Why Do Babies Arch Their Backs? (& How To Stop It)

If you’re like most moms who only want the best for their little one, you may sometimes worry over simple things such as babies often arching their back. While sometimes it can come from a simple need to get attention, such as the need for food. However, there can be times when repeated arching back can mean something else.

So why exactly do babies arch their backs? It can be a frustrating experience if you don’t know the answer. Therefore, in this article, we’ll give you the causes and solutions if your baby is often arching their back.

Baby Arching Back: Common Causes

Here are the most common reasons why your baby often arches their back:

1. It could be due to reflux. As most parents will know, reflux is a common problem among babies due to their underdeveloped digestive system and response to acid. Similar to heartburn, reflux can be painful and annoying for babies, which causes them to arch their back to help catch their breath better.

This happens if your baby starts crying a lot during their back-arching routine. If this scenario comes to play, it may be best to ask your doctor about it to avoid compromising your baby’s health overall.

Related post: Best Baby Bottle for Reflux and Gas

2. Your baby may have colic. Reflux and colic aren’t really the same thing as you might have thought before. Colic is characterized by frequent crying with a reddish face while passing gas and having a bloated stomach. Although it is also characterized by frequent crying, what really causes it may not be just one problem.

Most babies get rid of this colic when they turn 3 to 4 months old. However, if your baby’s condition doesn’t get any better, it’s probably time to go to the doctor just to be sure.

3. Your baby may be trying to say something. Since babies don’t know how to speak yet, they try body language as the last resort, which may sometimes take in the form of back arching.

Maybe your baby needs to have their diapers changed? Maybe they’re not feeling pleasant over a certain noise? Or maybe they’re hungry? It’s a matter of trial and error on trying to play a game of charades with your baby in this case.

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4. Your baby may have rumination disorder. This is an eating disorder in which your child may eat and chew food, and after swallowing it, bring it back, thus the rumination process. This is usually due to stress or some other physical illness, especially pertaining to problems in their neurodevelopment.

Babies who tend to have bad breath and cracked lips, as well as those with bad teeth (if they already develop theirs) and a sudden loss on their weight. Most babies grow out of it, though.

5. Your baby could have a very serious illness or disorder. If you’ve talked to your doctor, they might diagnose your baby with any of the following if the back arching tends to be a little different:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: back arching is a common sign of autism spectrum disorder because it displays their delayed neurological development, which includes cognition and motor skill problems.
  • Sleep Apnea: considered a serious case, babies who tend to sleep on their backs could get it, and arching their back may help to keep their breathing in a normal state.
  • Infantile spasm: a kind of seizure disorder, this one is usually displayed when your baby doesn’t seem to have any control over their back arching. It is best to discover it as early as possible to help treat it right away.
  • Cerebral Palsy: repetitive back arching can sometimes be an indication of cerebral palsy due to the tonic labyrinthine reflex, usually caused by certain brain damage upon birth or development.
  • Kernicterus: this could occur on a very rare occasion and it is usually caused by a serious type of jaundice, which impacts the brain of your child. Your baby may get highly irritated and feel painful due to kernicterus, which may cause them to arch their back.

How to Stop Baby from Arching Back

While it can cause you to panic a lot if you see your baby arch their back so badly, here are some things you can do:

1. Try to calm down your baby. Consider moving them to a place with fewer or no distractions. This may be important for those who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. You can also try to bathe them or sing them a lullaby to help them sleep or calm down.

2. Give them a distraction. Use toys or make silly faces and noises so that the arching and crying could eventually go away for a while. Not only that, but it’s also a good way of bonding with your little one.

3. Try cuddling your baby. They do need some TLC, which may come in the form of a simple cuddle. This may also help babies who are suffering from reflux.

Contacting a Doctor

When your baby’s back arching tends to be a bad habit, to the point that it stresses both you and the baby, it’s probably time to call the doctor. If you visit the doctor, consider giving them solid evidence, such as footage of your baby arching their back, so they can easily figure out what might be wrong.

You can also prepare the questions you have in mind for your baby, as well as what you have tried to do to ease the back arching habit of your little one. In this way, you can already have a clear picture as to what to say to your doctor, and your doctor, in turn, will easily make a diagnosis for your baby.

Communication is very important, as well as physical evidence. By talking to your GP, you may know which habits to try or change when taking care of your baby to avoid the back arching routine.

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Conclusion

In the long run, babies could arch their backs just because of simple communication attempts. However, if the crying really persists, you could try talking to a doctor to see if there is an underlying cause, especially if the back arching is very severe and it doesn’t seem to go away.

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