32 answers

Head Shaking

I am a first time mom so of course I am concerned with everything. My son just turned 8 mths and he is just growing like a weed. He has hit every milestone with flying colors. He crawled at 7 mths and is now standing alone for a few seconds. He has been eating baby food for 4 mths and just started eating some "real" food. He has 2 teeth and has said mama. Like I said reaching milestones. Here is the thing, he just within the last couple days started shaking his head. At first it was like 4 times total. Now it is about 10 times a day. No one seems to be concerned...but me. Everyone said if it was autisum he wouldn't be reaching milestones. Ive also heard it could be teething or ear infection. He has been teething and has had a slight cough. Can someone shed light and tell me their child is doing this and they are ok. I have a ped appointment on NOV 12, so if I need to take him earlier I will. I hope this is normal.

Thank you!

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Featured Answers

T. -

I had a younger brother that did the head shaking. It was definitely an ear infection/ear problem issue.

L. L.

No need to worry as far as I know. My son started doing it some around that time and still does it (he's 10 months old now). I don't think he associates it with "no", but it's just something that feels different to them and they like learning how to do new things with their body.

Well, it could be completely normal and just something he's realized he can do... so he does it.

But it could also be a sign of ear infections.

Also, is he vaccinated? What vaccines did he receive right before he started this head shaking?

More Answers

My dd went through that stage. Here's my advice, shake your head back and forth really fast...I'll wait ;) Kind of a cool feeling right? Almost like being dizzy? He probably is just enjoying the new sensation and has figured out that shaking his head makes him feel a certain way. It's absolutely nothing to be worried about. We made it a game. When my dd would shake her head, we would too! She would giggle and giggle. Eventually she outgrew the phase and hasn't done it since. Give it time and this too shall pass. Just wait till he starts spinning in circles to get dizzy and falling over everything!

1 mom found this helpful

We thought my daughter was autistic till she hit about 3 and was actually old enough to test, so i can tell you with some certainty that if this is the only thing you find odd and he's doing everything else he should be for his age it is NOT autism. dd didn't so much as hold her head up on her own till about 9 months and then the other milestones followed at the normal rate that they would have had she hit the first one on time. luckily she's 5 1/2 and healthy as can be and whatever the dealy was there are no signs of it now. I think the other posts said it very well, whatever is making him shake his head he's probally just decided it's cool and wants to keep doing it, or maybe it's something he picked up from you. i know i shake my head when i used to tell the kids no. you're in for a treat of such behaviors, my boys went through a walking into walls phase, a jumping of furniture phase, a banging head on floor phase, the i hate you and want a new mommy phase, that one hurt, biting, nail biting, thumb sucking, hitting, you name it, it's has been an eventful 9 years that i wouldn't trade for the world. enjoy the good and the more annoying and even the bad because it passes way to fast.

1 mom found this helpful

I bet your kid gets the dizzy spins and this new sensation feels totally freaking cool! Why, I bet he's never had this feeling before and likes to try to recreate it to see if he can do it again and again and see if he gets the same results.

Think about it this way: When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to go to the carnival and ride the scrambler, the viking ship, or other rides that spun or shifted me around like crazy. They made me feel a little funny and it was cool. As an adult however, just thinking about those things make me a little nauseous.

Kids are going to do tons of weird things that have no explanation, but it doesn't mean they're not healthy or there's some underlying cause. They'll do it 'just 'cuz'". Your child might stick a few fingers down his throat to make himself gag or vomit. No, he's not a budding bulimic but he's learning something new. His little tiny fingers will find their way into his nostrils. He might not be digging for gold, but just amazed that he's found another place on his body that was undiscovered...and wait til he finds his private parts! Chances are he won't be thinking sexual thoughts, but more along the lines of "hey what's this...oh my, it feels different and kinda good!"

The head shaking sounds totally normal. Make sure he's away from walls or other object upon which he might bang his head. Also, try not to make a big deal out of it. If you draw attention to the activity, he'll learn that it is something to do to grab mommy's attention.

1 mom found this helpful

T., I would not worry about your son. Like others have told you, babies often do things because of teething or having a cold. And sometimes when the shake their head they get a feeling of dizziness that after the first time they like that feeling, it is funny to them or it is comforting. He might just be doing it because he likes the way if feels. If he continues and you still feel concerned then ask your doctor.If everything else is normal for him I would relax and continue to enjoy his milestones. Babies are amazing. goodluck

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.! Last year around Thanksgiving my daughter was doing the same thing. She was 7 months at the time. We thought it was just that she had learned something new and was repeating us monkey-see monkey-do style. She did have a double ear infection that took 2 rounds of oral and ear drop meds to clear up. She was also crying at night when we put her down...we thought she was teething again and that is why she crying. I would have the ears checked because it is getting the time of year for it with the constant temp changes. Also, look for pulling on the ears which another sign of ear infection. Hope this helps!!


Autistic children can reach milestones and then later have an autism diagnosis. My son now five reach every milestone except a slight language delay that we did not notice until 2.5 years old. I am not saying that your child has autism but if you are concerned you can look up some signs and symptoms of autism on the net. I would also look into seizures. That could be why he is head shaking.


The thing is, the stuff you said about your son that was typical is more indicative of autism than shaking his head a few times. I don't say that to scare you or anybody, but the fact is that your son could seem perfect until age three and still have an autistic spectrum disorder. My suggestion to you, and to anyone who is worried about development is to read the simple early warning signs from Autismspeaks.org Take any of these warning signs seriously and if you see them, don't wait to see if they out grow it like uncle the your friend's cousin's step daugther who did the same thing and is now an honor student, find out from a professional. But if you don't see those signs, then don't worry!

Enjoy your baby.

i wouldn't worry. my little one did the same thing around the same time (and i was concerned as well). she just enjoyed doing it. as long as he seems fine and no other strange things that would make you worry then i'm sure he is o.k.

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