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Early years

26th Apr 2024

What is the newborn scrunch and why it happens


It might be the sweetest thing in the world.

The newborn scrunch has been circulating the internet over the last few months and whether you have just welcomed a little one or not, you’ll definitely have seen this.

When picking a newborn up, they tend to do this adorable “scrunch”, keeping themselves curled up in a ball even when in mid-air.

Since the term has been trending online, particularly on TikTok, we thought we’d do a deep dive into what the “newborn scrunch” actually is, and why babies do it.

The first and most important thing to remember is that it’s generally harmless and nothing to worry about.

When picking up a newborn from a cot, crib, car seat, or changing mat, they tend to fold themselves in an L shape and stiffen their limbs, bringing their arms and legs close to their bodies.

@lifewithpandk The newborn scrunch ??? melts my heart oh my goshh! #fyp #fypシ #foryou #foryourpage #couplestiktok #newborn #newbaby #relatable #realistic #dayinmylife #vlog #thankyougod #inspiring #godisgood #prayedfor #couplesgoals #newbornscrunch #viral #familytok #family ♬ Loved You Before – Natalie Taylor

So why do they do this? The answer really is simple, babies are so used to being in this position in the womb that once they are welcomed in the world, they continue doing so for comfort.

Giving them a sense of security is nothing more than their little bodies’ natural reflexes.

Many researchers believe it is connected to the moro reflex, meaning the babies move their limbs outwards before quickly retrieving them in.

Typically, the newborn scrunch doesn’t last longer than six months at most, with most babies stopping much earlier than this. They tend to stop once they have gotten used to the outside world.

Going viral on TikTok, many mums have shared their children doing this because, if anything, it’s the cutest thing in the world.