The "Newborn Curl"Aug 01, 2022
IS MY NEWBORN ROLLING ALREADY!?
You probably know by now that I suggest swaddling a newborn baby for sleep. Refer to this blog to learn more about that! We also know that it’s time to transition out of the swaddle when your baby shows ANY signs of intentional rolling which can happen as early as 8 weeks old. You can learn more about those signs of rolling and how to transition out of the swaddle here.
OK… BUT WHAT IF MY NEWBORN BABY IS ALREADY ROLLING TO THEIR SIDE?! ARE THEY ALREADY ROLLING?!
Well short answer, no. This is something called “The Newborn Curl.” An involuntary physiological flexion for brand new babies. Basically, newborn babies are used to being in the womb all scrunched up in the fetal position. In the first few weeks of life their body can just scrunch back up into the fetal position and unintentionally roll to their sides. They may even successfully roll over to their tummy sometimes. The point is, this was not intentional at this age as those little muscles just aren’t quite ready for that yet. Your baby’s little arms and legs will gradually uncurl and extend as they get used to being outside of the womb!
If your baby is premature and isn’t doing this, that is because this muscle tone does not develop until later in pregnancy, so a baby is more likely to move into this fetal position if they were born full term.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to stop swaddling when a baby begins to show INTENTIONAL signs of rolling.
If this “newborn curl” is happening with your baby, you don’t need to unswaddle just yet, but keep an eye out for those intentional rolling signs such as:
Rolling onto their shoulders or side
Lifting their head and shoulders more often during tummy time
Rolling hips from side to side using their legs
Moving in circles by kicking their legs when on their backs
This usually happens anytime between 8 weeks and 6 months old. So you can rest easy if your 2 week old is doing this “newborn curl”!
Regardless of whether or not they are curling up, you want their sleep space to be totally bare and empty. This will keep them safe. Learn more about safe sleep (and how the flip to make it easier) here.
STILL CONFUSED OVER NEWBORN AND BABY SLEEP? I CAN HELP YOU!
The Newborn Sleep Guide provides you a clear pathway to walk you through every step of the way. The goal is that you’ll walk away feeling confident and supported in your newborn’s sleep. You’ll finally feel hope again. It’s not too good to be true!
Li DK, Petitti DB, Willinger M, McMahon R, Odouli R, Vu H, Hoffman HJ. Infant sleeping position and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in California, 1997-2000. Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Mar 1;157(5):446-55. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwf226. PMID: 12615609.
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