Why does my baby rock back and forth while sitting?

Looking at your baby rocking back and forth is funny. Your baby rocks back and forth mean a lot of things.

Mainly this is because the child is feeling playful or sometimes they have found a new way of using their arms and legs.

In other ways, If the child is trying to gain the necessary leg and arm strength to crawl enough, they normally rock back and forth without apparent reason.

Most often this is nothing to worry about. But if the rocking can get so extreme, Dear parents you need to be more concerned at this point.

At seven months of age, your baby shows a fair inclination or tries to crawl. Their body language shows that clearly.

This body preparedness takes the pattern of rocking back and forth. They rock back and forth as they try to determine how to propel forward into a crawling motion.

So this part of exploring his or her motor skills is very normal. It is your duty to encourage these movements at this point further.

Some babies show rocking back and forth as a response to external environmental factors ( ex – when you encourage them to dance etc. ), It is not unusual for your baby to show rocking movements.

At the age of nine months, these types of rocking movements are possible with your babies and they show these when they try to fall asleep.

These rocking movements get them a soothing feeling. But the problem arises when the rocking movements still exist even at the 2-year of age limit.

Small children rock back and forth frequently. Sometimes their whole body moves rhythmically and in some cases do head banging and head rolling while the trunk moves back end forth.

1. Is it normal for babies to rock back and forth?

All children pass a rocking phase in their developmental cycle. At the end of the tummy time, most babies practiced press-ups independently.

They try to maintain their balance at this practice stage of pressing up. Rocking back and forth is a kind of accessory movement that those babies are used to maintain their balance.

Sometimes babies use side-to-side rocking movements to maintain the sitting balance by strengthening and exercising the lateral muscles.

Few toddlers rock their heads for entertaining or demanding things.

Most of the time babies use rocking movements as a self-soothing technique or muscle-strengthening method.

Take this specific behavior as a light habit if your baby fulfills its essential needs in early life. So most often this is a normal thing for most infants and toddlers.

Rocking is an attention-grabbing activity

Sometimes children are very tired or they feel bored and non of the activities is stimulating them. So this time babies need to join with their surrounding people.

Older toddlers use rocking as a tactic to prevent going to bed or avoid the thing they are doing.

The body rocking is often beginning and ends around the age of 4. Toddlers find other ways to keep themselves entertained, focused, or self-soothed.

2. Rocking back and forth – What does it look like

Most of the time babies start this rocking behavior at nearly eight months old. It can be continued for a few years. They start rocking back and forth while sitting first.

At this time, they don’t like to stay in their tummy for so long and they try to up on their feet.

If parents give support to them to pull them up, they go straight with their feet and can scoot a short distance.

Then eventually they come back into a sitting position. They bend over to reach for toys and even suck the toys.

So you can see the kid sitting on the floor with their hands on the floor between the legs. Then they start to sway back and forth. This behavior can extend into the standing position even.

In another way, they lie down and bang their head on a pillow or mattress. This happens against the wall when they are standing.

Most of the time babies do rapid rocking extending one to two seconds. Typically, it won’t extend more than a few minutes.

Humming or a few different vocal sounds may be associated with the rocking movement types.

According to the researchers they say this is not purely an attention-seeking behavior

3. Reasons for your baby rocking back and forth?

Most of the time if the child won’t have any stimulation to deal with and they are very tired, they start to rock back and forth. Older toddlers, rock back and forth for different reasons.

If they don’t want to go to bed or want to nap, they try to do everything possible not to go to bed. So rocking at such instances may be due to that reason.

If your toddler is doing something intentionally, it may not last more than a few minutes. So this prolonged rocking may be an unintentional thing.

Also, these unintentional efforts can not be considered willful tactics of toddlers.

Dear parents, I strongly recommend that body rocking should not be confused with the typical tantrums of the baby.

Nobody can give a true explanation for why babies are rocking at a very young age.

After passing 4 years of age, Babies find other ways of keeping themselves entertained or stimulated.

cute baby rocks back and forth while sitting

4. What should I do when my baby rocks? Is it a reason to worry?

Your baby is a rapidly growing creature. So better to keep calm and stay observing his behavior. Try your best to ignore the body rocking episodes as it is a common movement for your child.

Your baby is unable to differentiate between positive parental attention and negative parental attention from you.

So it is very important to ignore this kind of rocking behavior of your toddler at a very young age.

Make sure that your baby is safe while rocking headbanging and rolling. If possible you can convert the rocking behavior into any other behavior type. Just place a toy in front of your rocking child.

Generally, you don’t need to do something special to encourage your baby to stop rocking back and forth.

If you can treat the new rocking of your kid as a game, do it silly and enthusiastically. You also can find other parents who go through the same.

So dear parents, the more you ignore it, the quicker it will go away. But pay attention if it gets better on its own.

If it affects everyday life in a negative way and happens frequently with the child, it is high time to speak with a physician.

5. Rocking might be an early sign of autism or could rocking be something else?

All children will go through the rocking phase in their life. It can happen at any time during tummy time. But the babies try their balance with rocking movements in different ways.

Some babies rock back and forth on their hands and their knees keep in a certain way, showing them that they are trying to crawl.

Also, they perform side-to-side movements which can help to strengthen their abdominals and limb muscles to facilitate future standing up and walking.

But this continuous rocking and shaking head converts into a repetitive movement and can be suspected as a sign of autism in younger toddlers.

Is that a sign of autism?

As long as your kid is doing rocking movements calmly and engaged with rocking movements it isn’t normally a sign of anything serious.

But if your baby rocks back and forth while sitting in a “trance-like” state and without making proper eye contact it is a considerable thing for any neurodevelopmental condition like autism.

Also if the rocks rapidly as a result of overstimulation and as an attempt of self-soothing habit in a calm situation.

This is high time to get the physician’s advice for the child. Because it may be combined with early signs of autism.

A final thing to consider is that the rocking happens all day except the bedtime, which may associate with early autism.

It is inadvisable to consult your physician in such a situation.

6. Body rocking may be a sleep issue

Most of the time children do body rocking,head-rolling, and headbanging at bedtime or during the night.

They do it as a self-soothing behavior. Also, those rhythmic movements comfort them in their sleep preparedness.

They try to hit their foreheads on the headboard or edges of the cot. Also, they sit in the cot and bang their heads back against the headboard.

Then lie face down and again bang their heads and chests into the pillow or mattress.

After they lie on their backs and move their heads and bodies from side to side while making noises on the bed.

7. Simple steps of your baby’s rocking back and forth

If your baby is developing with accurate developmental milestones, the head rocking,head-banging, or head rolling will disappear eventually. Also, you can help them to do that further.

Here you don’t need to allow your kid to wake in bed and try to minimize the time in bed before falling asleep.

Don’t let the child get the attention that their parents are concerned about the kid’s headbanging and rocking.

Remove bedside tables and other hard surfaces away from the bed. also, try to move the bed away from the walls. This will help to stop bruising where they bang their head.

8. When to get help for rocking and head banging

Obstructive sleep apnea is one condition to which you need to pay attention in connection with body rocking and headbanging.

If your child is doing this activity mostly at night time and during snoring, it is a good idea to talk to your GP.

If you notice any skin thickening, slight bruising, or red marks on the child’s head, it is a clear sign that you need to go with further treatment options.

The children with autism, developmental delay, or blindness, this body rocking and headbanging is more intense. They are likely to do this movement during the day long.

It is your duty to prevent the harmful aspect of these kinds of movements.

It is advisable to take a video of your child’s rocking behavior or headbanging and go to a physician or other health care practitioner.

9. Final thoughts

If your kid is showing body rocking and headbanging movements, it is advisable to observe the behavior first.

Try to ignore it when the child realizes that you are attentive to the behavior type.

Rocking movements start at the child’s sitting position most of the time. Then it extends up to a standing position.

Most rocking types are associated with headbanging and head-rolling.

parents should be more concerned about the rocking movements of babies having conditions like autism, developmental delay, and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

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