If your baby’s lip quivers rapidly, particularly their lower lip, then they may have a condition called baby lip quiver. Sometimes, this quivering might be accompanied by crying. In addition, the tremble would resemble that of a cartoon character when it is cold.
Many factors contribute to a baby’s lip quiver. These factors could be the common cold or an underlying complex health issue such as an underdeveloped immune system or low vitamin levels. Although you need not worry yet, it is safe to observe your baby for other accompanying symptoms. Note any unusual and repetitive behaviors or symptoms that are interfering with your baby’s well-being.
Read on to know more about the causes behind this lip quivering, the treatment, and the signs to watch out for.
Why Does A Baby’s Lips Quiver?
Here are some possible reasons for the quivering of lips in babies.
1. Immature nervous system
Babies are born with an immature nervous system, which might cause the lower lip to tremble. This is normal and generally subsides in two or three months. During the growing period, the brain sends electrical impulses throughout the body. When this becomes erratic or too quick, it can be too much for the baby’s immature nervous system to handle, causing the lips to quiver (1).
Sometimes, other parts of the body, such as the limbs, tremble and jerk. These could be behind the lip quivering when your baby is young. If the quivering persists after your baby is six months, consult your pediatrician.
2. Use of muscles
Sometimes, the baby’s lips also quiver when they use certain muscles for peeing or passing wind. During such instances, the baby’s lower lip and jaw shake uncontrollably for a few seconds. This is common in newborns, as their muscles are still fragile. If your little one’s lips quiver, check their diaper.
3. Change in the temperature
Another common reason why a baby’s lips quiver is the cold temperature. You might often notice your baby’s lips quivering, their teeth chattering, and their body shivering when you take them out in the cold or when you put them in the bathtub.
4. Medical reasons
In rare cases, baby lip quivering could result from a congenital disability or an underlying medical issue. Some pathological conditions associated with tremors include hypoglycemia, intracranial hemorrhage, and hyperthyroid state (2). Studiesindicate that tremors and quivering of lips could also indicate hypocalcemia, this could be due to an underlying kidney problem or genetic cause for the low level.
If you notice prolonged quivering of lips in your baby and have ruled out nonmedical reasons, it is best to consult your pediatrician.
Diagnosis Of Lip Quivering In Babies
Your child’s doctor would do a physical examination to understand the reason behind the lip quivering. They may also ask questions about the baby’s medical history and if you had any complications during pregnancy or delivery.
The doctor might also recommend tests such as brain imaging (CT Scan or MRI), EEG, and X-rays to understand the brain’s functioning. Blood tests may also be conducted to understand if there are any deficiencies.
Treatments For Baby Lip Quiver
If the quivering of lips is due to an immature nervous system or weak muscles, it usually improves on its own in two to three months.
But, if your doctor has diagnosed any other medical issues, they might recommend the following treatments.
- For hypocalcemia, the treatment options depend on the extent of calcium deficiency. If the calcium levels are less than 6mg/dL in preterm infants and 7mg/dL in term infants, your doctor might prescribe calcium replacements (3).
- In the case of more serious neurological problems, the doctor might prescribe medications or physical therapy.
Tips For Easing Quivering Lips In Babies
You can follow these tips for easing your baby’s quivering lips in the case of nonmedical reasons.
- Cover your baby in warm clothes and make sure their bath water is at an optimum temperature.
- Hold your baby close and gently tap on their lips when they quiver.
- Keep track of the time and situations when your baby’s lips quiver.
- Avoid exposing them to cold climates for long hours.
- Breastfeed them exclusively for the first six months.
- Eas nutritious food so that your breast milk contains all the nutrients required for your baby to grow and thrive.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why does my baby quiver his lower lip while crying?
Lower lip quivering is one of the primitive newborn reflexes caused due to an immature nervous system (4). Activities such as crying or feeding may send rapid nerve impulses that the developing nervous system cannot process completely, causing quivering of the lower lip.
2. How long do babies’ lips quiver?
Lip quivering is usually a harmless newborn reflex that takes two to three months to fade away (1).
3. What does it mean when a baby’s lips quiver?
Lip quivering in newborns is normal for the first two or three months and indicates that the nervous system is still developing. However, quivering may also occur due to low blood sugar, excess thyroid hormones, and low calcium levels (2) (3). Check with your pediatrician if you feel concerned about persistent lip quivering in your baby.
4. Could a quivering bottom lip be a sign of a congenital disability?
A quivering bottom lip does not always indicate a congenital disability in babies. This may occur since their brain structure and functions are developing. In some cases, it can also be a sign of congenital disability. However, doctors usually exclude other possible causes, such as low calcium levels, muscle movements, and low glucose levels, before considering diagnosis or tests for congenital disabilities (5).
As parents, you observe every little movement of your baby. It is okay to get overprotective and over considerate when you see any unusual movement for the first time, such as a baby lip quiver. Do not panic if you have noticed your baby’s lips occasionally quiver. But keep observing to determine if it is normal or due to nonmedical reasons. If you notice it for a long time and you are concerned about the other symptoms, consult your baby’s doctor and begin proper treatment at the earliest.
- The quivering of a baby’s lips is normal and can occur due to an underdeveloped nervous system, cold temperature, use of certain muscles, or underlying morbidity.
- The doctor may carry out a physical examination along with a blood test and imaging modalities such as CT scan, EEG, or X-rays as part of the diagnosis.
- Treatment usually involves home observation and remedies, but the doctor may prescribe medications and therapy if a serious condition is diagnosed.
- The persistence of the quivering for more than three months may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical intervention.
2. Mônica Ayres de Araújo Scattolin et al.; Chin tremor in full-term neonate after hypoxia; Sao Paulo Medical Journal (2012).
3. Dogus Vuralli; Clinical Approach to Hypocalcemia in Newborn Period and Infancy: Who Should Be Treated?; International Journal of Pediatrics (2019).
4. Newborn Reflexes and Behavior; Seattle Children’s.