Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Understanding Why Babies Shake Their Heads

If you’ve ever seen a baby shake their head back and forth, you may be wondering why they do it. Head shaking is usually a sign that something is wrong and can be concerning for parents. Why is my baby shaking his/her head side to side ?

Fortunately, there are various reasons why babies might shake their heads and understanding them can help to ease some of your worries.

Crying or frustration

One of the most common reasons why babies shake their heads is simply because they are frustrated or crying. When babies feel overwhelmed or upset, they may shake their heads as if to say “no” to whatever it is that’s upsetting them.

This type of head shaking should not cause any lasting harm and will usually stop when the child feels in control again.

Sensory processing disorders

In some cases, head shaking can indicate a sensory processing disorder such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with ASD often have difficulty processing certain types of stimuli and this can lead to repetitive movements such as head shaking.

If your baby is exhibiting any other signs of ASD along with head shaking, you should consult your pediatrician for further advice.


Babies are born with several reflexes which help them develop certain motor skills, including the Moro reflex. The Moro reflex causes babies to throw their arms up in the air and then pull them back in when startled by a loud noise or sudden movement.

In some cases, the reflex may also cause the baby to shake their head from side to side during this movement. This reflex typically disappears around four months old but can last longer in some cases.                                           


Head shaking can be concerning for parents but it is usually nothing more than a sign that something has upset your baby or that they are struggling with sensory overload.

However, if your child’s head shaking continues over an extended period of time or if they exhibit other signs of sensory processing disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it is important to speak with your pediatrician for further advice and support.

Understanding what might be behind your baby’s head shaking will help put your mind at ease so you can focus on providing comfort and nurturing for your little one during this difficult time.

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