Normally newborn babies are yanking, pulling, and showing other kinds of jerky movements, especially while in nursing. It is a normal behavior pattern commonly. So stick with it until six weeks. Do most moms ask their pediatrician why does my baby jerk while feeding? There may be few associated reasons for this type of jerking among newborns as well.
Most parents notice various types of jerky movements within the very early period of their newborn. Sometimes newborn babies are yanking, pulling, jerking while especially nursing. Most moms can not differentiate this as a normal thing or a sign of a medical condition which is needed to be attentive carefully. Some moms think that it is a growth spurt until around seven weeks. After six weeks later all will get normal. So they suggest trying to stick with it.
Some moms think it is not a growth spurt but it is an overactive letdown or something.
Anyway, this may cause a feeling of frustration among most moms and the need to explain the scientific theory behind this situation.
1. When and what type of jerky movements do babies perform
These jerky movements present while breastfeeding and bottle feeding occasions. They start to jerk their heads from side to side. They can not find the nipple even when it is already in their mouth. In the worst cases pull their head back super hard while maintaining a death grip on mom’s nipple.
So, most babies are yanking, pulling, jerking while nursing most of the time. Due to yanking at mom’s breast and they writhe it around forcefully by pulling them, they finally unlatch it by making noises. So nursing the baby is not a relaxing experience for most moms.
These jerky movement patterns present with both sides of the mom’s breasts done by the baby while they are nursing. Then moms try to block the feeding at one side. As soon as one breast misses breastfeeding, it is overly encouraged and sprays the milk all around. This spray is getting even worse and making a really hard time to nurse.
2. A True good advice from a mom who had the same problem
Sometimes this jerking and yanking problem of your baby will disappear with time. A newborn is trying to suck milk from mom and they try to succeed in breastfeeding day by day. So within the first three weeks, proper breastfeeding can restore effectively. The baby will make a great latch during breastfeeding. They create their own transfer methods during breastfeeding. After three weeks all problems are settled and breastfeeding eventually becomes an enthusiastic experience for mom.
I would like to say there is enough evidence to prove that this newborn’s jerky movements occur until the newborn baby adjusts properly for comfortable breastfeeding.
But this may not be unique for all situations. These jerky movements happen due to various causes. Sometimes jerking may happen due to oversupply issues or maybe overactive letdown.
In other situations, milk sprays all around during breastfeeding. So the baby is constantly upset. They suddenly unlatch during feeding, which seems to cause him to take extra air. They are tired of burping. They may not burp easily. This may happen on both sides breasts. When the mom tries to block feeding, then the breast missed feeding was overly engorged and the spray was even worse. This creates a really hard time to nurse. But this difficult situation will gradually disappear with correct baby’s adjustments for breastfeeding with time. If the baby is weighing continuously you can confirm this as proper baby adjustments for breastfeeding are there.
According to our observation, As an example, one baby weighs
8-10 pounds- At the birth
9 pounds- At Day eight
13 pounds- At 6 weeks
And their poopy diapers are consistently yellow. Now this baby is functioning very healthy and naps and sleeps well. She is very cheerful.
Our suggestion is to stick with the baby’s jerking movements and other specific body movement patterns consistently. As soon as the newborn baby adapts to proper breastfeeding, the jerky movements will disappear.
The other important reasons for the jerky and yanking movements of a newborn baby will discuss further in this article. The bottom line information will shock you. So keep going with your active reading.
3. Are you a breastfeeding mom interested in caffeinated beverages
It is OK for you moms to take two to three cups a day of caffeine. Make sure not to take more than that if you are a breastfeeding mother. A large amount of caffeine can pass to your baby and build within them and that will cause jerky movements.
4. Other probable reasons for having jerky movements of a newborn baby
Causes of baby shaking ( Jerky movements )
The number one additional reason for having the jerky movements is the seizures. The parents need to see the difference between normal baby shakes and more serious issues.
Fine motor movements development
According to human physiology, different parts of the body are twitching at different developmental stages. So at the neonatal period within the first 28 days of life, twitching of the head and the extremities can be seen. That twitching may lead to improve the ability to hold their head upright in a later period.
Also, older babies try to twitch their wrists and fingers all the time. So this is a part of developing their fine motor skills. Most of the time parents will misjudge these movements as abnormal types of movements and need medical attention.
But think carefully and your baby may have these kinds of normal physiological landmarks in their life.
The immature nervous system of your newborn’s getting mature
The neural pathways of your newborn carry signals from the brain to the other parts of the body. Those body parts are not yet fully grown. So these body parts may cause jerky movements and those movements will disappear with the time when the nervous system becomes mature.
Changing the diaper creates irritation in your newborn baby
Changing the diaper is causing a discomfort feeling within your newborn baby. So your baby’s way of telling that irritation is that jerky movement. Observe your baby closely and try to evaluate the body movement pattern. So my message is to read the baby’s body language correctly.
When your baby is falling asleep or waking up
Most of the jerky movements are present when the baby falls asleep or at the time they are waking up from asleep. The nocturnal myoclonus is a condition associated with this where it usually occurs at the movement dropping off to sleep and this nocturnal myoclonus will disappear within one year.
Some other jerking movements occur due to external stimuli such as light, noise, and movements, etc.
The startle reflex ( Moro reflex ) and its activity
You might notice few involuntary movements while the baby is surprised by a sudden loud noise. These involuntary movements are extending their arms, legs, and fingers with arching their back. Mostly this reflex will disappear at the age of 3 to 6 months.
The baby is shaking their arms and legs when they feel hungry
Jerky movements such as moving arms and legs are a sign of the baby is hungry. Sometimes babies stiff their bodies and try shaking and trembling when they cry. Also, you better check the blood sugar levels of your baby as lower blood sugar levels can cause shivering in babies.
5. Don’t misjudge the signs of seizures in your newborn baby as normal jerky movements
Seizures of newborns are very special. You need to have a very close observation to identify those. Because those are different from the seizures of adults and older children. So try to observe the following signs with your newborn baby that can strongly suggest a seizure.
Few seizure patterns
- Movements and behavioral patterns among the same-age babies are not typical at the seizure time.
- Features and duration are identical in repeated episodes of the seizures.
- Noticeable changes in the facial expressions and the heart rate with breathing patterns are there.
- Some rhythmic movements occur only on one side of the body
- Few symmetrical movements ( both arms do the same thing at the same time )
- You can’t stop the jerky movements by holding the baby’s body parts forcefully. If a jerky arm or a body part that you hold is still performed the jerky movements, then it is still considered a seizure.
Most babies are very normal with seizure episodes at the beginning most of the time. But if the episodes are present over a long time then you can notice other symptoms or problems in baby development.
6. Final thoughts
If you suspect a specific jerky movement as a part of a seizure, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician and confirm or exclude it. Try to video record the suspicious activity and try to show it to your pediatrician for the recommendation of the treatments. In this way, you can exclude a most important medical problem affecting involuntary jerks from newborns.
Apart from that, the majority of jerks incorporated with involuntary movements are associated with normal reasons. Sometimes until completing the breastfeeding adjustments, few kinds of reflex activities, diaper problems, immaturity of the internal systems mainly as the nervous system may cause jerky movements among newborn kids.
As parents and caregivers, you should have a clear knowledge and understanding to include and exclude the baby’s signs and symptoms to provide them good and quality care throughout the first few weeks of the newborn time period.