What is the Newborn Scrunch?

The newborn scrunch? It’s nothing to worry about.

Ever wonder why babies fold their bodies when being picked up, or flex their little facial muscles for seemingly no reason? Your concern is natural, but so is the newborn scrunch. Here we’ll go into what causes it. 

newborn scrunch infographic

Newborns often scrunch or furrow their forehead while breastfeeding, sleeping, or even when they are awake and alert. Officially, it’s called the "breastfeeding scrunch" or "sleep scrunch” (which is adorable).

They also can scrunch up their bodies or tense their legs when being picked up out of their carseat, folding up into a little L-shape. 

Why do babies do the newborn scrunch? 

  • Reflex: The scrunching movement may be a part of the rooting reflex, which is an instinctive movement that newborns make to help locate the nipple and breast when they are hungry. 
  • Comfort: The scrunching movement may provide a sense of comfort or security for the newborn. They're new to this whole outside-the-womb thing!
  • Development: The scrunching movement may also be a part of the newborn's overall motor development, as they begin to control and coordinate their movements. 

So, next time you see your newborn scrunching up their face or body when taken out of a carseat, it’s natural. The scrunching movement is simply a normal part of a newborn's development — nothing to be concerned about. 

But if you are feeling concerned about your baby's movements or behavior, it's always best to consult with a pediatrician for personalized advice