Baby Back Popping When Picked Up – Should You Be Concerned?

Children mean the world to parents. That’s why when handling babies, parents tend to be very cautious (sometimes, too cautious). 

The concern here is that parents feel like they broke the limbs of the baby when they’re picking the baby up (due to “popping” sounds).

The simple explanation for that is: that you should not usually be concerned when your baby’s back “pops”. The “popping”  sound usually happens when nitrogen gases are generated and disbursed in the tendon gaps of the limbs. Therefore, it’s a very common and normal occurrence.

However, for those of you who want further explanations on this matter, we have discussed it below. So, let’s get started!

Baby Back Popping When Picked Up: Why Does It Happen? 

Understand this, a human baby is only about 5.5 lb when it’s born. And, it continues growing for consecutive years. 

So, it should be pretty clear that the exponential body growth of the baby also causes the bone to grow and get its defined structure.

Let’s get to know a few reasons why baby back pops when picked up:

  • During the time of bone growth, the ligaments, soft tissues ( tendons), and bones (hard tissues) go through multiple levels of relocation and readjustment. 

Due to this phenomenon, organic gases such as nitrogen gas generate between the joints of the bone pieces. 

  • Furthermore, when the Baby moves on its own or you pick it up, the bones and tendons get mild friction between them. 

As a result, the air bubbles existing in the bone joints get popped. And, that’s when you hear the “popping” sound while picking up your baby or when your baby is moving.

So, it’s crystal clear that this type of popping sound is absolutely a normal and regular phenomenon in babies and children. 

  • Not only that, the doctors gave this phenomenon a medical term as well. Medical science terms this phenomenon as “ligament laxity”.

Most interestingly, this type of bone popping is not only normal, but it’s also extremely necessary for the healthy bone growth of the baby.

  • On top of that, popping sounds in the bone joints indicate that the bones are growing healthily and normally. 

So, rather than perceiving this sound as something negative, you should be glad that your child is growing as he/she should be.

Baby Back Popping When Picked Up: Should You Do Anything About It?

In most cases, parents do not need to do anything about bone popping in babies. It’s because, as we have already mentioned, it’s a normal phenomenon and not a negative thing.

However, if you want to ensure that your baby is having healthy bone growth, you can give him / her calcium syrups. But, don’t forget to consult your pediatrician before giving your child calcium syrups.

Now, in case it seems to you that the bone sounds are not normal, you should consult a doctor immediately. It’s because sometimes bone popping sounds can also occur due to accidental bone fractures.

For instance, in about 99% of the cases, the bone popping sounds happen due to bone and tendon readjustment in babies. But, in some rare cases, bone popping sounds can also be heard due to accidental bone fractures that might happen due to incorrect handling of the baby.

Popping Sounds When Picking Up The Baby: How Long Will This Last?

The popping sounds that occur while handling the baby usually last for 2 to 3 years. However, it’s not unnatural to see the popping sounds lasting for up to 5 to 6 years. Remember, it’s all a process of readjustment and growth of the bones of a child.

Therefore, depending on how much growth your child is experiencing, the popping sound might last for long years or it might go away very soon. But, you should not be worried as long as the sounds appear to be the same as usual.

Which Body Parts Can Cause The Popping In A Baby’s Body?

Any part of the body that has soft and hard tissues can create a popping sound. However, you’ll see the below-mentioned body parts making this sound in most cases:

Affected body parts when baby back popping

 1. The shoulders:

The shoulder blade bones get larger and stronger as a baby grows. That’s why this bone can make popping sounds when it’s in friction with the bones of the elbow.

2. The elbow:

Since babies move their hands a lot, the bones in the elbow can get readjusted and relocated from time to time. Due to this, hearing a popping sound from the elbow bones is normal.

3. The wrists:

Babies always try to grab things with their hands. Because of this, the nitrogen gases existing in the hand bone joints can pop and make a popping sound.

4. Legs and hip:

The joints of the legs and the hip can also cause the popping sound when a baby turns to the side or when you pick up the baby. Moreover, popping sounds in the legs can also occur when your baby is sleeping and throwing his / her legs randomly.

When Should You Be Concerned When Hearing The Popping Sound? 

Most of the time, the popping sounds are not a matter to be concerned about. But, you should be concerned if you see the following symptoms in your baby:

Baby back popping sound

1. Pain in joints:

If your baby is constantly crying and showing signs of discomfort due to physical pain, you should not take the popping sound positively. Instead, we recommend you see a doctor as soon as possible.

2. Redness in the limb area:

In case you notice any redness in the joints and limbs, you should take it as an alarming sign. It might happen due to internal bleeding caused by a bone fracture. So, call a doctor as soon as you see redness around a joint area where the popping sounds are coming from.

3. Baby having difficulty moving:

In some cases, babies have difficulty moving their limbs if they have experienced an accidental bone fracture. So, if you notice that your baby is not moving in the usual way, you should take your baby to a doctor as soon as possible.

4. Swelling in the limbs:

If any accidental bone fracture has happened, the affected area will get swollen and you will be able to notice it with bare eyes. 

Hence, don’t take the matter lightly if you notice any swelling in their limbs. Rather, go ahead and contact your pediatrician as soon as you see swelling in the limbs of your baby.

What To Do In Order To Prevent Any Unforeseen Danger?

You must understand that some children don’t react much to the pain occurring in their body. That means some children will not cry out or show signs of discomfort even if they have suffered an accidental bone fracture due to mishandling.

This is why you need to do routine checkups on your baby every month or 15 days. In order to do that, you can take your child to your local pediatrician or get help from the doctor over the phone as well.

Final Verdict:

Well, there you have it, people. Now that you’ve got a clear understanding of baby back popping when picked up.

I think the conclusion of this discussion is that the popping sound you hear when picking up your baby is mostly harmless and normal. 

However, if you notice any unusual behavior from your baby while the popping sounds occur, you should contact a doctor immediately without any delay. Best of luck to you! 

Sarah, a health writer and editor since 2014, is an adoring wife and dedicated mother to 2 daughters and 1 son. As the creator of Babies Plannet, she combines her extensive expertise with her maternal dedication to provide essential care and safety advice for infants, nurturing their well-being and happiness. Her writing explores topics like fitness, pregnancy, and women's healthy lifestyles.

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