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Is it OK to soothe a 1-month-old by dancing or bouncing briskly?

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Sometimes I have to dance/bounce around briskly in order to get my 1-month-old to fall asleep. Is this damaging to her delicate head, even with my arms supporting her?


Thank you for asking this question. It's a very important one for parents of newborns.

We need to be aware of this potential danger for babies. An infant's head is relatively large compared to the rest of the body, and the neck muscles are not as strong as they will be. Inside, the brain is still developing and has sensitive blood vessels. All of this together makes us aware that we need to be cautious and that it is possible to seriously harm a newborn. Sudden jerking back and forth of a baby's head can cause tearing of blood vessels inside the brain and lead to damage. This does not happen commonly and most often occurs when an adult shakes an infant violently. But to be safe, it is best to avoid any significant back and forth movement of a baby's head.

Therefore, rocking, walking, slow dancing, and singing to a newborn are great. I would avoid the bouncing around briskly and see if there are other options that will work to help your little one fall asleep. Of course, you are tired, too, from sleepless nights, and babies can sense when you are tired or stressed. Don't be afraid to ask others to pitch in on some evenings -- often grandparents would love to help. It's also very important for parents to take turns. Good luck and thanks for asking.


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