What is the newborn scrunch & why does my baby do it?

If you’ve welcomed a little one into your family recently, you may have noticed them doing the ‘newborn scrunch’ when you pick them up and have wondered why they do it.

The term has been trending on social media recently, where parents share videos of the adorable ‘scrunch’ their newborn does with their body after being moved from their cot or car seat.

If you’re trying to figure out why this happens in the first place, we have a breakdown of the newborn scrunch below and it’s generally nothing to worry about.

What does it look like

When your new arrival is picked up after being in their cot, car seat or laying on a changing table, your baby can fold themselves into an L-shape and stiffen their limbs into a scrunched-up position. They usually bring their arms and legs close to them, so they almost look balled-up.

Why do they do it

The newborn scrunch usually occurs because they are used to being in that position inside your womb. It gives them a sense of comfort and security because they were used to being scrunched up inside you before they made their arrival into the world. It is a natural reaction for their body to reflex into the scrunch shape with many researchers believing it is connected to the moro reflex where babies move them limbs outwards before quickly bringing them close to themselves. The newborn scrunch may also be part of your tot’s development as they get used to using their motor skills and coordinating their own bodies.

Credit: Molly-Mae Hague TikTok

How long does it last

The scrunch usually begins while your little one is still in the womb, during the third trimester. Once your baby is born, they can continue to do the newborn scrunch until they are up to six months old but many babies stop much earlier than this. Your child will normally stop doing the movement once they are used to being outside the womb. This is why many mums are capturing the cute positioning on camera- because they won’t do it forever and once they stop, it’s a sign they’re getting older. Even Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague shared a clip of when baby Bambi stopped doing the scrunch at 6 weeks old.

If you are concerned, always check with your GP or midwife for more information.