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Everything You Need To Know About Leg shaking in newborns

by | Newborn

Looking at your newborn for the first time might be one of the best feelings in the world. However, it comes along with many responsibilities and concerns. Becoming a parent for the first time is the hardest because everyone is showering you with multiple pieces of advice and opinions and usually sharing their own experiences. 

All of this can become a little overwhelming, causing you to overthink even about the tiniest things. There are many unusual things that you might experience for the first time in life after the birth of your baby. However, not all of them are concerning and should be tackled with patience to keep your baby safe and healthy. 

Leg shaking is one of the most common things that newborns do. It is usually their only way of expressing any type of emotion. Let’s dig deeper into the topic of Leg shaking in newborns and help you understand it better. 

Is Leg shaking in newborns Harmful? 

Even though a lot of people think leg shaking in newborns happens due to various problems, it is not valid. Leg shaking in newborns is quite common and occurs because of different reasons, most of which are harmless. Since babies are unable to express anything fully, Leg shaking and jitters are indirect ways of communicating and expressing their emotions. 

Common causes of Leg shaking

Are you worried about the reason behind the constant leg shaking of your newborn? Well, there is nothing to worry about. We will help you understand your newborn Leg shaking and twitches properly so that you don’t worry yourself the next time your baby does either of those things. 

Since every baby reacts to different things uniquely, there are many reasons why your newborn baby is shaking its legs continuously. Some of the most common reasons for Leg shaking in newborns are mentioned below. 

  • Development Skills 

One of the most common reasons for newborn leg shaking is the development of skills. Newborns develop gradually, and at different ages, another part of the body begins to grow, causing certain twitches and shaking in the body. Leg shaking is a positive sign which indicates the development of motor skills. 

  • Sleep Movements 

If your baby shakes their Leg often, you might notice they do it more while drifting off to sleep. This is a condition known as sleep myoclonus, which is quite common among newborns. It doesn’t happen because of any specific reasons and usually lasts for only about a year. 

Some other aspects of the environment, including light, noise, and motions, can also cause such movements. 

  • Immature Nervous System 

Since your baby’s nervous system isn’t fully developed yet, those little newborn Leg shakes mean their mind is asking them to move, but they are unable to do so. However, this is nothing to worry about. It is pretty standard among newborns, and this usually lasts for about a few months after birth. 

Although, If your baby continues such movements or for a more extended period, make sure to consult a doctor. 

  • Startle Reflex 

The startle reflex is commonly known as the Moro reflex, and it is pretty standard among babies of age 3-6 months. This reflex is caused by sudden astonishment or change in the environment. In this condition, your baby might spread out his arms and legs and arch his back to express his surprise reaction. 

However, this condition only lasts for a few months. Once newborns can control their reflexes, these conditions leave their side. 

  • Diaper Change 

As a parent, you might be aware of the diaper changing struggles. Most newborns hate changing their diapers and often burst out in loud tears as soon as they start the process. They might begin shaking their legs vigorously before starting to cry. So, make sure you handle your kids’ tantrums patiently. 

Since shaking their legs and hands are the only ways to express their feeling, they will get out of this habit as soon as they start walking or speaking. 

  • High Level of Caffeine

This is one of the few reasons for leg shaking that will severely affect your newborn’s health. If a mother drinks too much caffeine or consumes a significant amount of unhealthy beverages, her breast milk will affect the child’s health.

The amount of caffeine transferred to your baby through the milk might be the reason for constant leg shaking or other unnecessary movements. 

  • Hunger Alert 

Another reason for Leg shaking in newborns is hunger. Since they can’t express their emotions and feelings through anything else, they shake their hands and legs often to indicate such signs. There is nothing to worry about such movements, as this will soon pass. 

Once your baby is able to express their feelings more appropriately, they will stop shaking their legs unnecessarily. 

Is Leg Shaking a Sign of Seizure?

Seizures are common in newborn babies till a certain age because of immature nervous systems and development. However, it becomes serious when it doesn’t stop, and the seizures continue in a rhythmic pattern. 

Even though newborn leg shaking is not a common sign of Seizure, it might lead to something. If your baby doesn’t stop unnecessary Leg shaking within a few months, make sure to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Some of the most common signs of seizures in newborns are listed below. 

  • Sudden movements happen without any change in the environment or motion. 
  • Strong jerking and constant motion that doesn’t stop even if you place a light hand on them or hold them tightly. 
  • Rhythmic movements that occur on a regular basis. 
  • Different behavior that is not common among children of that particular age. 
  • Unexpected increase in heart rate with heavy breathing. 
  • Episodes repeat in the same manner each time and last for the same duration. 

FAQs regarding Leg shaking in newborns 

Being a parent isn’t easy, and we understand that. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by new parents regarding newborn Leg shaking and seizures. 

How can I tell if my baby is experiencing seizures?

Seizures are not as harmful as many people assume. They are pretty common among newborns, and to identify the seizures, make sure you carefully notice every movement of your baby. You can take a look at the common symptoms mentioned above to determine if your newborn is facing seizures or not. 

Does EEG help with seizures? 

Electroencephalogram, commonly known as EEG, is a test that diagnoses and manages neonatal seizures. It helps with certain mental conditions in newborn babies. However, it is essential to consult your doctor before taking your newborn for an EEG. 

What should I do to stop Leg shaking in my newborn? 

Unless your baby is shaking their legs vigorously and isn’t stopping, there is no need to get any type of treatment. Leg shaking is common among newborns; this habit will eventually disappear within a few months. 


The responsibilities and duties of a parent can be challenging at certain times. Looking at your baby while they shake their legs unconsciously can create an overwhelming sense of emotion. However, you have to look for the right guide and follow a proper procedure to ensure the health of your baby. If you are still not satisfied, make sure to visit a doctor.

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