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baby twitches when upset

My baby is 3 months old and whenever she has cried really hard she starts to twitch. It is hard to describe but its just her head twitching to one side a bit while she screams hysterically. She is conscious and will calm down once I pick her up and soothe her although it takes a few minutes for the twitching to stop. It has only happened about 6 times in her life so far because I do my best not to let her cry....which is really difficult with 2 children to look after. Before she was born I had decided that I would make sure I wouldn't drop whatever I was doing to run to the baby every time she cried so my toddler wouldn't feel sidelined but unfortunately that is what I do. Tonight the baby started twitching in the time it took to change my toddlers poo-ey nappy, previously it has happened when I am making up her bottle or getting my toddler out of the bath, when she had her vaccination etc. I've spoken to the HV, 2 GPs, a paediatrician at the hospital and a private paediatrician. They all say they've not come across it before, they did blood tests and examined her and are not concerned. They think it is just that she gets so upset.

It is so awful to experience though and every time it happens I am so upset. I can't get her into a proper routine because that would involve letting her cry for short periods.

Has anyone experienced this? Does anyone know of any childcare experts I could ask?

Thanks x


  • Hmm what are you deeming as a twitch? My ds did a very alarming head movement when he was around 5/6m and I thought it was tourettes but it turned out to be a mixture of tiredness and immature muscles.

    When ds gets upset, he literly does the whole sobbing breath thing where he takes gasps of breath..maybe she's doing this but when she's 'sobbing' she's moving her body taking in a gasp of air?

    It could also be immature muscles ESP if she is a fast developer. I.e sitting unaided already ect. My ds could hold his head up since around 3m so you can imagine how shocked I was! He doesn't do it at all now so you never know! It may just go away by itself

  • By any chance did you find anything on your LO or any updates?   My LO started doing the same thing and the doctor said he’s never heard of it.   We are very concerned about him. it seems to be very rare.  when he is upset he twitches his head to the side almost like he is gasping for air and it takes him some time to calm down before it finally stops

    thank you so much!

  • Oh my gosh yes. I have just been searching and searching and searching thd internet trying to get info on this and couldn't find anything that even remotely helped me until i came across this. My son is 10 months old and doesn't know his father due to abuse etc. A couple of days ago he had his first visit in a supervised contact centre with him. My son has never been away from me before and i just had to drop him off at a strange place surrounded by strange people. It didn't go well. It was supposed to be a 2 hours visit but they had to ring me to come back and get him after 20 minutes because he was so hysterical. When i got there to get him and they brought him out to me he was doing this exact thing. I freaked out. He has never been that upset before so i had never seen it happen. It devastated and terrified me. I didn't know if it was some kind of seizure. I plan on taking him to a doctor Monday but was desperately hoping i could find something online that would put my mind at ease. He also began projectile vomiting which he has never done before and he won't eat so its definitely emotional related but not sure what it could be that caused the head twitch. 

  • he still does it occasionally. The dr said he does not see any seizure signs.  Others who have kids have said he is hyperventilating from being so upset.   I would suggest showing your dr and hopefuly it’s nothing.  Good luck

  • My daughter (almost 2) has always done this. Especially if she sees is upset and I am not right there to comfort her. It's weird though because once it gets to that point it's like I can't really comfort her - nothing I does helps. She just has to cry it out. I have googled before and found nothing but I am so happy to finally see we are not the only ones! I wanted to check again today because we went to the dentist for the first time and she was very upset and was doing the head shake for longer than usual. It is very different than her, hungry, sad, tired, mad cries. I call it her "scared sprinkler" cry because it seems to happen if she gets injured in a surprising way (coat zipper pinch, static shock, injection needle) or a stranger interacts with her. The way she shakes her head is just to one side and in an arc of 20 degrees or so. Not like a full swing from side to side. One of the first times it happened was when I left her with a friend for the first time around 3 or 4 months old. Then again when I left her at the gym's childcare. Everything about her otherwise is completely normal. 

  • My baby girl is 16 weeks. Sometimes she gets so upset that she develops this twitch you all refer to. Husband says it’s stress related. Agreed, can’t find much on the net about it. Any updates from previous entries?
  • Anyone have any updates on this? My 10 month old has done this. It’s typically when she gets really scared from either someone or a surprise fall that catches her off guard. Then she starts twitches her head only to the left almost like a sprinkler as described above with a high pitched scream and gasping for air. There is nothing I can do to calm her down. It’s terrifying and I’m not sure what invention I should be doing or if she’ll grow out of this?? Please help!! 
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