19 answers

My Son Rocks Back and Forth All the Time. I Am Worried

My son is a very happy and active 10 month old. He is very social..he waves bye bye and smiles alot but he rarely laughs. He rocks back and forth most of the time. Which is a real concern for me. I talked with the doctor about it and he seems to think he is just fine and is soothing himself. any advice would be great.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi K.,
My daughter is 9 months old and recently started doing the same thing. I was concerned at first too, but the more I talked with friends and family the more I realized that all babies do this. So I don't think there is anything you should be concerned about, especially if he's content and happy.

I would definitely keep an eye on that. If he continues to do that and/or exhibits other behaviors that concern you, seek the advice of another doctor. You are a good mom to notice this and seek advice.

More Answers

Hi K.,
My daughter is 9 months old and recently started doing the same thing. I was concerned at first too, but the more I talked with friends and family the more I realized that all babies do this. So I don't think there is anything you should be concerned about, especially if he's content and happy.

I would get more advise or testing if it was me. Sounds like a possiable problem. You can't count on the Dr's always being right been there & I know personally my daughter has Autism it's mild but it's a learning problem for her & I really had to push to get a referal & testing but now at least she gets the extra help she needs to suceed. The sooner you get a diagnosis of a problem the better for the child and IF there's not a problem GREAT but you can't hurt anything by further checking into things. I've been told & agree that a Mother knows & senses when something isn't right.... if you feel something may not be right then do what you need to do for yourself & your child to find out!



I would pursue an expert in childhood development. The rocking is a self soother on one hand but also could be a sign of autism. Don't freak out at the word there are all kinds of autism on the spectrum. My daughter was diagnosed at 4 months and because of the early diagnosis she received all the therapies IN HOME. She is a now wonderful 14 year old doing exceptionally well. If you buy the "he's fine and will grow out of it" message you may loose precious years of assistance that could help him overcome obstacles later.

I would not take the doc's passe explanation but search out for a developmental specialist to see if there is any concern or health issue such as autism involved. EARLY DETECTION and INTERVENTION now will mean a solid future for him.

Good Luck!

J. W.

darling, don't worry too much about it. my little sister did that since she started crawling....a frend of my mothers (an old indian lady) told her that they call them rythem (spelling) babies....and my sister is now 23 years old....she still does it to this day. its like a soothing way to calm them down, or she now does it when she is worried or nervous. now my daughter does it. nothing to worry about, its like their security blanket.

I am a mom of two boys that have developmental delays. For kids under three you have to get in touch with your county. They offer infant/toddler services and will come to your house and have your son evaluated and ask you a bunch of questions. If they see anything that is a concern they will let you know. They might also suggest you take him to a developmental pediatrician to get evaluated but there is an exteremely long waiting list. Try the infant/toddler services first. If they see and needs that your child has they will offer services for free and try to get him help. It is a lot better if you address this issue early cause if he does have any developmental delays or needs help in speech or any other issue they will get him the proper help to take care of it all.

I recently read somewhere that it is normal for babies that age to rock to sooth themselves(up until 18 mos I believe). Are you involved with Parents as teachers? They are a great free resource thru your school district and are very helpful with questions like that. They come to your house periodically until your child is age 3. my baby is only 6 wks but i have already found it so helpful in re: what is normal developmentally,etc at this age. They also offer all sorts of workshops,screenings,etc.

You sound like you are very aware of your child. Sometimes new mommies worry too much. But it's smart to be aware and careful. You got lots of great advice so far from others. I would say everybody had great points to give you,....also check out websites on aspergers syndrome. Some of the other people who wrote you could possibly have relatives with that as well. It is thought to be a mild form of autism. I don't know if it is true but I have heard that even Bill Gates has it. It's definately associated with high intelligence. Keep searching until you are satisfied that your child is doing fine and that you are doing all you can for him.

Get involved with your Parents As Teachers program. They are run through your school district and it is a free service. A parent educator will come out to your home for visits every 4-6 weeks and they are a great resource! Also it's always better to have someone evaluate a child in their own home where they are more comfortable! Sometimes there are waiting lists but if you tell them you have concerns they might get you in right away!

I don't think you have any reason to worry. I used to drive my parents crazy rocking back and forth all the time. I have no problems and it created no side effects. It was just a way of passing the time so to speak. I'm sure your son is fine. No need to worry hon.


Some of the big signs to look for at 10 months are turning when he hears his name, making eye contact (more than just a fleeting glance), smiling in response to your smile, "checking" with you when you go someplace new-at a new house or with a new person, does he look at you to see if it is allright?, waving bye-bye and babbling. Also, try pointing to a toy across the room to see if he looks where you're pointing and look for him to be pointing to objects (this should be happening by 12 months). If he's missing some of those big milestones, I would definately follow up with the pediatrician, or a second opinion if necessary.

If you're in Missouri, definately follow up with Parents as Teachers. Remember to trust your gut instinct--mom's almost always know best! If you're concerned and your pediatrician isn't, follow up with a second opinion.

The best thing to do at this point is try to re-direct him. If U see him rocking himself, self-soothing, stimming...there are many different descriptions....re-direct him as best U can. Get a favorite toy out, sing..anything he likes to do. Instead of calling attention to it, and I know he's young, just walk over and pick him up, get into his line of vision and engage with him. This is what I was taught by a behavior analyst and it has worked for us. Best of luck to U.

I would definitely keep an eye on that. If he continues to do that and/or exhibits other behaviors that concern you, seek the advice of another doctor. You are a good mom to notice this and seek advice.


I agree with the other posts that you should follow your instincts and get this checked out further. I have a four year old son who is on the autism spectrum. He is high functioning meaning that he seems very normal, is very happy, was the perfect baby, extremely intelligent but we noticed very odd things from the time of his birth and especially after vaccinations. The doctor assured me that he was fine and all kids were different but he was not fine. Finally, at 3.5 he got the diagnosis. Missouri has the first steps program which helps if you catch it from infancy to 3. Since you are starting out at this age, look for an early intervention program where you are. I missed out on a lot of help with the delayed diagnosis. He is getting help now but it would have been better to start earlier when I noticed the first signs. We got the diagnosis from the pediatric neurologist.

Also, someone mentioned distracting your son from his rocking. Do what you feel is best for your son. I have met with behavior modification instructors who discourage a display of symptoms so that your child can appear "normal". There are a lot of kids who rock for comfort and I believe that if a kid can comfort themselves, the more power to them. I personally dont believe in masking my sons symptoms. I see them as cues to let me know that he is having a rough sensory processing day and then I can have more compassion with him when other things occur during the day. Stemming doesnt harm them, but it does show you what is happening in their brain. Anyways, just another perspective on the subject.

He is your child, follow your gut and do what you believe is best for him. Best of luck! You are obviously a great mother.


Trust your feelings...contact DHS or some one who can do the basic screening. I am not suggesting a small hint of autism or any developmental problems.My Doctor reassured me constantly that my 2 year old was shy. Trust yourself.

C. H.

My sister used to rock all the time, sometimes in the car she would rock so hard the car would be moving and once she got in school she would actually flip over her chair. We shared a room and she would even rock her self to sleep in her bed. She eventually quit with lots of redirection and reminding. she is fine and was even in gifted classes when in school she is now 26, married, and has 2 kids and is working on her masters degree in nursing. I know this can be a sign of autism but I also think you need to use your mommy instinct, does he have any other symptoms or is this really just a soothing devices he uses rather that sucking something or using a favorite toy or blanket.

You need to ask yourself is this aggressive, and is he normal in every other way? There are several questions to ask yourself. 1. Has this just started, how rapid is his rocking? 2. Did this start after immunizations were given. We have a friend who has a son who was tested gifted. He was 2 & got multiple immunizations to catch up, and got really sick and a week later started rocking. He had been talking and no longer could talk. The doctors did test and he was autistic. They did receive funds from the Gov. for those children who had severe adverse affects from the immunizations. What most people don't know is that there is a portion of the price of the immunizations that goes to the government for this fund even today. Back then the mercury level was extremely high. Today they have reduced the mercury level, but some kids are just very sensitive to it.

my sister did this as a baby, even knocking her head on the crib

moms doc said it was self-soothing also

my sister is now 36, two kids, highly successful career, promotions all the time

just my two cents

I am not trying to worry you or anything but I would get a second opinion. Especially if your son avoids eye contact. My little brother is autistic, my parents had him tested for years and he was only recently diagnosed with moderate autism. Your son could be absolutely normal, but if there is something it is much better to get as early a start on treatment as possible. God bless you in your endeavor.

I can understand being concerned with rocking, however, this behavior can be very normal, and he may outgrow it. For example: all kids may flap their hands some, but it only becomes a concern when it interferes with other skills. As long as your son is playing appropriately with toys, giving you eye contact, imitating sounds and motions (clapping, waving, "so big"), I would just watch and see if he "outgrows" it, or if the behavior changes. If you continue to be concerned you may want to research "sensory integration" but at his young age if he is doing all the other things mentioned and if the rocking doesn't stop him from interacting with people and toys in his environment than I would just watch it.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.