Motor Restlessness - part 3 of 3

Written by Maria Dior Duegaard Amdahl, owner of Baby Akademiet, May 2024

Motor restlessness: Suitable Solutions

There are several techniques and strategies that can help manage motor restlessness in babies. Establishing a consistent sleep, eating and activity routine can provide the baby with a sense of predictability and security. Calming techniques such as swimming with the leg’s exercises, gentle massage, and soothing, rhythmic noise can also be effective when helping the baby settle down. Pressure massage of joints is often a very useful tool - and a good technique to gently put your baby to sleep.

If motor restlessness disrupts bedtime and sleep providing an outlet can be a good initiative for your baby. Baby massage, cross-body movements, tummy time, reaching for toys, or practicing fine motor skills are recommended calming activities that do not stimulate the brain more than the physical body.

Establishing solid routines before bedtime can be a good initiative, but also to give the baby the opportunity to release impressions from his/her body. If you desire a program for this, we recommend the exercise program: "Motor Restlessness” (Motorisk Uro) created by Maria Schultz Appelt. Learn more here:

At Baby Akademiet, we have created a video guide how to massage your baby so he or she can settle down more easily. You can watch the guide here.

If you are having difficulties in helping your baby settle down, even after trying exercises and/or calm bedtime rituals, it may be a good idea to speak with your health visitor, who can assess your baby's needs.

Weighted Blankets or Swaddling?

An interesting solution that is becoming more and more popular and common is the use of weighted blankets for children and swaddling for babies. Weighted blankets work by exerting a gentle, even pressure giving your child the feeling of being held or hugged. This can evoke a calming effect, helping some children fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly, thus potentially preventing short naps or restless sleep.

Research on the use of weighted blankets for babies is still in the early stages, and it's important to consult your health visitor before introducing a weighted blanket to ensure it is used safely and effectively. The Danish Safety Technology Authority recommends that the use of weightedblankets for children under 12 months be approached with extra caution due to the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) because of overheating. Therefore, we recommend waiting to use weighted blankets until the child is 12 months old. When the child is 12 months old, their motor skills are deemed to be more developed, making it easier for them to kick off the blanket, if necessary, compared to a 3-month-old baby. If you still wish to use a weighted blanket before the child is 12 months old, our recommendation is to supervise the child and carry out continuous checks of the child's temperature and sleeping environment to ensure safe sleep. This recommendation may also apply to children over 12 months, depending on the child.

Another sensible solution for motor restlessness in babies is swaddling. It has proven effective to keep arms and legs still while sleeping, reminding your baby of the time in the womb. It can be soothing and provide a sense of support and security. Additionally, it helps reduce the likelihood of your baby waking him/herself up during the sleep cycle.

If you have a child over 12 months old, a junior weighted blanket can be recommended. Children over 12 months are often too big to be swaddled but typically have the same needs to find peace in sleep. A junior weighted blanket can be used without first consulting a health visitor.

Understanding and managing motor restlessness in babies requires patience and care. By acknowledging the underlying causes and implementing suitable solutions, parents can support their child's well-being.