Newborn shakes legs and arms: how to interpret it?

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Newborn shakes legs and arms: how to interpret it?

Il behavior of newborns it often always appears difficult to interpret. Does shivering always communicate physical discomfort? Do frequent movements indicate the presence of a malaise? Let's try to do some clarity.

In this article

  • The movements of the newborn
  • The body language of the newborn

The movements of the newborn

For at least the first year of life, the body is not only the main one means of communication of the child, but it is also the instrument thanks to which he begins to explore the world. A certain "restlessness" is therefore more than normal in this moment of childhood: the little one is hit by a wave of external stimuli and, when he is not sleeping, he never misses an opportunity to become familiar with all that surrounds him.

Not only that, all these stimuli lead the little ones to respond with automatic reflexes (the so-called archaic reflexes) caused by the neonatal instinct and which therefore make babies act in ways that might appear bizarre to the eyes of an inexperienced adult. By placing a finger in the baby's hand, for example, we will notice how the little one is instinctively inclined to squeeze it: it is the prehension reflex. By stimulating the baby's cheek, on the other hand, we will stimulate the sucking reflex, which will prompt the baby to turn around with his mouth open, as if he were to suckle from the breast.

So, if the newborn wave your arms and legs frantically (sometimes even with a little tremor), there is no need to worry: he is probably just looking for the lost balance!

Read also: The instinctive reflexes of the newborn

The body language of the newborn

If crying is often - not always - a sign of discomfort (hunger, sleep, dirty diaper or discomfort), many baby movements could be interpreted with concern from parents, but in the majority of cases there is nothing to fear. Here are some of the most frequent actions that children take involuntarily e they must not cause particular alarms.

  • Wheezing at regular intervals with chest shaking with short tremors: it's a simple hiccup. Pass on its own or you can treat it by administering a few drops of warm water.
  • The baby suckles empty at night or far from the moment of feeding: it is the aforementioned sucking reflex, it is not a clear signal of appetite.
  • Arms spread out and head turned to the side: it is the manifestation of the Moro reflex, another automatic reflex triggered by sudden noises, sudden changes in the baby's position (eg: from belly down to supine position) or loss of balance.
  • Scratches on the cheeks: it is not self-harm, but a simple side effect of the combination of too long claws and the instinct to frequently touch the face with the little hands.
  • Chills on contact with water not accompanied by crying: it means that the little one likes contact with water.

SOURCES: Bambino Gesù Hospital; NCBI

  • newborn 0-3 months
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