One Year Old Rocking Back and Forth

Updated on February 22, 2012
Y.S. asks from Pacific Grove, CA
14 answers

Hello ladies,
I have a One year old baby boy, for the last 2-3 months he has been off and on doing this rocking back and forth motion while in a sitting position. Have any of you experience this with your child.

He has no symptoms of Autism, he is very social, verbal, responce to his name, makes eye contact, etc.

I took him to the pediatrician about one month ago and was told not to worry about it, that it may be a coping mechanism for him and to keep a careful eye on his diet. Perhaps he is not getting enough protein and too many carbs and sugars. He had stop for two weeks and all of a sudden started again this past weekend non-stop.

I took him for a 2nd opinion and the pediatrician says there is nothing to worry about he is totally normal. He did say he would contact his neuorological doctor friend and ask him if this should be something of concern and a visit.

Any ideas?

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answers from San Francisco on

Kids do all kinds of weird stuff. Mine would bang her head on things. She did it for a few months and then just stopped after we started just ignoring it. She also liked to spin in a circle until she was so dizzy she couldn't stand up and would be happy to do this far longer than an adult would find it amusing. She thought it was great. She also stopped doing it after a while. When my daughter was learning how to walk, and motor skills were being developed, she'd rock, shimmy and wiggle herself in all sorts of weird ways to feel out how her body worked.

Kids like exploring their world in different ways. If he's doing the rocking in his spare time and it's not interfering with him eating or sleeping, then I wouldn't worry unless he's still doing it when he's older and stops responding to external stimuli.

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answers from San Francisco on

My mom says I was a head banger. I obviously outgrew it.

To be on the safer side, I'd be cautious about vaccines. Maybe do one at a time, or just the ones that are important right now and wait on the rest.



answers from New York on

HI , i know that It has been a while since you posted this, but what happened ?? My son is rocking like that too, he is 15 months ols and he does it when i put in to bed. He sits up and just rocks fast until falling asleep! Is this normal?


answers from San Francisco on

I have heard that rocking yourself is a way to self soothe. Some suck their finger or rub their ear, your son just rocks. My husband does it till this day. It is not for lack of attention, trust me he gets enough. LOL

I wouldn't worry about it



answers from Sacramento on

Yes, I do. Im not sure if you had your son in the swing much or for long, but my 5yr still does it. I believe its because I had him in the swing, & he didt get out of the swing until he was 22 months. But my son usually does it when he is tired & trying to calm down. But I never thought anything serious about it. My son is completely normal, very verbal & social.



answers from San Francisco on

You're reminding me that my now 19 mos. old son did the same thing at around that age. He doesn't do it now and he grew out of it. It did totally freak me out though. He also briefly did the head bang thing. A lot of times these are just phases that pass. I'm sure your baby is fine, but if you are concerned, you can always get a 2nd opinion. No one is going to make fun of you for caring about your child and wanting to make sure your baby is healthy.



answers from Nashville on

My son is 5 years old and has been rocking since day one! It worried me for a long time but I have spoken with three doctors and they all seem to think it is just a coping mechanism, like thumb sucking. He does it when he is tired or groggy and when he is relaxing as well. I have had to prewarn his teachers so they knew and didn't assume the worst. But besides that he is totally normal, very social, verbal, eye contact, all of the above.

When I am standing in line at the grocery store I find myself rocking a little too!



answers from Bakersfield on

Hi Y.-
I don't think there is anything wrong with your baby. My nephew is almost one and he does it on and off. When kids learn to crawl, they get on their knees and rock back and forth to get their coordination going. When they start trying to walk, they do the same thing- very wobbly- and start walking, looking like a miniature frankenstein with their hands straight out in front of them, stiff legged.
My nephew eats a very healthy diet of fruits, veggies, and some protein, along with oats and some formula. Most of the time when he rocks or bounces, he is usually tired, really excited and upbeat, or wanting to "dance" to the video or music we put on. He also likes to rock and bounce in his high chair, and treats it like a game (be careful- so they don't bump their little faces on the tray's edge and startle themselves!). I also think, because he can't get up and run around, that all that energy is trying to go somewhere.
If your child starts exhibiting spasms or strange jerks and is not receptive or responsive to you, then worry. But I think your doc is right and as long as the fruits, veggies, and protein are balanced in his diet along with an oatmeal or something, he is and should continue to be just fine.
Hope this helps.



answers from Stockton on

It could be nothing to worry about. BUT be watchful for more signs. This is one particular thing children with autism do. Check out the autism list on line to learn more signs and symptoms.
Does he point to things or people?
Does he have eye contact?
Does he play in an unusual way? like lining up toys instead of playing appropriately with them?
Does he cry for no apparent reason?
Has he sensory issues -like, bites fabirc, toys, or himself?
The autism research institute has a checklist.
You can also go to or

Good luck



answers from Salinas on

I would have to know more information to help you. Does your child make good eye contact? Can he say momma and dadda? Does he answer to his name or point? These are the sorts of questions your pediatrician should have asked and if he didn't, I'd get a second opinion. It is probably nothing, but, can be a sign of some other concerning stuff.



answers from San Francisco on

This may not be professional advice :) but my sister was a rocker. She would sit up in bed or while we were watching TV, etc. and just rock. She did it for years, at least until she was 6 or 7 if not older. She is now 30 and completely fine, though she almost hates to sit still. Give her a rocking chair of any sort and she still rocks, rocks, rocks. Neither of her children (or mine) do this, but she did for years. I remember one time when she was about 5, she was sitting up in bed rocking and she rocked herself right onto the floor. Aside from that it was a pretty harmless habit, though even she now says, "People must have thought something was wrong with me!"

As a mom I can definitely understand your concern, but I bet it is just a coping/soothing mechanism and probably a habit he will eventually grow out of. Best of luck!



answers from Sacramento on

If he waves bye-bye, points to things to draw your attention to them, tries to interact with other children, etc., he's probably not going to develop autism (it usually starts showing up by 18 months, and in my son it started showing up at 11 months). The rocking is probably nothing to be concerned about, but if you feel in your gut that something is not quite "right", then listen to your mother's instinct and get an evaluation from a "developmental pediatrician" (not just a regular pediatrician). If you feel in your heart that nothing is wrong, and your pediatricians have both said nothing is wrong, than I would not worry about it.
Best wishes,



answers from Cleveland on

My 12 month year old does the same rocking and has been doing so since about 6 months. She usually does it out of boredom (being in a car seat for too long) or being tired. Supposedly it is a comfort mechanism, especially if you rocked your child as an infant. They mimic this rocking motion when stressed, tired, bored. I breast fed in a rocking chair almost exclusively until 6-7 months, so that explains why she mimics the action, but some infants/toddlers do it naturally. I guess it goes away by the time they are 3. I understand your worry, b/c I worried too (thinking the worst case scenario, autism, etc.), but was assured by the pediatrician that many children do this (same as head butting the crib) and eventually grow out of it.


answers from Boston on

Hi Y.,

My son and daughter both did the rocking thing for a period of time. My daughter would swing her leg while in the high chair, and it turned out, she would whack her foot on the chair, creating a sort of rocking movement and it typically preceded her falling asleep--she did it while lying in her crib as well.

If the Pediatrician isn't overly concerned, I'd agree that it's a coping mechanism. I know from experience that it can be soothing--I tend to rock myself (not with a rocking chair or anything, just while sitting quietly) and I'm a capable, well-adjusted (mostly! LOL) adult.

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