Does your baby shake?

Recently I have noticed that when I pick my daughter up immediately after she wakes from her naps and lay her on her change table, she holds her arms up and they tremble as if she was shivering and cold. She is still very groggy and warm from being tucked in her crib so there is nothing indicating that she could actually be cold. Has anyone else experienced this? Is it symptomatic of CP or diabetes or???

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My son trembles sometimes on the changing table or in the high chair. It seems to happen for him when he gets excited (or overstimulated). He is 7.5 months adjusted.

We took him to the neurologist a couple weeks ago, just to get a baseline on him. He was born at 25 weeks 2 days at 1 lb 3.65 ozs. He did have a small brain bleed in the cerebellum in the NICU. It resolved over a couple weeks, but we feel that he really should have close monitoring. He is actually doing really well, just a little on the small side for his adjusted age.

The neurologist said that infants sometimes tremble b/c they don't have good control over their central nervous system. This is especially true of babies born prematurely. She said that the trembling was pretty common in preemies and had to do with the need for myelination (the development of fatty coating that protects the neural pathways). It hopefully will resolve as our son gets older and his neural system becomes more mature. Being a preemie, though, makes him more "at risk" for a series of things, but at 7.5 months adjusted, it is too early to make any definitive judgments.

The reason that breast milk appears to be best for babies (especially preemies) is that it contains fats that companies haven't been able to reproduce in formula. It is believed that those fats help facilitate the fatty coating of the neural pathways. It is believed that DHA helps foster brain development, which is why it has been added to most formulas in recent years. For whatever reason, American companies were a little slow to start adding DHA to formulas, but Europe had been doing it for a lot longer.

If you have a digital camera, it might be worth it to take a short video of your baby trembling. Then, show it to her pediatrician to see if it merits further examination by a specialist. Or, just call the pediatrician's office and ask.

Best wishes.

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I agree with Kate, there are so many things with our preemies that are difficult to understand. When my daughter (15 months actual, almost 1 year corrected) still shivers/trembles sometimes after she wakes up. To me it is almost like she is not quite awake enough to get herself together. I have never really worried about it much (although I do keep an eye on it) because she is doing so well with everything else. Well, except eating and drinking from a cup, but we are working on those things.

Good for you for noticing the small things and if you feel it necessary, bring it to your ped's attention.


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I don't know if this will help but when I worked at the daycare some of the kids would do the same thing. they just weren't quite awake yet. They were in a good sleep and took a little longer wake fully up. I would talk to you ped but I have seen it in lots of kids who were not preemies do the same thing.

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I am in concurrence with katek. When we went to the Children's Hospital for our little girl's preemie check-up, the doctor there told us the same thing. He explained it to us that it is as if she has a "short" in the neurons that fire to the myelin sheath to control her central nervous system. He said that at times, they will fire uncontrollably and won't hit their "target", thus causing shaking you are talking about. He also said that it is more than likey that she will grow out of it. She was born at 26 weeks and stayed 95 days in the hospital. She will be a year old next month and I have only noticed one definitive episode in the last six to seven months or so, so evidently she IS outgrowing it.

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Thank you everyone for your reassuring comments. Our daughter is also a 25 weeker now 1 year corrected 15 months actual so it is nice to see that perhaps she just isnt quite awake. We have struggled with eating and drinking as well so we were worried that perhaps something more serious than oral aversions might be at the root and that the shaking might have been a related symptom. I have only seen the shaking twice in a the last few month and never before so we will keep our eye on it and bring it up at our next perinatal clinic.

Thank you again for sharing, it has put my fears to rest. Best, Mandi

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The whole trembling thing my daughter had the same problem and i asked the doctor if that was normal and he said yes they will grow out of it but my daughter was a 26weeker and now shes 1 year corrected 10 months and she doesn't shake any more

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One of my twins has recently started shaking when they wake up, the same way described above. They were born at 36.5 weeks and are now almost 8 months old adjusted. We are going to try to catch it on videotape it to show the Dr. but I was grateful to find this message board, it seems reassuring.

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Hi all,

I posted the original q about 5 months ago and my daughter stopped this shaking a few weeks after that posting. We followed up w/ our perinatal and they said that its a common occurence as babies nervous systems are maturing and their reflexes are shifting toward conscious control. Phew! One thing to cross off our list! Hee hee hee.

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Just curious how old your daughter was when the shaking started? Glad to hear she is going well.

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She was about 8-9 months adj when I first noticed infrequent, isolated episodes and it peaked in frequency around 10-11 months and then stopped by 12 mo adj completely. Again, we were comforted knowing that for some babies, especially micro-preemies, this is just something that occurs as their nervous systems develop...that being said, if you do ever feel that something is a concern and want extra assurance, you can always take your baby to see a pediatric neurolo-specialist as we did.

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My little girl STILL shakes and she'll be 3 soon. Othewise completely normal developmentally. No signs of Autism. It's not a seizure or a tic. She mostly does it coloring, washing her hands, or anything she gets excited doing- or even watching someone else do. I can not interupt her shaking though- although it only lasts a few seconds, if I call her name or hold her hand, she cannot stop in the middle of it. I'm a bit concerned because she is definately not growing out of it. Some days it appears to be getting worse, but it may be the change in activities. Art projects definately bring it out more. I'm considering a neurologist since the pediatricians have all said "it's just her thing". If it's an immaturity in her nervous system, then why does she still do it at age 2 1/2? I just don't want to find out further down the road that it turns into something worse and we could have prevented it by treating her NOW. MS or Dystonia. I think at her age it's best to get it checked out. Does anyone have older children who still do the shaking with stiffening of limbs with the mouth held open?

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I just wanted to confirm to you Megogk, that my son does shake very similarly to your daughter. He isn't as old as she is (only 16 months actual, 13.5 adjusted) but his shakes and the circumstances in which he shakes sound quite familiar.
His Pediatrician has seen it, as well as his PT and Feeding Therapist. We are just recently approved to have an OT come and do an evaluation... but everyone so far relates the shaking to "excitement" and a way for him to "communicate". I can definitely see how it is his way of showing "excitement" but I also notice that it happens when he is "frustrated" or other sporadic times. I wish I had more answers myself and for you... But I just wanted to let you know that there is another mom experiencing this also.

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