Baby quivers when feeding

4 Safe Newborn Behaviors to Stop Worrying About

As a new mother, there can be many uncertainties when it comes to your baby. What’s normal, what’s not, and what is something that differs from baby to baby? To help ease some of your worry here are 4 Safe (and very normal) behaviors of babies that you can stop worrying about today!

1. Chin quivering -  “My baby’s chin shakes and quivers up and down, especially before feedings and after he’s been crying.”  These are the normal primitive reflexes of an immature nervous system. You might also see jitters or trembling of your baby’s arms and legs during crying and this too, is normal in newborns. It should stop by 1 to 2 months of age.

If your baby is jittery when not crying, it could be abnormal. Try giving him something to suck on as normal trembling should stop with sucking. Call your pediatric care provider immediately if the jittering continues when your baby is calm or if rhythmic jerking movements are seen.

2. Eye fluttering – “My baby’s eyes roll back in his head especially after breastfeeding or when he’s really tired.” Be assured that these are more expected, immature nervous system responses. Normal eye rolling can develop when your infant is awake, drowsy or transitioning between sleep and wakefulness.  Your infant’s underdeveloped vision system will take time to fully mature and function properly. When your baby drifts off to sleep, you may notice slow eye rolling as he opens and closes his eyes repeatedly. Stop worrying.

If your infant’s eye rolling is related to a serious problem, he’ll generally reveal other symptoms. Call your infant’s health care provider immediately if you also witness rapid or jerky movements on one or both sides of your baby’s body, a sudden change in skin color, irregular breathing or excessive irritability with inconsolable crying.

3. Squeaking – “My baby sounds like a chorus when he is sucking at my breast.”  While breastfeeding, breathing, sucking and swallowing are your baby’s first foray into multi tasking. He needs time to coordinate all those functions into one smooth suck, swallow and breathe continuum. Keep his head higher than his trunk when positioning him at your breast and always turn him belly to belly rather than forcing him to turn his head to the side to reach your nipple.

Many babies have Laryngomalacia - It’s called a normal abnormality in newborns, as it is quite common. The tissue just above your baby’s vocal cords might be especially soft causing it to flop into the airway when your baby takes a breath. This can cause partial (and I do mean partial) blockage of the airway, leading to noisy breathing, especially when your baby is on his back. You might find that this noisy breathing tends to get even louder in the first several months after birth. As muscle strength gradually improves, the noises disappear in nearly all infants.

In more than 90% of cases, the only treatment necessary for laryngomalacia is time. If you feel that your baby is having difficulty feeding, is not gaining weight appropriately or experiences frequent moments of sputtering when swallowing, call your pediatric care provider for a prompt in-office evaluation.

4. Hiccoughs – “My baby gets the hiccoughs every day!”  You probably felt them in utero too, that rhythmic, ticking kind of feeling. Your fetus was swallowing amniotic fluid and got the hiccoughs.  Why wouldn’t it continue once your baby is drinking your milk? Overfeeding and/or swallowed air, triggering the diaphragm muscle to go into spasms are believed to be the causes of this normal occurrence.  More frequent burping during the course of your breastfeeding session, especially when your baby has been gulping a rapid flow of milk, will serve to reduce his stomach distension and decrease the frequency of his hiccoughs. Stop worrying.

Expect the hiccoughs, like flatulence (farting) to continue for the rest of your baby’s life, diminishing over time into adulthood. It is a normal part of digestion. Think back to the last time you had hiccoughs as it can still be common (and normal!) in adults.

While many newborn behaviors and occurrences can get our attention, these listed above are surely very normal and just another part of your newborns journey. So relax, don’t worry, and enjoy this stage of your newborn’s life!

Newborn Reflexes and Behavior

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Normal reflexes, noises and behavior questions in newborns
  • These are normal and not signs of illness
  • Flying and mountain travel with newborns is also covered

Newborn Reflexes - Topics Covered

These harmless behaviors fall into 11 general groups. If your baby is healthy, skip the "What to Do" section. Go directly to the topic number that relates to your question for advice.

  1. Normal primitive reflexes from immature nervous system
  2. Normal jitteriness when crying
  3. Normal sleep movements
  4. Normal breathing sounds and noises
  5. Normal irregular breathing patterns
  6. Normal GI sounds and noises
  7. Normal sleep sounds and noises
  8. Normal feeding reflexes
  9. Normal protective reflexes
  10. Flying with newborns, safety of
  11. Mountain travel with newborns, safety of

When to Call for Newborn Reflexes and Behavior

Call 911 Now

  • Can't wake up
  • Not moving or very weak
  • Weak or absent cry and new onset
  • Severe trouble breathing (struggling for each breath)
  • New moaning or grunting noises with each breath
  • Bluish (or gray) lips, tongue or face now
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Age less than 1 month old and looks or acts abnormal in any way. Examples are a poor suck or poor color.
  • Fever in baby less than 12 weeks old. Caution: do NOT give your baby any fever medicine before being seen.
  • Breathing stopped for more than 10 seconds and now it's normal
  • Trouble breathing, but not severe
  • Seizure suspected
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Normal newborn reflexes and behavior
  • Flying or mountain travel with a newborn

Seattle Children's Urgent Care Locations

If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

  • Bellevue
  • Everett
  • Federal Way
  • Seattle

Care Advice for Newborn Reflexes and Behavior

  1. Normal Primitive Reflexes From Immature Nervous System:
    • Startle Reflex (Moro or embrace reflex). Brief stiffening of the body, straightening of arms and opening of hands. Follows noise or abrupt movements. Frequent at birth. Slowly resolves by 4 months of age.
    • Tonic-Neck Reflex (Fencer's Reflex). When head is turned to 1 side, the arm and leg on that side straightens. The opposite arm and leg flexes. Goes away by 4 months of age.
    • Chin Trembling
    • Lower Lip Quivering
    • Jitters or Trembling (see Topic 2)
  2. Normal Jitters or Trembling when Crying:
    • Jitters or trembling of the arms and legs during crying is normal in newborns. It should stop by 1 to 2 months of age.
    • If your baby is jittery when not crying, it could be abnormal. Give her something to suck on. (Reason: Normal trembling should stop with sucking.)
    • Seizures are rare. During seizures, newborns are more than jittery. They have muscle jerking and blinking of the eyes. Babies can also make sucking movements of the mouth. They don't cry during seizures.
    • Call Your Doctor If:
    • The jitters get worse
    • The jitters occur when your baby is calm
  3. Normal Sleep Movements:
    • Sleep is not quiet. Expect some of the following:
    • Sudden jerks or twitches of the arms, hands or legs. If they only occur during sleep, they are most likely normal.
    • How Long: last a few seconds, but can recur
    • Timing: soon after falling asleep
    • Normal at all ages, not just in newborns
    • Suspect a seizure if: jerking occurs when awake or lasts more than 10 seconds
  4. Normal Breathing Sounds and Noises:
    • Throat Noises. Caused by air passing through normal saliva or refluxed milk. These gurgling noises are likely to build up during sleep. Slowly, the newborn learns to swallow more often.
    • Nasal Noises are usually caused by dried mucus in the nose. Your baby most likely doesn't have a cold. A blocked or stuffy nose can interfere with feeding. This is because your baby can't breathe when the mouth is closed with feeding. Therefore, babies need help opening the nasal passages.
    • Nasal Saline. Clean out the nose with saline (salt water) nose drops (such as store brand). If not available, can use bottled water. Use 1 drop at a time and do 1 side at a time. Repeat this several times. This will loosen up the dried mucus. Then, it can be sneezed out or swallowed. If needed, use a suction bulb. Avoid Q-tips which can injure the lining of the nose. Saline nose drops or spray can be bought in any drugstore. No prescription is needed.
    • Tobacco Smoke. Avoid tobacco smoke which can cause nasal congestion or sneezing. Avoid dust or any strong odors for the same reason.
    • Call Your Doctor If:
    • Nasal washes don't work
    • Breathing becomes hard
  5. Normal Irregular Breathing Patterns:
    • Transient Breathing Pauses of Less Than 10 Seconds. Also Called Periodic Breathing. Often, the pause is followed by some faster breathing to "catch-up." These breathing pauses are normal if the baby is comfortable during them. A normal rate should be less than 60 breaths per minute. Usually resolves by 1 month of age. Call your doctor if: Your baby is breathing fast or turned blue.
    • Transient Rapid Breathing. Sometimes, newborns take rapid, progressively deeper breaths. This is so they can expand their lungs all the way. This is normal if the breathing slows to normal within a minute or so.
    • Seesaw Breathing. With breathing, the chest seems to contract when the stomach expands. The cause is the soft rib cage of some newborns. It tends to pull in during normal downward movement of the diaphragm.
    • Yawning or Sighing (off and on) to open up the lungs
    • Call Your Doctor If:
    • Breathing becomes hard
    • Breathing pauses last more than 10 seconds
    • You have other questions or concerns
  6. Normal GI Sounds And Noises:
    • Belching air from stomach
    • Passing gas per rectum
    • Note: Both of these are releasing swallowed air. They are normal, harmless and lifelong. They do not cause pain or crying.
    • Gurgling or growling noises from the movement of food through the intestines
    • Normal grunting with pushing out stools
    • Hiccups. Hiccups are often caused by overeating. They can also be from a little acid irritating the lower esophagus. Give your baby a few swallows of water to rinse off the lower esophagus.
  7. Normal Sleep Sounds And Noises: Normal sleep is not motionless or quiet. Expect some of the following:
    • Moving during sleep transitions
    • Occasional startle reflex or jerks
    • Breathing noises - especially gurgling from secretions that sit in the throat.
    • During light sleep, babies can normally whimper, cry, groan or make other strange noises.
    • Parents who use a nursery monitor often become concerned about these normal sleep sounds.
    • GI tract noises from normal movement of digested food
  8. Normal Feeding Reflexes:
    • Rooting Reflex. When the side of the mouth or cheek is touched, your baby turns to that side. He will open his mouth in preparation for nursing. Present until 6 months of age.
    • Sucking Reflex. Will suck on anything placed in the mouth. This survival reflex does not imply hunger. It is even present right after a feeding. This reflex fades between 6 and 12 months of age.
  9. Normal Protective Reflexes:
    • Sneezing To Clear Nose of Any Irritant. Sneezing helps to open the nose. It's usually caused by dust, fuzz, tobacco smoke or other strong odors. If sneezing becomes frequent, use nasal washes. This is not caused by an allergy.
    • Coughing to clear lower airway
    • Blinking. After spending 9 months in darkness, newborns have light-sensitive eyes. At first, they prefer to keep their eyes closed. They blink often with light exposure.
  10. Flying With Newborns:
    • Never fly during the first 7 days of life. If flying is needed, it's safe to fly after 7 days of age.
    • If your newborn is not healthy, do not fly. Your child's doctor should give medical clearance first before flying.
    • Your baby can be exposed to infections aboard aircraft. Therefore, it is preferable not to fly before 2 or 3 months of age.
  11. Mountain Travel With Newborns:
    • Avoid mountain travel above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) for the first month of life. (Exception: family lives there year-round)
    • Travel to destinations below 8,000 (2,438 meters) feet is safe.
    • Brief drives over higher mountain passes are safe.
    • If your newborn is not healthy, don't travel above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters). Your child's doctor should give medical clearance first.
  12. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Your baby starts to look or act abnormal in any way
    • You think your child needs to be seen

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

Last Reviewed: 12/02/2022

Last Revised: 01/13/2022

Copyright 2000-2022. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

A child's chin is shaking when crying or feeding, why do babies have chin tremors


  1. What is tremor in newborns
  2. Infant tremor, causes
  3. Chin tremor in a newborn - physiological norm
  4. appearance
  5. Tremors in babies
  6. Videos on why babies get tremors

Any abnormal behavior in newborns causes parents concern. One of these alarming symptoms include erratic, convulsive movements of different parts of the body. In medical parlance, this is called a "tremor". Most often, immediately after birth, the baby's chin is shaking when crying or during feeding. It is difficult for young parents to understand the nature of such phenomena and to distinguish a pathological condition from a normal one.

Trembling and convulsions in infancy is not a deviation, but a normal physiological reaction to external stimuli. Symptoms pass over time, but there are cases when spontaneous twitching of the chin does not stop, but, on the contrary, becomes more frequent. In such situations, timely medical intervention is required.

What is tremor in newborns

The term "tremor" is commonly referred to as systematic trembling of the legs, arms, chin and head. Involuntary muscle movements can be triggered by both positive and negative emotional experiences. In infancy, especially in the first weeks after birth, babies experience a lot of stress. Light, smells, sounds, bathing, hunger, sudden movements - all this is new and incomprehensible for the baby's body and imperfect nervous system. It is not yet able to work correctly and control the functions performed. It is the high excitability and activity of muscle tissues that cause trembling and convulsive movements.

Chin tremor in a newborn or infant is a common occurrence. Symptoms are observed in every second child. Normally, this state lasts for a few seconds. Until the age of two months, infantile tremor does not need correction and treatment, but parents should carefully monitor the condition of the newborn and not forget about the existing problem.

Infant tremor, causes

The characteristics of the organism of newborns are always reflected in behavior. Even full-term babies are born with undeveloped systems and organs. This is fine. Hearing, vision, digestive, immune and endocrine systems must adapt to new conditions, and this takes time. Nerve centers are responsible for coordinating movements. Their immaturity at birth is the main cause of chin quivering.

It is not uncommon for a one-month-old baby's chin to shake due to the consequences of an unfavorable pregnancy and difficult delivery.

Another reason is related to the imperfection of the endocrine system. Any emotional experiences in the life of children under 1 year of age lead to the fact that an excess amount of norepinephrine enters the blood. This hormone increases tension, which causes twitching in different parts of the body. In addition to the chin, the lower lip, limbs, and head may tremble.

Tremors can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of them are dangerous, associated with serious neurological disorders. Often the following deviations are revealed in children:

  • Increased intracranial pressure.
  • Metabolic disorders.
  • Hyperglycemia.
  • Sepsis.
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Intracranial hemorrhage.

Without the participation of specialists, it is very difficult to understand the causes of involuntary twitching of the chin. Not every young mother is able to correctly assess the condition of the crumbs, understand what is happening and how to behave in such situations. If in doubt, go to the doctor, and the slightest suspicion of a pathology should be the reason.

Trembling of the chin in a newborn is a physiological norm

Tremor caused by the immaturity of the nervous system is considered a physiological norm. When a baby cries and his chin trembles, it is enough just to calm the baby. In newborns, these conditions are not treated. 3 months will pass and all phenomena will disappear. Don't be alarmed if you notice your chin shaking while breastfeeding, bathing, or dressing. With any load on the nervous system, the baby begins to twitch. Can cause jitter:

  • Overwork.
  • Fright.
  • Paradoxical (rapid) sleep.
  • Feeling of hunger.
  • Pain.
  • Uncomfortable air temperature.
  • Bright lights and loud sounds.
  • Sudden change in body position.

For obvious reasons, when the mother understands what the trembling of the chin is connected with, there is no need to worry. If twitches are observed in other situations, occur for no reason and in complete rest, the child should be examined by a doctor.

When a tremor becomes dangerous

Infant tremor occurs for the first time at 2 months of a child's life. Sometimes the phenomena pass in 4 months. In premature babies, trembling of the chin can be observed up to 1 year. If the symptoms do not go away before 6 months, are accompanied by the appearance of perspiration on the skin, increasing intensity and too violent a reaction to external stimuli, this is already a deviation. Spontaneous movements and seizures can be dangerous.

Parents should be alert when the chin shakes for more than 30 seconds while crying. The simultaneous trembling of the legs, arms and head is also considered abnormal. The manifestation of these symptoms may indicate the presence of a pathology, but you should not panic. In infancy, such conditions are treated easily and without consequences.

A child under 1 year of age needs regular examinations by a neurologist. Don't miss your scheduled consultations. Usually they are appointed at the age of 1 and 3 months, at half a year and upon reaching 1 year. During these important periods, specialists evaluate the baby's motor activity, his emotional state, muscle tone, reflexes, and the work of the senses. If deviations are detected, the necessary treatment is prescribed.

How to treat tremor in babies

Only a doctor decides how to treat chin tremor. When diagnosing neurological abnormalities, medications are used, but most often, massage, swimming and gymnastics are prescribed for babies. All therapeutic actions are aimed at relaxing the nervous system. A specialist can recommend herbal infusions based on mint, lemon balm, chamomile and valerian. Using sedatives, you can do baths and rubbing.

If the baby is under 2 years old, the reaction to herbal medicines can be unpredictable. Do not exclude allergic and toxic reactions. The younger the child, the more serious the complications can be. Natural helpers are only safe when used properly. The duration of treatment, intake and dosage should be controlled by the doctor.

Care must also be taken when performing relaxation massages. If there is no experience and sufficient knowledge in this matter, it is better to entrust the procedure to a specialist.

With adequate therapy, the state of the nervous system can be easily restored and normalized. If the pathology is not detected, parents can help the baby. Learn to understand what causes dissatisfaction with the baby and, if possible, exclude all irritants. Observe the regime of the day and nutrition, walk and swim more, create a favorable calm atmosphere at home. For a child, a permanent contract with his mother is very important. When a loved one is nearby, children feel protected. This has a positive effect on health and behavior.

If you are interested in such articles, we recommend that you visit our section on child development directions.

Video on the topic “Why do children develop tremors”

Features of the development of the baby

All parents are in awe of the health of their baby. They are especially attentive to the child in the first weeks and months. after his birth: is everything all right with your beloved baby? If the child is the first, then moms and dads may not know about some of his features. development, and sometimes they are surprised or even frightened by the most ordinary phenomena. What worries young parents most often?

The child's arms and legs are tense all the time. Maybe it's hypertension and you need to start some kind of treatment?

One from the manifestations of physiological hypertonicity - incomplete breeding of the hips in the baby. This condition can be up to 4-6 months, after this period, the legs of the crumbs should be bred. If this does not happen, it is necessary to show the child to the doctor, since the difficulty dilution in the hips can be a sign of pathology of the hip joints

Yes, this is hypertonicity - an increased tone of the flexor muscles, but this is a completely normal phenomenon, which is present up to a certain age in all babies. If you look at a newborn, you can see that his arms are bent in all joints, to the body and pressed to the chest, the hands are clenched into fists, the thumbs of the hands lie under the four the rest. The legs of the baby are also bent at the joints and abducted at the hips, dorsiflexion predominates in the feet. Muscle tone usually higher in the arms than in the legs. Attentive parents will see that muscle tone can change, for example, when turning head to the side, it is higher on the side opposite to the turn of the head. Changing tone in the same muscle group called muscular dystonia - this name of mom and dad is often heard at a neurologist's appointment, but you should not be afraid of this, it also quite common in infants. By 3.5–4 months, physiological hypertonicity in children weakens, movements become more coordinated, the hand opens, so-called locomotions develop - body movements in which almost all muscle groups are involved. There is no need to treat physiological hypertension, but it can be done general strengthening massage, it will contribute to the development of the muscular system and coordination of movements.

The baby constantly makes some movements, they are very chaotic.

Why is this happening?

A newborn child's nervous system is still immature, which is why he cannot make coordinated movements. nervous the baby's fibers are just beginning to be covered with a special myelin sheath, which is responsible for the speed of transmission of the nerve impulse to muscles. The faster the transfer occurs, the smoother the movements of the crumbs become. In the meantime, the nervous system has not matured, a small child may be in constant motion, which sometimes persists even in a dream. How as a rule, chaotic twitches disappear in the second month of life. Then the movements of the arms and legs gradually become more even and orderly.

The baby's arms, legs, chin are trembling - maybe he is cold or has some kind of neurological disease?

Immediately after the birth of the child, a pediatrician must examine every month, and in 1, 3, 6, 12 months - and specialist doctors: neurologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedist. It is they who will reliably assess the condition of the baby and help parents to control his development

Trembling, or tremor, is a physiological phenomenon that occurs in most children in the first 3 months of life. Tremor appears again due to the immaturity of the nervous system. Shivering usually occurs during crying or after some kind of exertion (for example, after bathing), but sometimes it starts quite suddenly, maybe even at rest. With a tremor, a child usually trembles in the chin and lower lip, arms and legs may still tremble. Tremor can be symmetrical (both arms tremble) or asymmetrical, when different parts of the body tremble separately (for example, chin and arms tremble at the same time, or one arm and one leg tremble). As soon as the parents notice that the baby has a tremor (and he may appear not immediately after birth, but even a month later), they are very worried. However, as we said, this is normal occurrence in young children. Nevertheless, it is necessary to pay attention to the following points: physiological tremor does not last long - just a few seconds.; if the tremor increases, the episodes become more frequent and longer, it is necessary to show the baby to a neurologist.

The child often shudders and throws his arms out to the sides. Is this normal or should I take my child to the doctor?

This is a manifestation of one of the innate reflexes - the so-called Moro reflex (spreading the hands with subsequent reduction). He lasts up to 4-5 months and usually occurs in response to sharp sounds or when changing body position. Parents call this reflex wince. Moms and dads notice that if you change the position of the baby in space (for example, lift him out of bed, and then put again), the child will throw up the arms slightly bent at the elbows. The same thing can happen with any sharp sound (clap in hands, door knock). Sometimes the Moro reflex occurs spontaneously, that is, the baby throws up his arms without any stimuli. All these phenomena are completely normal for young children and do not require any treatment. The only thing to watch out for: the Moro reflex should not become more pronounced; after 4-5 months it should disappear.

The child constantly wants to suckle (pacifier, breast, finger), maybe he is hungry and does not have enough milk?

In children under 1 year of age, the sucking reflex is pronounced: any irritation of the lips, tongue, the child makes sucking movements. This the very first and most important unconditioned reflex, it is the ability to suck (and therefore satisfy hunger) that ensures the survival of the baby. The sucking reflex completely disappears only by 3-4 years. Even in infants, you can notice the search reflex (it persists up to 2–4 months): when the corner of the mouth is irritated, the baby turns its head in the direction of irritation; proboscis reflex (it can be observed up to 2–3 months): when tapping on the lips, the child stretches his lips with a tube. Before eating, these reflexes appear brighter and are called easier, but by themselves they are not an indicator that the baby is hungry.

The baby spit up a lot, I heard that this may be due to neurological disorders.

Is it so?

Regurgitation is a very common complaint in the first months of life. Most healthy children spit up to 3-5 times a day. For regurgitation of infants is more the norm than a pathology, since the structure and functioning of the gastrointestinal tract in them predispose to vomiting. The stomach of newborns is located horizontally, has a rounded shape and small volume - only 5-10 ml: that's why a few drops of colostrum are enough to just the born baby ate. The entrance to the stomach of the baby is relatively wide, and the sphincter (the muscle that closes the entrance to the stomach) underdeveloped. Therefore, the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract is somewhat slow. Immaturity of some enzymes and lack of coordination in the processes of breathing, sucking and swallowing, more characteristic of preterm infants and small children also predispose to regurgitation.
Spitting up can also be associated with overeating, frequent feeding, aerophagy (swallowing air). Yes, they can be a manifestation of some kind of neurological pathology, but this is very rare, especially if there are no other symptoms of the disease.

The baby often "goggles". The doctor said that this is a symptom of Grefe and does not need to be treated. What is this symptom and why does it appear in young children?

Graefe's symptom in infants is a white line that remains between the iris and the upper eyelid when the child looks down. By itself, Graefe's symptom is not indicates the presence of any health problems in children. It is often observed in healthy children with a change in lighting or body position, and also Graefe's symptom may simply be an individual feature of the structure of the baby's eyes (it is often present in children with large eyes). Sometimes this symptom occurs due to the immaturity of the nervous system of the child. In these cases, Graefe's symptom does not need to be treated, it usually disappears during the first 6 months of the baby's life.

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