Topic: The Science Behind Why Babies Smack Their Lips
Your first instinct as a parent or guardian may be to be concerned when you hear your child smack their lips. However, it is not always a signal that something is wrong, and it can be normal for babies to smack their lips. In some cases, it may even be their way to communicate their needs to you. Here, we will discuss the scientific reasons that babies sometimes smack their lips.
Five Common Reasons Babies Smack Their Lips
It is not uncommon for babies to smack their lips. Instead, there are scientific reasons that they resort to doing this:
The Baby Might Be Trying to Communicate Hunger
Since a baby does not know how to talk yet, one of the ways they will sometimes communicate their hunger is to smack their lips. This subtle signal is their way of alerting you that they wish to be fed.
New Teeth Might Be Trying to Come In
Babies might smack their lips because they are teething, and a new tooth is trying to come in. Because teething can be painful, babies might smack their lips to help distract from the sensation.
They Can Consume Solids Now
If your little one is between 4-6 months old and has started trying to get some of your food while smacking their lips, they may be signaling that they are ready to start consuming solids. However, it is still best to consult with your pediatrician before changing their diet.
They Are Ready for a Nap or Bed
When babies are tired and ready for a nap or bedtime, they may smack their lips as a self-soothing mechanism. As they get older, however, they usually resort to sucking their thumb instead.
They Are Being Playful
Sometimes there is a simple explanation for why babies and young children smack their lips – it is fun! They may simply be exploring the different noises they can make with their body.
When to Be Worried
While your baby is likely smacking their lips due to one of the reasons above, there are a few cases in which you should seek medical attention. For example, some babies might smack from gastroesophageal reflux disease. If this is the case, there will likely be other signs of acid reflux, including discomfort after eating, or the inability to keep food down.
In addition, autism spectrum disorder may also cause babies to smack. This is usually associated with additional symptoms, such as insufficient eye contact, disconnectedness, quietness, and repetitive behaviors.
Finally, seizures may also cause babies to smack, and you should be cognizant if the child seems zoned out while smacking. If this is the case, medical attention needs to be sought immediately.
Babies smack their lips for several common reasons, including hunger or self-soothing. However, if it is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, you may need to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to make sure it is nothing serious.
Discussed Topic: The Science Behind Why Babies Smack Their Lips