What to Do About Your Baby Banging Legs During Sleep

As a parent, you may have noticed that your baby banging legs during sleep. This can be a source of worry and concern, especially if it happens frequently.

It’s important to understand the reasons behind why this might be happening so that you can take appropriate steps to help reduce or stop the behavior.

In this article, we will explore what is causing your baby to bang their legs during sleep and provide tips on what you can do about it.

Baby Banging Legs During Sleep

As a new parent, you naturally want your baby to get the best possible sleep, but what do you do when they start banging their legs during night?

it’s important to understand why babies bang their legs during sleep. For many infants, it’s simply a way of self-soothing or getting comfortable in their crib.

However, there are instances where this behavior may be an indication of an underlying medical condition such as restless leg syndrome or even teething discomfort.

If you’re concerned about your baby’s leg-banging habits or if the behavior persists over time, don’t hesitate to speak with your pediatrician. Sometimes baby sleeps on the chest and it becomes difficult to handle.

Why does my baby slam his legs down at night while sleeping?

Baby Banging Legs During Sleep

I was terrified when I first noticed my baby slamming his legs down at night while sleeping! It’s a startling and alarming sound that makes us worry about our little one’s health.

After frantically researching online and speaking with our pediatrician, I learned that this is actually quite common in babies and isn’t usually a cause for concern.

Babies and toddlers often are restless when they’re sleeping. Luckily, they are unlikely to hurt themselves at all and will continue to grow out of it.

Reason 1: Pediatric Periodic Limb Movement Disorder Could Be Causing Slamming Legs

Pediatric Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) is one of the reasons why your baby could be banging their legs during sleep.

PLMD is a neurological condition characterized by involuntary and repetitive limb movements during sleep.

These movements can occur every 20-40 seconds and may last for several minutes, causing discomfort and disrupting your child’s sleep.

Children with PLMD may experience other symptoms such as daytime fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, and behavioral problems due to lack of restful night’s sleep.

It is crucial to identify this condition early on so that it can be treated effectively. Treatment options for PLMD include medications such as dopamine agonists or iron supplements, which have shown promising results in reducing symptoms.

If you notice your baby banging their legs during sleep frequently, it is essential to consult your pediatrician immediately.

What is Pediatric Limb Movement Disorder?

Pediatric limb movement disorder is a medical condition that affects babies and young children.

It often presents itself as involuntary movements of the limbs, such as kicking or twitching during sleep.

This disorder can cause discomfort for both the child and their parents, as it can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to exhaustion throughout the day.

One common symptom of pediatric limb movement disorder is baby banging their legs during sleep.

This can be a sign that the child is experiencing discomfort or restlessness in their sleep, which may be caused by several factors.

These could include underlying medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy, or simply an overactive nervous system.

Parents need to recognize when their child may be showing signs of pediatric limb movement disorder so that they can seek proper treatment from a healthcare provider.

In some cases, lifestyle changes such as improving sleep habits or adjusting medications may help alleviate symptoms.

What causes Pediatric Limb Movement Disorder?

There are several possible causes of Pediatric Limb Movement Disorder including genetic factors, neurological disorders, and metabolic issues.

For some children, it may simply be a normal part of development and they will outgrow it over time. However, in other cases, treatment may be necessary to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life.

Parents who notice their child displaying any unusual movements during sleep should consult with their pediatrician to determine if there is an underlying condition causing these behaviors.

How is Pediatric Limb Disorder Treated?

The treatment approach for pediatric limb disorder varies depending on the individual case. In some instances, medication may be prescribed to manage symptoms such as pain and stiffness.

Physiotherapy may also be recommended to improve muscle strength and mobility. Occupational therapy can help children develop skills necessary for daily activities like dressing and feeding themselves independently.

Reason 2: Overstimulation Might Cause Baby Banging Legs in Sleep

When babies are exposed to too much sensory input, they may find it hard to settle down and fall asleep. This can lead to restless legs during sleep as a way of releasing pent-up energy.

Overstimulation can come from various sources such as bright lights, loud noises, or even an overcrowded room with too many people.

As parents, it’s essential to identify the triggers that may be causing your baby’s overstimulation and try to eliminate them as much as possible.

Creating a calm and soothing environment before bedtime can help reduce stimulation levels and promote better sleep quality for your little one.

Reason 3 for Baby Lifting and Slamming Legs in Sleep: Pain or Discomfort

Babies may experience pain or discomfort while asleep, leading them to engage in these movements.

Some infants may have a hard time settling into a comfortable position or may develop gas pains, which can cause discomfort.

In response, they may instinctively move their legs to relieve the pain. Additionally, teething can also lead to discomfort in young children, causing them to exhibit similar behaviors during sleep.

If you notice your baby repeatedly banging their legs during sleep and suspect that it’s due to pain or discomfort, there are steps you can take to alleviate this issue.

Reason 4: Reflux or Allergies – the Culprit for Your Baby Slamming Legs in Sleep?

It’s not uncommon for parents to think that their baby is experiencing some sort of discomfort or pain, but the cause may not always be clear. Reflux or allergies are two possible culprits for this behavior.

Reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing discomfort and potentially leading to irritability during sleep.

Babies who suffer from reflux may also experience difficulty sleeping and display other signs of discomfort like arching their backs or crying during feeding.

Allergies can also cause similar symptoms, including leg banging in sleep.

Common allergens that affect babies include cow’s milk protein, soy protein, wheat, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts.

What Is Reflux?

Reflux is a common condition that affects both adults and infants. In babies, reflux occurs when the muscle between the food pipe and the stomach is not fully developed.

This can cause the contents of the stomach to flow back up into the food pipe, leading to discomfort for your little one.

As a result, you might notice symptoms such as frequent spitting up, irritability after feeding, and arching of the back during or after eating.

Another symptom that parents often observe in babies with reflux is leg banging during sleep.

While it may seem alarming at first, this behavior is a coping mechanism for your baby’s discomfort caused by reflux.

Banging their legs against something provides sensory input which can help soothe them and make them feel more comfortable.

You can also try different formula milk for reflux and you can change the Warm or Cold Formula for Infant Reflux according to your baby’s situation.

How Can Parents Help a Baby with Acid Reflux?

There are several things that parents can do to help ease their baby’s symptoms.

The first step is to talk to your pediatrician about your concerns. They may recommend changes to your baby’s feeding schedule or offer medication options if necessary.

Keeping your baby in an upright position after feedings can help reduce reflux symptoms. You should also avoid overfeeding or feeding too quickly as this can exacerbate acid reflux.

Another helpful tip is to make sure your baby’s sleeping environment is comfortable and safe.

Reason 5: Developmental Milestones Could Cause Baby Slamming Legs in Sleep

As babies grow and develop, they go through various physical and cognitive changes that can affect their sleep patterns.

For example, as they begin to learn how to roll over or crawl, they may experience increased muscle tension or excitement that leads to leg banging during the night.

Another possible reason for the baby’s leg slamming during sleep is related to teething. As teeth begin to erupt through the gums, babies may experience discomfort or pain that leads them to move around more in bed. This movement can sometimes result in leg banging or other restless behaviors.

Reason 6: Stress and Anxiety Could Cause Baby Banging Legs in Sleep

If your baby is banging their legs during sleep, it could be a sign of stress and anxiety. Babies, just like adults, can experience stress and anxiety for various reasons.

It could be due to changes in routine, teething, or separation anxiety when you leave them alone in their crib.

If left unchecked, this stress and anxiety can manifest itself in different ways, including leg slamming.

One way to alleviate this issue is by creating a soothing bedtime routine. This will help your baby feel relaxed and calm before going to bed.

A warm bath or massage followed by lullabies or stories can help ease the tension they might be feeling.

Make sure that the room temperature is comfortable as overheating can also cause babies to become restless.

Reason 7: Teething and Hunger Could Be Why Your Baby’s Slamming Legs in Sleep

Teething can be an uncomfortable and painful process for babies, and it may cause them to move around more in their sleep or slam their legs down as a way to relieve the discomfort.

If you suspect teething may be the culprit, try giving your baby some teething toys or applying some teething gel before bedtime to help soothe their gums.

Your baby may be slamming their legs in their sleep due to hunger. Babies have small stomachs and may wake up frequently throughout the night because they are hungry.

This can cause them to thrash around or slam their legs down as a way to express their discomfort.

Try giving your baby an extra feeding before bed or adding an extra feed during the night if they seem particularly restless. Check When Should a Son Stop Sleeping With Mom?

Solutions for Baby Banging Legs During Sleep

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve experienced the frustration and concern of your baby slamming their legs in sleep.

While it’s not uncommon for babies to move around during the night, excessive leg movements can be uncomfortable for both them and you.

Luckily, some solutions can help reduce or even eliminate this problem.


Swaddling involves wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket, which mimics the feeling of being in the womb. This can help prevent sudden movements that startle them awake.

It also helps regulate body temperature and prevents babies from scratching themselves or getting tangled up in blankets.


Massaging your baby’s legs before bed can help relax their muscles and reduce the likelihood of leg flailing during sleep.

Start by gently rubbing your baby’s legs with both hands, using long strokes in a downward motion from the thigh to the foot.

You can also try lightly massaging your baby’s feet and toes – this will not only help them relax but may also improve their overall circulation.

Sleep Environment

It’s important to evaluate your baby’s sleep environment. Make sure they are sleeping on a comfortable mattress or crib and that the room is at a comfortable temperature.

Consider using white noise or calming music to create a soothing atmosphere that promotes sleep.


One of the easiest solutions is to introduce a pacifier to your baby’s bedtime routine. Sucking on a pacifier has a calming effect on most babies and helps them relax, making it less likely for them to move around as much during sleep.

The rhythmic sucking action also helps regulate breathing, which promotes deeper sleep. You can start by introducing the pacifier when you put your baby down for bed or naps so they associate it with sleepy time.

What are Pediatric Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) and its signs and symptoms?

Pediatric Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) is a neurological disorder that affects many children and adolescents. The disorder is characterized by repetitive movements of the limbs during sleep, usually in the legs but can also occur in the arms.

These movements are rhythmic and can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Although these movements are not painful, they can disrupt sleep patterns and cause excessive daytime sleepiness.

The signs and symptoms of pediatric PLMD include:

  • Jerking or twitching movements in the arms or legs during sleep
  • Frequent awakenings at night
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Restless leg syndrome-like symptoms such as an urge to move the legs to relieve discomfort
  • Daytime fatigue or drowsiness
  • Irritability or mood swings due to poor quality of sleep
  • Decreased attention span or memory problems

How to get a baby to stop leg banging in their sleep?

Ensure that your baby is comfortable and cozy before bedtime. Make sure their room is at a suitable temperature and that they have enough blankets or clothing to keep them warm throughout the night.

Try playing calming music or using white noise machines to create a soothing environment for your baby to drift off in.

Another effective way to help reduce leg banging is by using a swaddle blanket. This will keep your baby’s arms and legs securely wrapped up, making them feel safe and secure.

If all else fails, try gently rubbing your baby’s back or tummy while they fall asleep. This can be very comforting for babies as it feels like being hugged. Check Is Child Ready for Sleepover?

When should you see your pediatrician about your baby’s leg banging and slamming?

The first thing you should consider if your baby starts leg banging and slamming is their age. This behavior is typical for babies under six months old as they are still developing their motor skills.

However, if your baby continues this behavior beyond six months old, it might be time to consult with a pediatrician.

Another factor to observe is the frequency and intensity of the leg banging and slamming; excessive movements could indicate sensory processing issues or developmental delays that require professional attention.

You may also face an awkward situation when your baby rubs their face on you and you will not be sure why a baby is rubbing his face whether it’s love or anything the baby needs.


As a parent, it can be concerning to see your baby banging legs during sleep. However, rest assured that this is a common occurrence and usually nothing to worry about.

By following these tips such as creating a calm sleep environment, ensuring they are well-fed and comfortable, and checking in with your pediatrician if necessary, you can help alleviate any discomfort your baby may be experiencing.

Remember that each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Trust your instincts and do what feels best for your little one. Sweet dreams! Check the related article about Sleep Safety for Toddlers: When Blankets & Pillows Are Safe.

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