Why Does My Baby Shake When Excited?

Every mother or caregiver wants their babies to remain healthy and happy, but it is normal to feel concerned when you notice your baby shake when excited. Speaking from experience, it can be both exciting and frightening because while you can see the excitement in your baby, you are scared of how they are shaking.

What raises the most concern is the safety of the baby. Mothers and caregivers are often concerned that their babies could fall over as a result of the shaking – which they usually do. Since this could cause severe bodily harm, it is common to see a baby’s excitement being cut short by the mother or caregiver.

In this article, we have taken a step further to discuss all you need to know about why a baby shake when excited and how best to handle the situation as a nursing mother or caregiver.


Why Does My Baby Shake When Excited?


Is It Normal For a Baby to Shake?

You know how I love to answer direct questions with direct answers – rather than beat around the bush – this is not going to be any different. Yes, it is normal for a baby to shake when excited, and it is also common too – so if you are a soon-to-be mother, be ready!

Apart from being normal, it is also very common in babies. For example, if a baby shake when excited, you will notice some changes in behavior, including raising of arms, vigorous shaking of the head, and widening of the eyes. The excitement can come as a result of seeing their mother or caregiver, favourite toy, best food, or a new experience.

These reactions are normal, and on many occasions, you do not need to panic as there is no cause for alarm. But what is the psychology behind a baby shaking when excited? We will discuss all you need to know in the subsequent sections – remain glued!


Why Does My Baby Vibrate And Shake When Excited?

The major reason babies vibrate when excited can be traced to impulses released to the baby’s muscles. As you know, babies undergo various changes and developments – including acclimatization.

As a result, it takes time for the baby to understand the electric impulses that accompany excitement fully, and thus their bodies are not able to put it under control without vibrating. The vibration can last for a few seconds, and you notice that the baby is struggling internally to put it under control.

Interestingly, there are times when the baby shake randomly without any known trigger or known reason behind the excitement. The vibration can result from sudden impulses, but the true reason behind it remains unknown. But there is no cause for alarm when you experience this in your infant.

According to experts, your baby will only experience these impulses and vibrations as a toddler. By the age of four years old, they would have fully developed to handle the internal vibrations that cause the shaking. Regardless of how it looks, you should note that this condition is not an illness or a result of a deficiency.

Also Read: What Happens If Baby Drinks Spoiled Breast Milk


When Should I Be Worried About My Baby Shaking?

Yes, there are times when you should be concerned about your baby shaking – but the question is when? Like I always say, as a mother or caregiver, you can never be too cautious. It is better to find out that a condition is nothing to worry about than to assume that everything is fine, whereas your baby is at risk.

In many cases, shaking in infants can result from seizures, and you should be careful to notice any changes in your baby that look like your baby is struggling. No matter how natural it may seem, you should take a close look the moment you notice that your baby appears to be having a seizure.

Below, I have highlighted the signs to watch out for and the point to draw the line and be worried about your baby shaking; let’s check them out!

  • When you notice that the baby continues to shake for over 20 seconds
  • The point when you see that the baby is losing consciousness or falling over awkwardly
  • When your instincts tell you there is a problem
  • If the shaking is accompanied by vomiting or spit-ups in the baby
  • When the shaking is unusual from what you have experienced with your baby in the past
  • If your baby falls into a deep sleep after shaking

In the event of any of the occurrences mentioned above, you should seek help from a medical professional who has examined the child in the past. These are warning signs and are not part of normal infant development, so they should be taken seriously.

However, while you are at it, try not to panic or jump to conclusions. Many mothers or caregivers often panic when they see their baby shake because they believe it is a sign that the baby could be suffering from autism.

While I agree that the early stages of autism involve shaking and hand-clapping in infants, baby shaking when excited is a common occurrence, and before we make up our mind, we should look out for other signs of autism. Most importantly, always seek medical advice from a professional when in doubt.


Also Read: How to Relieve Constipation and Help a Baby Poop


What Is Infant Shudder Syndrome?

Infant Shudder Syndrome, otherwise known as shuddering attack, is an uncommon benign disorder that occurs in infants – notice the word ‘uncommon’. Perhaps, this is the most distinctive difference between infant shudder syndromes and baby shake when excited.

These short-lived attacks involve severe shivering in infants for a few seconds without traces of consciousness. Yes, it can be scary and cause panic for mothers and caregivers who become overwhelmed by the shivering of the baby’s head and shoulders – sometimes the entire body.

According to medical reports, infant shudder syndrome results from myoclonus of early infancy, which can be triggered during feeding or by excitement in the baby. However, like in the case of baby shake when excited, this results in a more spasmodic vibration and irregular movement.

It is important to note that Infant Shudder Syndrome is not a sign of epilepsy in babies and usually ends after the infant reaches two years. Also, under normal circumstances, each attack should not last more than a couple of seconds – 5 seconds at most.

Although it is not common, Infant Shudder Syndrome is normal; the attack is due to the baby’s reaction to reflexes – which the baby’s developing system is trying to react to. In rare cases, you may notice the movements in the baby’s chin and lips due to the shivering. But all things being equal, all traces of the syndrome usually ends after a couple of years.


Why Does My Baby Stiffen Up And Shake When Excited?

If you are asking this question, then you and I have a lot in common! I remember the puzzled look on my face when I first noticed my baby stiffen up and shake when excited. Yes, of course, I could not help but contact my medical adviser on the matter and embark on a series of researches.

Well, there are a few reasons why your baby may stiffen and shake when excited – and it may not be related to excitement. If you are shocked – you shouldn’t be! But, just as it may not necessarily be a result of excitement, the chances are that it is not a result of epilepsy or infant shudder syndrome either. I guess your mind is at rest now.

In many cases, your baby may stiffen up or shake when excited as a way of balancing the reflexes and impulses in their body system. These impulses and reflexes can be triggered by excitement or a sudden burst of emotion in babies.

As you may well know, a baby’s excitement is often accompanied by frustration. For example, a baby may get excited after seeing her mother or caregiver walking into the room – but may suddenly feel frustrated and burst into tears if she doesn’t come to pick her up. In the same way, a baby may feel excited at the sight of a favourite toy but feel frustrated if the toy is out of reach. In such a situation, you may notice the baby stiffen up as they try to balance both emotions.

Also Read: What to Do If Your Baby Hates Swaddling



As you would notice from the article, there are a handful of reasons why a baby will shake, but come to think of it – if the baby only experiences this when excited, then there should be little or no cause for alarm.

Again, it can be confusing how something that should not be a cause for concern suddenly becomes a cause for concern. It is as a result of this reason I often advise nursing mothers and caregivers to trust their instincts at all times. If you have a feeling that something is wrong, then it probably is.

Whenever you have the impression that something is wrong, make sure to contact a medical professional that has examined the baby before. I advise mothers and caregivers to take their babies to a new doctor only when the baby is healthy. Except in a situation where there is no other option, do not take an ill baby to a doctor who has never examined the infant in the past.