Why Do Newborns Twitch While Sleeping?

Why Do Newborns Twitch While Sleeping

Does Your Newborn Baby Twitch in His Sleep?

Parents love to observe the movements newborns make while sleeping. They occasionally smile, move their limbs, and twitch quite often. Most parents wonder whether the baby is responding to a dream or what. The latest researches reveal that it has nothing to do with dreams. Babies twitch because it is a crucial part of the newborn baby’s motor skill development.

It can be daunting to interpret all the movements babies do when they are awake or sleeping. This post is going to reveal some important facts regarding newborns twitching while sleeping

Why Do Newborns Twitch in Their Sleep?

It is a normal activity and every newborn baby does it. Twitching is a reaction of the temporary brain functions. A newborn baby’s neonatal cerebral cortex remains in development period. The subcortical center controls all the activities your baby’s limbs make. These are instinctive movements babies make while they are sleeping or awake.

As the newborn baby grows, the cerebral cortex gets mature with the growth. Thus, the cerebral cortex starts controlling the movement of the baby’s limbs. Subcortical center gradually transfers the control to cerebral cortex. So, if your baby is twitching in his sleep, it will slowly disappear and your baby will sleep calmly as he grows.

External factors responsible for twitching

Many external factors contribute to twitching and sudden shaking of sleeping babies. The baby can jitter if you fall something around him. He may also shake the whole body if they hear loud sounds. Suppose there are sudden alarms or intense noises in the room, the baby will twitch and wake up. It is normal because loud sounds can also disturb an adult person in his sleep.

Most babies start staring, nystagmus, blink frequently, make facial expressions, scream loudly, or shake their forearms due to external factors. Some babies start moving their arms and legs in sleep when they hear noises. It may freak you out that why the baby is doing so. Just pat him lightly and your baby will sleep again.

You should be a bit careful because sudden twitching can also be a sign of cramping. Even newborn babies experience cyanosis and apnea. Parents should be aware of that to take better care of babies.

Should you worry about baby for twitching during sleeping?

If your baby shakes his whole body suddenly or experiences apnea, you should not panic. Do not get nervous about it because your baby is just fine. Gently pat your baby or slowly press your baby’s limbs to comfort him. The baby will fall back sleep again and sleep longer. You can simply hold your baby’s hands or hug him in such situations to comfort him.  

Suppose your newborn baby twitches too frequently, it can be due to brain issues or calcium deficiency. You should take your baby to the pediatric doctor for complete checkup. If the baby is experiencing calcium deficiency problem, the doctor will offer proper medications to treat him.

What Are the Symptoms of Seizures in Newborn Babies?

Yes, newborn babies can seizure. Sudden, intense, excessive, and abnormal electrical brain activities can cause it. Most of the babies experience seizures during the neonatal period. You can see it during the first month of the newborn baby’s life. You can observe it by monitoring the following symptoms:

1. Baby’s whole body twitches

If the baby’s rigid muscles start twitching suddenly and you spot angular bow reflex, it can be due to seizures. The baby may tilt back his head and he may try to bend the entire body backwards. The baby’s eyes will turn up and he may fall unconscious. This type of symptoms can frighten most of the parents. You should meet the doctor immediately for further checkup to ensure the baby is fine.

2. Localized twitching

If the twitching occurs in only a few muscles, it is called localized twitching. You may see only facial muscles moving or only one limb is moving. Some babies only twitch their toes or fingers in such situation. They may also start blinking, rotate their eyeballs, stare for a while, or nystagmus.

Most of the time, the above-explained movements can last several seconds. These symptoms can also last several minutes. Your baby may also experience recurrent seizures in severe conditions. If these symptoms last more than 30 minutes, your baby is certainly experiencing seizures. He may need medical attention in such a situation.

3. High fever seizure

The symptoms of high fever seizure mainly occur in 6 months to 4 years old children. The seizure symptoms occur when the baby has high fever. This type’s seizure does not last very long. Your baby can experience seizures in the early stage of fever.

The baby will experience high fever seizure only once or twice. It is not a symptom of any serious health issue or a brain disease. The pediatric doctor may perform EEG examination for checkup. Your baby will be fine once the fever is gone.

What Should You Do If Your Newborn Baby Twitches in His Sleep?

Parents provide the best care to newborn babies to ensure they are happy, healthy, and comfortable. Seizures can scare anyone, especially if you see your baby twitching for the first time. Newborn babies can seizure in their sleep because it is natural for many children. It is not the time to panic. Stay calm so that you can provide your baby with the necessary help.

Try the following things when your newborn baby twitches in his sleep:

  • Pick the baby in your hands or lay him on one side of the bed. Now pick all the sharp and hard toys and other such objects from the bed. The baby can move his hands and legs suddenly and those sharp and hard objects can trouble your baby.
  • Make sure your baby is wearing loose clothes. Check whether the diaper, upper and lower clothes are too tight. Remove them if the baby experiences twitch. Raise the baby’s head to ensure the airways are unblocked.
  • Use a thermometer to check your baby’s body temperature. You can simply touch and observe whether the baby is too hot or not. If he is suffering from fever, take him to the doctor for treatment. The doctor will offer the best aid to reduce fever as soon as possible.
  • Open your baby’s mouth to check there is nothing. If baby got a piece of cloth or toy in his mouth, remove it.
  • Carefully monitor the way your baby moves his limbs, eyes, and his face reactions when twitching occurs. Babies experience bilateral and unilateral twitching. You should observe that how long twitching effects last to prevent discomfort.
  • There is no need to feed anything immediately if the baby twitches and cries. Let him get calm and then feed milk. Thus, you can significantly avoid the risks of choking.  
  • If seizures last more than ten minutes, your baby will need immediate medical attention. It can happen anytime without any symptom. Therefore, parents should be around the child to protect him in all situations.

What Treatments Are Available for Baby twitches?

As you take your baby for seizure treatment for the first time, the doctor will ask many details. The doctor may ask about how long seizures last, how often they occur, and is there a family history of seizures. Hence it is about newborn twitching while sleeping, the doctor needs complete details to provide the best treatment.

Many pediatric doctors make blood tests to better understand the baby’s current health condition. Some health experts also ask for brain tomography and cerebrospinal fluid examinations if required. These tests ensure the baby is not experiencing metabolic diseases, meningitis, electrolyte imbalance, and other such health issues.

Newborn babies, who are suffering from fever and experiencing prolonged seizures, may be admitted in the hospital. The doctor will keep your baby in observation for 6-8 hours. They do it to observe how often seizures occur and how the baby twitches in such conditions.  

The doctor provides anti-epileptic drugs to the baby in case of severe attack. The doctor can inject the medicine or use rectal suppository method to prevent severe seizures. Some babies repeatedly experience severe seizures and twitches. Therefore, doctors hospitalize such babies to provide the best treatment available. The doctor then performs whole body tests to ensure the baby is not suffering from a severe disease.  

Should You Concern About Baby’s Health If He Twitches in Sleep?

All babies twitch while they sleep. It is normal and there is no need to concern about it. You should take better care of your child if he starts experiencing severe seizures. Immediately take your baby to the doctor for quick treatment.

As explained before, the doctor can try several treatments to treat those issues and comfort your baby. He will be fit and fine within a few days. Those twitching movements will disappear with growth and seizures won’t trouble you baby in the future.  


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