Should You Be Concerned If Your Baby Sleeps with Its Head Arched Back?


As a parent, you’re expected to read more sign language than a baseball pitcher.

You’ll get used to watching your baby as if they’re a poker player trying to bluff you. Babies have a limited amount of tools they can use to communicate.

Body language is the first and primary way a baby communicates other than crying. The crying comes first, and the body language shortly follows.

You’ve spent weeks learning what the different cries mean so you can get your baby from stop crying.

Now you’re moving on to body language.

So, what does it mean if your baby is sleeping with their head arched back?

First Off, Your Baby Might Not Be Sleeping at All

There is the odd possibility that your baby is either not sleeping or drifting off to sleep.

You might have caught them in the in-between stages of falling asleep.

Your baby might be trying to communicate with you that they’re hungry, their diaper needs changed, or something is irritating them.

It’s possible that your baby is tired and they don’t have the energy to communicate in any other way.

Sometimes as parents, we become so tired that we want our babies to go to sleep so we can get a break. It may be wishful thinking that your baby is sleeping, and they’re their best to get your attention.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Might Be the Culprit

Gastroesophageal is an overly complicated way of saying heartburn. Yes, babies experience heartburn more often than what parents realize.

No, spicy food in the mother’s breast milk isn’t the reason behind the heartburn.

Reflux happens, and there’s not much you can do to prevent it all the time. Sure, you can be more careful when you feed your baby or burp them, but it’s going to happen sometimes.

If your baby seems to be too uncomfortable, you might consider waking them and burping them.

The reflux might go away on its own, or your baby might wake up without your assistance. Reflux is a constant problem for a baby, and it’s something that you need to be aware of.

The Reason Could Be Kernicterus Caused by Jaundice

A medical condition called Kernicterus is a real concern if your baby has jaundice.

Kernicterus, if untreated, can cause a whole host of medical problems.

Jaundice today isn’t as big of a deal as it once was several generations ago. However, if left untreated, jaundice can lead to many other permanent health conditions.

If you fear that your baby has Kernicterus, go to a doctor immediately. Kernicterus can cause brain damage that has lasting effects on your child’s health.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a Real Possibility

A book could be written on obstructive sleep apnea.

It’s basically where something obstructs your baby’s breathing.

There’s something in its chest that makes breathing difficult. You’ve heard of sleep apnea in adults, well, babies can get it too.

Nerve Damage is Also a Real Possibility

Nerve damage during birth can cause a baby to arch their back when sleeping.

Usually, the nerve damage is picked up right away after birth because it’s the result of trauma.

Not all births go as planned, and sometimes malpractice or bad luck can result in an injury during birth.

Erb’s Palsy is something that you’ve got to be concerned about if nerve damage happened during birth.


Autism is an Often Overlooked Cause of Arched Back While Sleeping

We are just now beginning to understand all the effects of autism. If your baby is arching their back during sleep, it could be a sign of autism.

If your baby is arching their back once or twice, you shouldn’t immediately think that they’re autistic.

However, if your baby is arching their back consistently, it’s something that you’ve got to consider.

You aren’t going to be able to determine on your own if your baby is autistic.

You’ll need the help of medical professionals, and it’s not something at this stage that you need to be overly concerned about.

Cerebral Palsy is one of the Leading Reasons Why Babies Arch Their Back During Sleep

If your baby has Cerebral Palsy, you already know it. You’re not going to be surprised by a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.

Cerebral Palsy happens at birth because of hypoxia.

Hypoxia is where the oxygen is cut off from your baby during the birthing process.

If your baby suffered from hypoxia, you’d probably know it from the start.

Cerebral Palsy isn’t something that shocks parents because it’s something they are aware of after birth.

It’s almost unheard of in today’s world of modern medicine that a baby’s oxygen would be cut off during delivery, and no one realizes it.

Calm Down; There’s Nothing at All to Worry About

Right now, you’re all in a panic, thinking there are a million different things wrong with your baby.

As with everything that concerns your baby that initially makes you freak out, you’re probably overreacting.

Yes, it happens. Admit it.

You see your baby doing something one time, and you immediately think the problem is something that it isn’t.

Don’t jump to conclusions and think that your baby is autistic without seeing a doctor first.

There are a whole host of reasons why your baby is arching their back, and it might be natural.

Have you ever thought that your baby might be uncomfortable? Is your baby often fidgety?

If this is a one-time thing, don’t read too much into it.

Parents have a way of expecting the worst when they see something out of the ordinary.

Sure, something terrible could be the reason why your baby is arching their back, but that’s probably not the case at all.

Make an Appointment to Visit Your Pediatrician if the Arching Continues

Put your mind at ease by visiting the pediatrician to see what they tell you.

The arching cause would rarely be something that comes totally out of left field, but it happens.

The only way that you put your mind at ease is to get feedback from a professional.

Pay attention and see how often your baby is sleeping like this. You might be overreacting and taking it all out of context.

Save your energy to fret over all the bumps and bruises that are about to come along as your baby gets older.

These are the easy days, even if they don’t feel so easy.

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