55 answers

5 Month Old Shakes Head from Side to Side

I have a baby boy who is almost 5 mos old and has begun shaking his head from side to side... as if he is trying to say "no". I remember that he had done this maybe at about 2 mos of age, but it had stopped. Now all of a sudden, it has started again and I'm worried that something may be wrong with him. He does not do it all day, but only when he is about to go to sleep. It scared me so much last night that I counted the shakes and there was one series of 15 shakes (counting 1 for right and 1 for left)! Does anyone have experience with this? Do you know what it could be?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My son has done a similar head shake on and off from about the same age. He's now 19 months and we call it shaking his brains. He laughs and thinks it is a funny game. He seems to function normally on all other fronts. I worried at first as well. I think they are just getting the feel for their bodies.

In Secrets of the Babywisperer-she mentions that movement as a way for babys to "self soothe". I have one of those little video moniters and have noticed my 4 month old doing the same thing...

My now 3 yr old used to shake his head side to side to stay awake, just his way of fighting sleep....

More Answers

Hi, my grandson did this but it was really a response to us. I guess you have to see if it is playful or if it seems he is lost in his own world with it. If he is not looking at you and he is not responding to your being there, I would investigate some things.
I am the mother of an autistic son. I would ask you, how he is developing and does he interact with you...eye contact, engages with you, babbles...if these areas are okay, it could just be self soothing. If you are seeing a decline in his interaction or any of these areas, then write me back. What shots has he had and when?

You can ask your pediatriician about it, but I suspect it is a relaxation and stress reliever for him. Children sometimes use repetitive movements to put themselves to sleep. Watch to see if he starts to do it at other times of the day other than when he is going to sleep

Hi C.! It could be just a repetitive motion that is self-comforting. But I think that I would call the pediatrician and have him/her look at your baby's ears, nose & throat. Ask about neurological problems, don't shy away...ask the doctor how such problems are diagnosed & what symptoms professionals look for. God bless you, first-time mom! Lucy

Sounds like he is just saying "no" in a silly way. Try telling him that he only needs to shake his head once otherwise he will get dizzy.

Hi C.,

My 16-month old son does the same thing but not all the time. He just started a few weeks ago. He was laughing when he shook his head. We told him to stop but he would not because he was experiencing the fun. I am not sure what it is.

Hi Chrisitine,
Our son does this too at around the same time of age... we were worried that it might be seizures! But then I read in a parenting magazine that if you're pediatrician says it's not anything serious - that it might be a 'shuddering response usually triggered by happiness"

So I would check with your doc - and if it's all clear - maybe he's just very happy?!
: )

If you're worried, talk to your doctor as you need to trust your gut. But, I think I remember my daughter doing this and it first we thought it was kinda funny and then I actually got concerned. And then it stopped.

You can find a good chiropractor for kids at www.icpa4kids.com - since sometimes kids can be in pain or uncomfortable from a headache, etc and can't tell you. Neurologically, this might just take care of it. There is a lot of research on the site.

(I've been adjusted since I was 2 days old (I'm 33 now) - and my sons were both adjusted at some point within the month after they were born.)

My first son was 3 weeks old and just started screaming uncontrollably - completely NOT his style. I got him adjusted and literally immediately, he went back to my happy baby. I've seen things like kids shaking thier heads or hitting themselves and then after an adjustment, they are fine.

Keep in mind, it usually takes only one to a few adjustments - and kids respond really fast to them.

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