The Best Ways On How to Deal With Babies Arching Back When Held

I love holding my baby! Each time I have the chance to take her, and she is all giggly and cute, it gives me a feeling of joy and excitement. These are the special moments that I will always treasure in my life.

But then, I noticed something different when she was nine months old. Every time I tried to hold her, she arches her back. I was surprised that she was doing that! I was afraid she might hurt her back and dislocate her spine. It is so fragile and babies arching back when held might do them badly.

I asked my pediatrician about it and did some research. In this post, you will learn the main reasons why babies are arching their backs.


Is It Normal?

There are scenes when you see your baby arching his lower back in a backward position. His neck is extended than its average length, and his hands are thrown in the air.

As frightening and worrisome as it can be, babies arching their backs is a normal phase. In fact, Bob Sears, a pediatrician, and a well-known parenting author claims that almost all babies are going through such phase. They arch their backs due to some reasons, and most of them are emotional and physical causes.

The arching of the back is also part of the unusual body movements that babies do. These actions are their means to communicate what they want and how they feel because they are still not capable of talking.

Babies express themselves through their bodies such as rubbing their eyes when they feel tired or cooing when they feel happy or eager. Regarding back arching, babies do so when they are in discomfort and irritation. Sometimes, they arch their backs when they feel satisfied after a feeding and would want to move away.

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Reasons Why Babies Arch Their Backs

Frustration – Anger is the top reason why babies continually arch their backs. At their age of nine months, they are able to know the difference between what they want and what they don’t want. If they do not get what they like, they will feel angry and frustrated. Since they are not able to express themselves in words, they do so in actions such as back arching.

Gastroesophageal reflux – If you notice your baby arching his back during a feeding, then it is likely a gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux. Babies have the lower esophageal sphincter that is still underdeveloped and weak to stop the flow of acid from the stomach to the food pipe. During feeding, acid and food may move upwards without restriction thus resulting to a reflux. If this happens, babies will vomit and arch their backs.

Autism – Babies with autism manifest different symptoms that are also common to some babies. One of these is back arching. While arching of the back is an early sign, it does not conclude that your baby may also have autism due to his actions. Babies with autism usually arch their backs when held or choose to sleep on the side with the head arched back.

Colic – When your baby cries for more than 3 hours a day for straight days, he is likely to have colic. Many parents experience this type of situation in their babies and they end up frustrated and confused on why it is happening. Colic is an episode of crying to an otherwise healthy baby. However, these episodes may end up after several months. Some symptoms of colic include clenching of fist, arching of the back and stiffening of the body.

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Nerve Injury – Caused by premature birth, some nerves of babies may be damaged because of the physical pressures in deliveries.

Conditions That May Cause Your Baby to Arch His Back

Cerebral palsy – When your child experiences this condition, he is unable to control his actions. The damage on the part of the brain that controls motor movements is causing him to arch his back involuntarily.

Infantile spasms – Also known as Epileptic Seizure, infantile spasms can cause your baby to contract his muscles involuntarily resulting to the arching of the back and neck.

Kernicterus – The arching of the back and crying while suffering from a liver ailment may be a symptom of kernicterus, or the damage to the brain. In this condition, there are involuntary motor spasms influencing the baby's’ movements.

What You Can Do

Stop worrying! We may not help it, but worrying can only cease us from thinking what to do. Whenever you see your baby arching his back, do something and not get caught up in your emotions.

Support his body. You may want to grab his back immediately for support and cuddle him close to you. Place him in a comfortable and straight position close to your chest and calm him down with your hands and soothing words.

Take his mind off to something else. Create a diversion such as a colorful surroundings or a musical toy. Babies may be frustrated and irritated but the change of view can become interesting for him.

Wrap your baby. You can swaddle him so he will not move too much. Swaddling is also comforting to babies and it will help calm him down. Keep close to him when you swaddle so it will make him feel that you are hugging him.

Find out what makes him frustrated. Is it the hot temperature or the uncomfortable clothes? Is he hungry or is he getting bored with nothing to do or see? Knowing the reasons why your baby arch his back will help you find a solution for him to stop his actions.

Keep Doing Your Best!

Seeing our babies do things that are unusual and risky can cause a leap in our hearts and make us worry for days. We do not want them to get injured or suffer from a disease. With their weak bones and little bodies, it is most likely not healthy for them to arch their backs when held.

I talked to my doctor about my baby’s actions, and she told me not to worry since these are normal. However, we must still have an attentive eye to behaviors that have no improvement and are getting worst. These may seem ordinary, but the frequent occurrence may lead to something bad.

Does your baby arch his back often? What did you do? Share with us your tips!

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