform EEG abnormalities, with a favorable or complete cure by age 2 or 3 years.

Q3: My baby is shaking his head side to side while sleeping, is it normal?

Ans: It helps them develop the muscles needed to control their heads and keep them up on their own.

Q4: 8 months old baby moves head back and forth, what to do?

Ans: If your baby is moving their head back and forth excessively, it could be a sign of a medical condition called nystagmus. If you’re worried about your baby having nystagmus, take them to see a doctor right away.

Q5: My 4 months old newborn shakes head back and forth. Should I be worried?

Ans: They may do it when they’re trying to figure something out or when they’re excited or happy.

Q6: 6 months old baby shuddering. How to stop it?

Ans: It is normal for a baby to shudder. If you are concerned, you can try to stop it by holding the baby close to you or by placing a blanket over them.


Baby shaking head is a normal development milestone for infants and young children. Babies may do it when they’re trying to figure something out or when they’re excited or happy. If you’re concerned about your baby’s head shaking, you can try to stop it by holding the baby close to you or by placing a blanket over them. If the head shaking persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, please consult a doctor.

Sarah here, mother of two here to guide you on your parenting journey. I know motherhood isn't easy, but I'm here to share my wisdom and experience so that you can make the most out of this amazing adventure. Linkedln

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