Baby shakes head side to side? This is when you need to worry!

Baby shakes head side to side is often a sign of appropriate growth in reflexes and motor abilities. On the other hand, the trembling of the head might indicate more severe problems in certain instances. Most infants begin to move their heads on purpose sometime during the first few months of life. By the second month, most of the time, they have mastered the technique of directing it toward a sound. By the time they are one year old, most newborns have begun to shake their heads; in some instances, this behavior may start much earlier.

One of the most important steps in maturation is exercising self-control over one’s ideas. Most babies incline their heads toward sounds between 2 and 3 months old. When they are four months old, they have learned to readily raise and move their heads in any direction they want. Additionally, during this time, it is not uncommon for parents and other caregivers to notice that their child’s head is beginning to wobble. Here we will discuss more babies shaking heads from side to side.

What causes the baby to shake its head from side to side?

Following are reasons why baby shakes their head side to side


Rocking a baby’s head from side to side may be comforting and calming for some infants. This behavior is usually caused by exhaustion, anxiety, or a desire to sleep. A baby’s attempts at self-soothing are not harmful and May even help them feel more at ease in novel surroundings.

Matter of personal health:

Shaking the head as one of many signs in an otherwise healthy infant, is very unusual. Parents and other caregivers should keep a careful eye on a person whose head-shaking is accompanied by other signs and symptoms like weeping or not meeting developmental milestones.

Pain or irritation in the ear canal:

Some babies may attempt to soothe themselves by shaking their heads when feeling anxious or upset. When a baby suddenly starts shaking its head, it might be a sign that they have an ear infection. You should remember if the newborn also has a fever or is tugging at their ear. Antibiotics are a typical therapy course that medical professionals recommend for ear infections.


Infants learn new skills by practicing them over and over again. For a baby, who had previously had very little control over their surroundings, the development of head control might be a significant turning point. A newborn with relatively new head control may experiment with tilting their head in all directions. A baby will naturally move its head toward a familiar or exciting sound, such as a loud crash or the voice of a parent or caregiver.

A baby may move its head from side to side as it tries to focus on the many sounds around it, especially if a lot of people are talking at once. The jerking of the head may be stopped in a quieter environment.


Babies can understand a language far before they can express themselves via it. This means that infants as young as six months may be able to understand a small portion of what they hear from their parents. Even at birth, a baby may attempt to interact with their environment by shaking their head. By the time they are a year old, infants often shake their heads to say “no” or express unhappiness.

Epilepsy, particularly in infants:

Myoclonic jerks are a kind of movement abnormality that may affect people with epilepsy, particularly infants. Muscle spasms occur suddenly and only last a few seconds at a time throughout these convulsions. Myoclonic jerks may involve any portion of the body, including the heads and necks of certain infants. Because the jerks are so brief, it’s likely that parents and other caregivers wouldn’t first identify them as seizures. Professionals in the medical field may find this to be accurate as well.

Constantly acting in jerky myoclonic bursts:

Myoclonus causes involuntary, often violent jerking of the muscles. If a newborn has them, it won’t seem like they’re deliberately shaking their head since they’re only learning to control their powers. Autistic people often rely on their bodies to help them relax or re-energize. They may nod or shake their heads depending on the circumstances. A newborn may have autism if they miss developmental milestones, learn skills, lose them, and do not make eye contact with parents or caregivers.

Problems with the nervous system:

If a baby seems unable to control their head shaking, or if it occurs with other unusual movements or behaviors, it may be a sign of a neurological disorder. For instance, in the case of the condition of rhombencephalosynapsis, there are deviations in cerebellar development. Most of the 59 afflicted children had symptoms of chronic head shaking for years before getting a formal diagnosis. Babies born with neurological disorders sometimes struggle to reach typical developmental milestones like speaking, walking, and feeding themselves.

Shocking assaults:

Infants and young children almost seldom suffer from the seemingly random outbreaks of shaking known as shuddering. A baby’s head may move in tandem with its body if it is trembling or shaking. In most cases, these assaults pose a minimal health risk, and doctors still haven’t figured out what triggers them. A physician may investigate other possibilities, such as neurological disorders or head trauma. Parents or caregivers should also bring up any unusual behavior at the baby’s next well-child visit.

Symptoms of baby shaking head side to side:

Concerning or out-of-the-ordinary behavior in a baby should prompt a trip to the pediatrician. A severe developmental or neurological disorder might benefit from early therapies, and ear infections and other common diseases may also benefit from early treatment, preventing them from deteriorating. If a baby isn’t turning their head toward noises by four months old, or if they’re showing other symptoms like fever, seeming agitated, or being unable to regulate their head or movements, it’s time to make an appointment with the pediatrician.


As they play and investigate their surroundings, infants constantly pick up new skills and knowledge. It is not unusual for unusual behaviors to appear with exceptional skills. Baby shaking head side to side is, in the vast majority of cases, an indication that the newborn is actively examining and interacting with the world around them. If a baby seems distressed or is displaying any symptoms, it is imperative that they be sent to the pediatrician immediately.


Should anyone be worried about the kid if he keeps shaking his head?

Your kid may have an ear infection if they also show symptoms such as a cold, fever, tiredness, pulling at their ears and shaking their heads.

Can a baby shakes head side to side be considered typical behavior?

Shaking one’s head and similar actions are typically seen as typical infant development. On the other hand, there are situations where the behavior goes beyond just shaking. If your infant doesn’t seem interested in you or their siblings, it’s time to see a doctor.

What is Sandifer syndrome?

Paroxysmal spasms of the head, neck, and back, with sparing of the limbs, characterize Sandifer syndrome, a kind of movement disease. Infants and young children with SS often have GERD.