Home Baby Moments Newborn Scrunch: The Adorable Reflex Every Parent Should Know About

Newborn Scrunch: The Adorable Reflex Every Parent Should Know About

Newborn Scrunch, Anonymous barefooted baby sleeping on soft bed in sunlight // Healthier Baby Today

As a new mom, every little twitch seems to have your attention. One of the first was a newborn scrunch. So what is an infant scrunch exactly, and how long does it last? We’re here to answer all your questions and put you at ease. Just sit back and read!

What Is a Newborn Scrunch?

Person Covering Infant With Swaddling Blanket // Healthier Baby Today

I used to ask myself about that! A newborn scrunch is the cutest thing one could ever think of. The baby will bend back and pull their legs towards the belly. And I have even seen them develop a tiny frown on the forehead that looks like they are working out!

Now, it can be alarming at first. But let me assure you that it isn’t; there is nothing wrong with it. I’m sure all newborns do this, and it’s just their method of discovering how everything in their bodies functions.

Causes of a Newborn Scrunch

Reflexes and Muscle Development

So, what makes our little ones do this adorable scrunch? Well, let me tell you, it’s all part of their fantastic development!

Do you know how we quickly move when we get scared or surprised? However, our babies have something similar, which we call the Moro reflex or startle reflex. It is as if their body was screaming at them: “Whoa, what was that?” Sometimes, this reflex can make them do significant, quick movements—including that little back arch we discussed.

And here’s another thing: our newborns are still figuring out those muscles of theirs. They’re not quite as strong as they will be, so they tend to pull those little legs up and scrunch. They’re trying to find their comfy spot, like when we curl up on the couch.

Gas and Digestive Discomfort

Our precious newborns are still learning to digest. Their little tummies are like works in progress; bless their hearts. And sometimes, that can lead to gassy moments or discomfort.

Now, here’s where that adorable scrunch comes in handy! When your little one pulls those legs up and does that little back arch, they’re helping themselves feel better. It’s like their own little yoga move! This scrunching can help them pass gas and ease that pressure in their tummy. Clever little things, aren’t they?

Hunger or Feeding Response

Feets of Newborn on Blankets // Healthier Baby Today

Have you ever noticed how little ones express what they want or how they feel without even a single word? Now, there are other things that that cute little scrunch might mean. 

Let me tell you, that cute back arch and leg pulling your baby may not just be for fun. They could ask, “Hey, Mom, I’m getting hungry over here!” Is it not intellect how they know how to get our attention?

And here’s another thing to remember: sometimes, our eager little eaters get too enthusiastic during feeding time. If you notice them scrunching up after their bottle or breast, it might be their way of saying, “Whoa, I think I overdid it a bit!” Their tummies are so tiny, and sometimes they can feel a bit bloated if they’ve had a little too much.

It’s all part of the learning process – for them and us! We’re all figuring out this feeding rhythm together. Don’t worry if it takes a little time to get it just right. You’re doing a fantastic job paying attention to your baby’s cues.

Emotional Response

Our babies are like little sponges, soaking up everything around them. Sometimes, it can all be a bit much for them, and that’s when you might see that adorable scrunch pop up. It’s like they say, “Whoa, Mom, a lot is going on here!”

And it’s not just when they’re overwhelmed. Imagine your little one is getting sleepy and seeing that little frown and scrunch. It’s almost like they’re saying, “I’m tired, but I don’t want to miss anything!” Or when they’re full of energy and excitement, that scrunch might appear as if to say, “Look at me, I’m ready to take on the world!”

Significance of a Newborn Scrunch

Close-up of a Newborn Baby Lying on a Soft Blanket // Healthier Baby Today

Understanding our babies’ behaviors is a crucial part of being a parent. The newborn scrunch is one such behavior to which we need to pay attention.

Most of the time, this scrunch is entirely standard. It’s just our babies stretching, growing, and learning about their bodies. But sometimes, it can be a signal that they need something. They might be uncomfortable, hungry, or want some attention.

Keep observing and responding to your baby’s cues. You’re doing a great job!

Normal Developmental Stage

Unlike other movements in newborns, the scrunch is often considered a natural occurrence. This means that the infant’s reflexes are intact, and muscles are utilized to initiate the movement.


Since babies cannot form sentences or words, they use some forms of gestures to show what they want. Scrunching their face might be your baby’s cue to tell you something, such as the baby is hungry, needs to burp, or the diaper is wet.

Signs of Discomfort

If your baby scrunches often and looks uncomfortable,  it may be due to discomfort caused by gas. Look for other signs of pain, such as crying, irritability, changes in feeding habits, or sleeping.

How to Respond to a Newborn Scrunch

Observe and Comfort

The first approach involves taking a closer look at how your baby behaves. If they scrunch up, for example, sometimes but seem otherwise happy, it may just be a quick cramp. Pat and comfort your baby up and down and talk to them calmly and softly.

Methods on How to Burp and Get Relief from Gas

Burping is a simple but effective way to help. Try burping your baby more frequently, both during and after feedings. This can help release trapped air and ease discomfort.

Gentle tummy massage can also be helpful. Try rubbing your baby’s abdomen in a circular motion, clockwise and counterclockwise. This can help move gas through their system and provide relief.

Hunger or Fullness

Feeding time can often trigger the scrunch. If your baby starts scrunching, it might tell you it’s hungry. It’s worth offering a feed to see if it needs it.

Sometimes, the scrunch happens during or after feeding. This could mean your baby needs to burp. Try taking a break to pat their back gently.

If your baby seems full but is still scrunching, it might need some time to get comfortable. Their tiny stomachs work hard to digest; sometimes, they need a few minutes to get comfortable.

Monitor for Persistent Discomfort

While scrunching is usually normal, watching for signs of something is essential. If the baby scratches their face and seems upset or in pain, it’s time to pay closer attention.

Suppose your baby looks consistently uncomfortable or too bothered by something. In that case, it’s better to err on caution. Remember to consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns. This can help determine the cause.

Remember, you know your baby best. If your instincts tell you something isn’t right, it’s always okay to seek medical advice. It’s better to be safe and have peace of mind.

When to Seek Medical Advice

The good news is that a newborn scrunch is normal! It is something parents are very fond of. 

However, colic may lead to excessive scrunching and pain. You should consult a doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry, right, mama? 


Photo Of Baby Laying On bed // Healthier Baby Today

The newborn scrunch, the cutest thing you’ll see all day, is a standard and mostly benign behavior that often indicates a healthy developmental presence and process. Even the most experienced parents and caretakers may still be unfamiliar with the reasons for this behavior, so it is essential to know why they scrunch before attempting to medicate or stop feedings. While it is necessary to keep feeding your baby, seek a doctor’s advice if you have any questions or concerns.



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