Newborns: Normal Behavior & Reflexes
Some normal behaviors in newborns worry inexperienced parents. The best evidence that these behaviors are harmless is that your infant does not seem to mind them. Most of these reflexes are due to an immature nervous system and will disappear in 2 or 3 months. The following newborn behaviors are not signs of illness:
- Trembling of the chin.
- Quivering of the lower lip.
- Hiccups - your newborn probably overate again.
- Irregular breathing. It's normal if your baby is content and the rate is less than 60 breaths per minute, and your baby doesn't turn blue. Occasionally infants take rapid, progressively deeper, stepwise breaths to expand their lungs completely.
- Passing gas. Sorry, not a temporary behavior.
- Noise during sleep from breathing and moving.
- Sneezing (his answer to air pollution).
- Spitting up or belching (what goes down can always come up).
- Brief stiffening of the body following noise or movement (this is also called the Moro reflex, startle reflex, or embrace reflex).
- Straining with bowel movements. It's hard to push out a poop while lying flat on your back.
- Transient gurgling sounds due to secretions in the throat.
- Trembling or jitteriness of the arms and legs during crying. Jittery babies are common. Convulsions are rare. During convulsions, babies also have jerking or blinking of the eyes, rhythmic sucking of the mouth, and they don't cry. If your baby is trembling and not crying, give her something to suck on. Normal trembling should stop. If the trembling doesn't stop during sucking, call your healthcare provider.
- Yawning--time to find a crib or other firm surface. If you want her to become a good sleeper, be sure to put her down before she falls asleep.
If you think your child may need to be seen, call your healthcare provider for advice.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.