Why Does your Baby Have Kicking Legs And Flailing Arms? We Look At How To Decode Baby Body Language
Why Does your Baby Have Kicking Legs And Flailing Arms? We Look At How To Decode Baby Body Language And Work Out What Your Baby Is Trying To Communicate With Movement
When it comes to baby body language, is it possible to work out what your baby is trying to tell you from their movements?
Just because your baby can't talk to you yet doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to communicate with you.
There are lots of common baby movements, for example, flailing arms and kicking legs, kicking their feet, moving their head, clenching their fists, and thrashing their arms about, that happen for a reason.
Thankfully, there have been thousands of studies and years of parental experience to help us decode what our babies’ gestures are trying to say.
With experience, parents can work out what their own baby’s body language means. However, it can take some fine tuning at first! Remember that it’s okay if you can’t always understand what your little one‘s movements mean. You are still getting to know each other.
Remember to always as your doctor or health visitor if there is something you are unsure about, or there is something concerning you about your baby’s health.
Baby Reflexes – Instinctive Baby Movements
Your newborn is born with several baby reflexes, which are physical reflexes (movements or actions).
Babies are born knowing how to suck, which is how they latch on for breastfeeding. They are also born knowing how to root, and to grasp. Your doctor or midwife will check these shortly after they are born.
Another reflex that doctors will check in newborns is the Moro reflex, also called the startle reflex. This is where your baby’s arms will jolt. The doctor will test this by safely allowing them to fall for a small distance. The baby should respond by jolting or flinging out both arms, which means the reflex is present.
Here Are More Common Baby Movements And What They Mean:
Kicking Legs and Flailing Arms
If your baby’s kicking legs and flailing arms are accompanied by crying, or they seem agitated, it could be that they are gassy. Try winding them after a feed. If this is not a one-off occurrence, your baby could have symptoms of colic. Speak to your doctor or health visitor for advice.
However, if they are kicking legs and have flailing arms but don’t appear to be in pain, hungry or distressed, it’s unlikely that there is anything wrong. They could also simply be asking you to play with them.
Arm Jerks Or Flailing Arms While Sleeping
Don’t worry if you spot your little one jolting their arms when they’re asleep, this is a sign of the Moro reflex or startle reflex, which all babies are born with.
Your baby will throw their arms out and back when they’re startled by something, like a bright light or perhaps something in their sleep. Many adults still jerk their legs in their sleep too, but it often goes unnoticed.
If your baby is scrunching up their knees, and seems agitated, this could be a sign that your baby has wind or is constipated.
You can resolve this by ensuring you are properly burping your baby during and after feeding.
Sleeping With Their Legs In The Air
It might not look so comfortable to you, but if your baby sleeps with their legs up it is most likely just a comfortable sleeping position for them. Remember that up until recently they were tucked up in the womb. Sleeping with legs in the air is a common thing for new babies to do, and it’s nothing to worry about.
Most babies grow out of this eventually as their bodies grow.
If they’re pulling up their legs when they’re awake, they’re probably just trying to release gas!
If you’re wondering what it means when your baby clenches its fists, again this is one of the reflexes that you baby is born with.
Clenched fists can mean your baby is hungry, especially if they place their fist in or near their mouth. They should start to unclench their fists when they become full.
Clenches fists can also mean your baby is tired.
Baby Body Language – Signs Your Baby Is Hungry
There are several signs that your baby is hungry and needs feeding. These can include them becoming more alert, moving their head from side to side and opening their mouth.
As they become hungrier, your baby will move more and potentially put their hand in their mouth.
Later clues include crying, becoming red, and being stiffer and more agitated with their movements. It can help your baby if you soothe them first before feeding in these instances.
These are all signs that your baby is hungry and needs feeding.
Start Your Baby’s Journey Right With Wellbaby
We understand how important it is to take care of your baby’s body and diet from birth – looking after their nutritional intake when they are young can help safeguard their long -term health. A healthy diet can help aid your baby’s growth, brain, and bone development - which is why it’s important to ensure they are getting the right nutrients.
Our Wellbaby range of vitamins for babies includes Wellbaby Multi-vitamin Drops and Wellbaby Multi-vitamin Liquid, both specifically formulated with Vitamins A, C and D, as recommended by the UK Department of Health for children from 6 months to 5 years old. Vitamin D is needed for normal growth and development of bones in children and contributes to their normal immune system function. The comprehensive formulations also include iron which contributes to normal cognitive development of children, plus vitamin B6 and zinc. All of this combined helps safeguard their nutritional intake to help support a healthy start in life for your little ones.
Once You’ve Read Our Post On Baby Body Language, Read These:
- Our guide to baby crawling – all the signs your baby is about to start moving.
- All the information you need about childcare in the UK