There are many behavioral traits of babies that immediately pique interest. One of the most common ones is a baby shaking its head back and forth. While it is indeed very common, most of us are still unaware of the various reasons behind this behavior.

Is it normal? Is it something to be concerned about? Actually, it can be either. A baby shaking head back and forth usually happens during sleep, playtime, and even nursing. Some parents brush it off while others her anxious when they see this happening too often. 

The aim of this write-up is to present to you the various reasons behind a baby shaking head back and forth. While we will outline both the normal as well as abnormal causes of the same, we would still recommend you to consult a GP to get a complete picture of why it’s happening and adopt any measures if the reason is concerning.

With that being said, let’s check out the various reasons why your baby might be shaking their head back and forth.

Normal reasons for head shaking in babies

Usually, head shaking is considered normal behavior in most babies. In fact, it is a characteristic trait of development in a baby. So it is quite possible that your baby is perfectly healthy and is not having any health concerns to be worried about. With that being said, here are some normal reasons that your baby is shaking their head back and forth:


Development of motor skills 

As infants figure out how to control their bodies and experience the development of the muscles, they need to hold up their heads on their own and test their development capacities. In such cases, head shaking can assist them with better development of their motor skills.

It helps them relax

Many babies will shake their heads back and forth in order to help themselves relax and drift away to sleep.

Abnormal reasons for head shaking in babies 

While head shaking in itself is not usually a reason to get concerned, it is worrisome if the behavior occurs along with other conditions. In such cases, your baby could be suffering from some underlying illness or growth issues and would need medical attention. 

Issues in the ear

In case the shaking of the head is in tandem with conditions such as a cold, fever, or constantly touching the ear, then it is suggested to get in touch with your baby’s pediatrician immediately as these traits usually indicate an infection in the ear.


Autism Spectrum Disorder

Very regular occurrence of head shaking back and forth, along with signs of autism in a baby would indicate autism spectrum disorder. In such cases, get in touch with your pediatrician immediately. Some symptoms of this include:

✓ Lack of response to their name or voices of family members

✓ Tendency to partake in cycles of the same behavior

✓ Slow development of key skills associated with speech, language, understanding, social skills, or expression

✓ Regular occurrences of your baby banging their head on a surface

Myoclonic Epilepsy

Babies with myoclonic epilepsy tend to go through head spasms arising from issues in the nervous system. This could indicate myoclonic epilepsy and should be brought to the attention of your baby’s pediatrician immediately.