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Concerning Baby Behaviors That Are Actually Very Normal

min read

By Kristin Whittaker

You’ve got a new baby to care for and you are soaking up every moment! From that first finger grasp, to the first smile, you can’t help but be aware of the smallest little detail in their lives. It doesn’t take much though to send a new parent in to panic mode when they catch their baby doing something that seems abnormal. Not everything is something to be concerned about so to give you some peace of mind, here are 12 behaviors that may concern you, but are actually quite normal!

12. Excessive Crying

Unfortunately, the only way for a baby to communicate is through crying. Some babies can be pretty mellow and only cry briefly until their needs are met. However, a good number of babies really like to make sure they are heard and can seem like they are screaming all the time!

Unless your baby appears to be in extreme pain or not well, crying is a normal response for a baby. Until they learn other ways to express their needs they will cry until those needs are met. And if the baby is dramatic like my girls were, they’ll cry a little longer just to make sure I knew they weren’t happy.

11. Not Sleeping at Night

As much as everyone wants their baby to go to bed and sleep all night right from the start, that is very unlikely to happen. Babies still need to eat during the night in the beginning and will usually have their days and nights mixed up for a bit.

It’s exhausting to be up every 1-2 hours, I totally get that, but a baby who likes to wake up frequently in the night, or even stay awake and party, is nothing to be concerned about. It’s just part of being a baby and may be a phase that will pass or something that may require a little sleep training.

10. Sleeping All Day

You may be concerned that your baby is sleeping too much if they seem to just eat, poop and then go right back to sleep. It’s very normal, especially in the first couple of weeks, for a baby to sleep most of the day. Remember babies are still adjusting to their days and nights so sleeping all day feels normal for them.

Eventually you’ll notice your baby has more awake time in between feeds and will gradually move to a normal sleep schedule. But for the first year at least, babies will need those extra hours of sleep during the day.

9. Gas

Babies will regularly get build ups of gas in their tummies resulting in lots of passed gas, grunting and squirming. They may seem very uncomfortable at times which can cause lots of concern for new parents. If colic is a concern speak to your midwife or doctor, but most of the time your baby is just experiencing the usual digestive discomfort.

Make sure your baby is regularly burping in between and after feedings. You can also help your baby pass gas by doing various exercises with their legs or rubbing their back. There are some natural over the counter gas remedies as well. These are just one of my favorites. Always consult your doctor first before giving any type of medication.

8. Spitting Up

Almost half of babies will spit up regularly, usually right after a feeding, a condition known as reflux. Baby spit up, while smelly and gross, is actually quite normal and, as long as your baby is eating and growing well and remains comfortable, should not cause you concern.

However, if your baby starts projectile vomiting or spitting up more than usual, is losing weight or not gaining, or spit up does not look normal, it’s always best to get your baby checked out to ensure it is not something more concerning.

7. Startle Reflex

Also known as the moro reflex, it occurs when a baby is startled by a loud noise or movement. Your baby may throw their head back, extend their arms and legs and then pull them back in and cry. Even their own cry could startle them!

While you baby’s reaction may startle you, this reflex is nothing to be concerned about and usually lasts about 5 to 6 months. Rest assured, they don’t hurt themselves when they jolt like that.

6. Choking Reflex

It can send any parent in to panic mode when they see their child gagging and choking. However, this is usually not anything to freak out about. C-section babies and babies that are born very quickly spend less time going through the birth canal and may experience this reflex since not as much fluid gets pushed out of their system during delivery.

While it’s important to keep an eye on your baby when they are gagging or choking, it’s not something you need to rush them to the ER or call an ambulance about every time. If they begin to turn blue because they can’t breathe or begin choking uncontrollably, then seek help right away. Otherwise, keep them upright and wipe away any spit up that comes out while gagging.

5. Sleep Regression

Sleep regression is fairly normal for a child of any age, but especially for babies. You may be jumping for joy because you finally got your baby on a schedule and you are getting a solid number of hours of sleep, only to have them suddenly start waking every hour again.

Many factors can contribute to sleep regression and most are normal parts of development. Growth spurts can be a large factor in regression based on the need to eat more at night and general discomfort. Other factors are the development of new skills (rolling over, sitting, standing up), teething and even separation anxiety. Instead of getting frustrated or panicked try looking at what is going on in their life at the time. Sleep regression does not last forever and most times the baby will return to normal sleep patterns.

4. Cluster Feeding

A common fear among moms when their baby cluster feeds is that they are not getting enough to eat. For moms that are breastfeeding, the fear may be that they are not producing enough milk. It’s easy to feel like something is wrong when their feeding patterns change.

Cluster feeding is completely normal and is usually linked to growth spurts, teething (as a need for comfort) and for newborns it’s very common in the beginning when mom’s milk hasn’t come in yet. However, if your baby is cluster feeding a lot and is not gaining weight it’s important to have them checked by a doctor to ensure they are getting enough to eat.

3. Rooting Reflex

When a baby gets hungry they naturally will begin to root, which is when the baby moves it’s head toward a stimulus and opens it’s mouth in search of food. Some parents will feel concerned or confused when their baby starts to continuously turn their head towards something.

While you may not love the idea of your child trying to nurse from a visitors arm, this behavior is completely normal and natural for a baby. It can actually be a helpful behavior as it is a great way for your baby to communicate that they are hungry and ready to eat without crying.

2. Hiccups

These may appear to be painful for your baby, but they are generally not bothered by the hiccups. Hiccups begin even before the baby is born. They are easily caused by feeding or excessive crying and are a contraction and irritation of the diaphragm. Some babies will get them many times in a day which may seem concerning.

Hiccups are a completely normal phenomenon and are nothing to be worried about. Try burping your baby more frequently and slowing down feedings. There is no need to try and treat the hiccups.

1. Ear Pulling

Many babies will pull on their ears either throughout the day or when sleeping. It’s easy to jump right to the conclusion that they have an ear infection, but most often that is not the case. Teething can be linked to ear pulling as referred pain and sometimes they just pull on their ears once they have discovered their ears and hands.

Ear pulling on it’s own (no other symptoms) is rarely anything to be concerned about. If they have a cold, fever, fluid coming from their ear, or other concerning symptoms, then it would be best to consult a doctor as that could potentially mean an ear infection.

Kristin Whittaker