Why does my baby fidget so much?

Fidgeting is a kind of small movement pattern in your baby’s body, especially with their hands & feet. Most moms ask, why does my baby fidget so much?

It often reflects discomfort and restlessness. Typically these movements occur with small amplitude and moderate speed.

It shows small movements of the neck, trunk, and limbs in all directions in an awake infant.

The physical activity of fidgeting gives your baby a temporary distraction. It is a kind of mental break. Most parents found this 6 weeks post-term.

But it usually occurs at around 9 weeks and can present until the age of 20 weeks or a few weeks longer.

At 20 weeks nearly it starts to get intentional and antigravity movements and gradually subside the rate of fidgeting.

Fidgeting represents a small set of movements in the neck, trunk, and limbs in all directions in an awake infant

The basic signs of a fidgety baby

Babies show many different behaviors. Most behaviors are normal. We can classify various baby movement patterns as fidgeting.

  • Kicking legs
  • Punching
  • Squirming
  • Flailing arms
  • Thrashing

All these are normal movement types until they meet the normal range. When it happens at an excessive frequency, fidgeting types are problematic to parents as well as babies sometimes.

You can consider the following behavior types as fidgeting most of the time.

  • If your baby is having shorter naps
  • If they are waking up so often
  • Most of these movements are involuntary and beyond the baby’s control. Also, babies do these fidgeting when they are alone and they are in danger.

Are all fidgeting normal?

Most of the time fidgeting can be considered a coping mechanism for babies. So fidgeting is a way to deal with feeling restless or bored.

Fidgeting helps those babies to stay focused. At other times, it is a very normal set of behaviors or movement patterns.

It is normal for babies to cry when they are left alone on a floor mat or inside a crib.  Because humans were created to be carried like kangaroos and other animals.

Babies can stay secure, safe, and happy when they wrap properly.  The fidgeting occurs, especially after 6 months.  At other times fidgeting is associated with acid reflux, colic, or gas

Most pediatricians state that some babies are really fidgety. The other set is little fidgeting.  All parents need to pass this special phase in their child’s development.

Some babies hate the swaddle during their sleep inside the crib. They get used to a few bad naps. After passing a few times their rate of fidgeting becomes normal.

Try huge swaddle blankets at these times. Use special techniques and methods for better results.

Why is my baby so fidgety when breastfeeding?

Most moms are unable to breastfeed for more than a few minutes due to fidgeting. It is not uncommon for your baby of any age to fidget while nursing.

But too much fidgeting frustrates most moms. The best way to prevent this is to use a few tactics.

Most of the mom’s nipples might get sore and breastfeeding is highly unpleasant for them.  The baby is not settling down while nursing.

The babies are constantly on and off the breast, squirming around and playing with the bra scratching the mom up and down.

Super easy ways to breastfeeding

A calm and quiet place with zero distraction is ideal for a less fidgety breastfeeding session

If you can find a quiet place with zero distractions, it is ideal for starting a good breastfeeding session.

Because the babies always need to see what is going on around them while they’re feeding and automatically start fidgeting.

Night nursing as a habit is a golden rule for your baby

Try to convert this feeding experience into a habit for your baby. Babies are less active at night time and they need to get more feedings leisurely at this time.

Dear Moms, You need to be so alert with your baby

Most of the time a mother needs to pinpoint the time the baby loses his/her latch during breastfeeding.

If you can give your reaction at the exact time for your baby, then they can’t fidget during breastfeeding. 

Offer more feedings

If your baby fidgets a lot, offer more feedings at that time. Older babies need to feed for more than 5-10 minutes normally. You need to consider that time limit.

You can massage your breast and increase the milk flow for your baby. So you can incorporate feedings with your baby’s fidgeting.

Limit the time 

Your baby needs to understand the time limits during breastfeeding. So try to make sense of the time gaps. You can start teaching that the fidgeting behaviors are not good and the ways of  converting fidgeting into a productive activity

Swaddle your newborn properly.

Always create difficulty by swaddling your baby. Here, try to limit the hand movements and leg movements by proper swaddling.

Mom and dad is holding little baby's hand

Why is my baby so fidgety at night’s sleep?

Various fidgeting can be seen during the night’s sleep.

You notice the baby changes its position. Older babies sit up, rub their eyes, and then settle down many times during the night. 

Sometimes they complete several circles around the crib. An active toddler takes time to understand their sleeping space in a new place.  So try to use new bed guardrails to prevent injuries.

Dear parents, try to understand these posture changes during night sleep cycles if your baby may be fidgeting movements. You better be alert to these and think of ways of minimizing them.

Acid reflux, colic, and gas in the tummy are the other three problems associated with fidgeting. This happens especially when the baby is lying on its back. 

If you suspect it is a gas problem, you can try extra burping, gripe water, or extra baby gas relief medications.

Acid reflux occurs when food and acid in your baby’s tummy come back into the esophagus. This stomach acid can irritate the esophagus.  This may lead to fussiness, breathing problems, and fidgeting with fussiness.

Be positive and carefully deal with this acid problem of your baby.  It takes time to improve.  In most babies, this acid reflux is healthy and it is usually outgrown between 6 to 12 months.

Did you try the proper delivery of the baby gas?

The extra air in the stomach can be properly delivered out from the mouth.  Also, proper bottle-feeding techniques should apply to the baby. 

Try to feed in the upright position with your baby’s head tipped slightly forward.  Make sure to maintain a little space between the chin and the chest.

Always discourage fast feedings as it creates swallowing of air.  If the baby is so fast, try to take frequent breaks during the feedings. 

If it upsets them, you can use a pacifier during the interval. Also stopping burping during feeding time is advisable. You need to maintain proper upright and straight positions during feedings. 

Types of behaviors that can be considered as fidgeting

Babies show various types of actions and behaviors that are more similar to fidgeting. Most of the time these movements are normal.

Some special action types bring a little discomfort for your baby. So you need to avoid those at that moment.

I can nominate the following movement that is similar to the fidgeting

  • Gross motor movements such as Kicking with legs, swipes, wiggling, and oscillating arm movements
  • Quicker napes or waking up often
  • Jerky movements while sleeping
  • Swinging arms continuously.

Most of these fidgeting movements are normal. These are especially present in the first six months of your baby. Some babies are normally fidgeting more than others.

Another category is little fidgeting. Normally fidgeting is a phase and you will pass it within your child’s development.

Some babies show different types of fidgets to meet different sensory needs.

Final thoughts

Most of the time baby fidgeting is normal. Babies show various fidgeting types. So it is important for the parents to identify those movements and try to reduce them by dealing with them carefully. 

This is important at nursing time and sleeping time. Most moms experience a painful breastfeeding experience due to the fidgeting of their babies. 

Also, they are so disturbed during their sleep.  So proper management techniques are essential and important for the parents to reduce discomfort.

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