Normal newborn behaviors

Newborn babies have some interesting noises and behaviors that may leave parents wondering, “is that normal?” Many of these “normal” newborn behaviors are due to reflexes that they have. If you are ever worried about your baby, the best thing to do is always to ask your pediatrician. Don’t be shy, chances are many other parents have asked these same questions. Here are some common and “normal” behaviors that you may see your newborn do during the first few months of life.

Hiccups: These are very normal in a newborn and often, babies do not seem bothered by them. You may find that breastfeeding or sucking on a pacifier may help to get rid of them. However, there is no need to worry as they will stop on their own.

Sneezing: Many parents think that when their newborn sneezes, they have a cold. However, babies also sneeze to clear germs and particles out of their airways as a natural defense against illness. It is their way of clearing their tiny airway, since they cannot blow their nose.

Crossing or rolling the eyes: Newborn babies have uncoordinated eye movements. You may notice your baby cross their eyes, or roll them. As your baby grows, and with time, the muscles of the eye strengthen and you will see this improve.

Startle reflex: You may notice your baby startle, or jump in response to a loud noise or movement. Sometimes, they do this even without an apparent reason. You will see them throw their head back and extend out their arms and legs, and then cry and pull them back in again.  This is a very normal and involuntary response, called the Moro reflex that typically disappears by month 3. A tight swaddle can help your infant feel secure and prevent them from startling or waking themselves up from this reflex.    

Noisy breathing: Newborns breathe much more rapidly than an adult. In fact, in just one minute, they may take anywhere from 40 to 60 breaths. You will notice their breathing is not constantly rhythmic and that they take rapid, shallow breaths. Sometimes, they pause a few seconds and then take another breath, which is called “periodic breathing.” With time, babies will outgrow this pattern of breathing. If your baby ever looks blue or dusky in color, if they are coughing or wheezing, or you are concerned or worried about their breathing you should always call for help.

About the author:
Boston NAPS, LLC is a Boston-based, private nursing company and team of qualified Registered Nurses that specializes in providing nursing care to expecting, new, and experienced parents and families. Boston NAPS services include prenatal, postpartum, lactation, and newborn support and education to families throughout Massachusetts. All services are offered in the privacy and comfort of your home, with some services also offered in a group setting. For more information about Boston NAPS, please visit their website at


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