Becoming a parent is the most rewarding and overwhelming experience in an individual’s life. However, it is equally challenging as parents have to face a lot of pressure while taking care of their newborn. Babies smack their lips because they are baby teething, and a new tooth is trying to come in. They take a keen interest in their child’s behavior be it their smile or making eye contact, be it their little noises or sleeping postures. Do lips smacking always mean the baby is hungry?
Everything about their newborn is important and a new experience for parents to learn if it is normal or not. One such behavior that you might have noticed is your child smacking his lips. Parents might be concerned about ‘Why is my baby smacking his lips?’
Or, is it normal behavior or something to be worried about?
Although babies are too small to communicate their feelings and discomfort, they give us signals to help us understand their needs. While the majority of parents find it difficult to understand the sign language or cues that their child is giving, with time and alertness they may learn about their child’s behavior. what causes someone to smack their lips?
Babies smacking their lips is a common phenomenon in babies and is not a matter of serious concern. However, parents shall closely monitor their children to understand their needs while taking care of their well-being.
Babies smack their lips
Babies smack their lips and produce suckling loud sounds due to several reasons. Some of the most common reasons are enlisted as under:
The most general cause for a baby to smack his lips is at times when he is hungry and needs food. Baby relies on the signal of smacking to tell his parents that he feels the desire of being nourished. Your little one may give you several clues like turning his head around, sticking fingers in his mouth, clenching hands in fists, crying, and Babies smack their lips together producing sounds of hungriness.
Parents shall be aware of all the clues that a baby gives beforehand to indicate their hunger. Lip-smacking might be the earliest sign that babies give to represent their nourishing desire. With an increased craving for food, your baby might start making sucking noises and smacking lips rigorously for you to pay attention.
Some parents might have noticed their baby smacking his lips after eating. Again, it might be a signal that they didn’t get the desired amount of food to fulfill their need. However, babies are expected to grow out of this phase quickly.
Constant lip-smacking in babies can be a sign that their new teeth are poking out of their gums. For babies, getting through the teething stage is a huge milestone as it brings with it a lot of pain and discomfort. The new teeth may also cause your baby to wake up frequently during the night.
During this period, babies usually get irritated and fussy, as a result, they start their self-learning defense by chewing, gnawing, and Babies smack their lips. Teething can be a painful and uncomfortable process for your newborn due to which babies may start smacking their lips to get some relief from pain. In case of teething, parents shall offer their child some chewable toys like natural rubber teethers to give them a comfortable soothing effect.
It’s Time for Some Solids
Around four to six months of age, newborns are usually ready for a transition from liquids to solids as their craving to eat solid foods increases while they watch you eat. In that stage, they may start picking up finger foods and mat try to chew different foods. However, the first sign that can give parents an idea about this transition is when your baby starts practicing frequent lip smacking.
The lip-smacking habit is not just the most important sign that your baby is ready for solids but also an integral part of his physical development and represents his interest in different foods. Parents need to look for the key signs that the Babies smack their lips. Your baby might become curious to see the food you are eating or might try to raise his head showing his eagerness for feed.
Lip-smacking may be the sign of a sleep call in babies, as they often smack their lips together when drowsy. While, the most common symptoms of sleep include eye rubbing, yawning, and crying, some babies might use lip-smacking as a self-soothing technique to help them fall asleep. Babies can continue to smack their lips in deep sleep also, as it gives them an added relief of fulfillment and comfort.
For parents, it can be a symbol of relief if their babies develop the habit of self-soothing and feel the desire to sleep. Although, the constant smacking noise of your little one might give you the first impression of being hungry. However, in case if you have fed your child properly and he continues to keep smacking his lips, it could be a sign of his tiredness that he is ready for a night of sleep and wants to be dozed off.
Babies are the happiest when they are in a playful mood and have a cheerful attitude. They use various gestures to express their pleasure. Be it their laughter, or loud noises, be it the shaking legs or sticking hands in their mouth, babies express their desire to play and have fun. A similar sign to represent their playful mood is when Babies smack their lips over and over again.
Not everything about a baby’s behavior is wrong or needs to be worried about. Parents shall enjoy precious moments with their newborns. Sometimes, the simplest way for a baby to express his happiness is when he explores different noises and produces sounds with his mouth.
Smacking of lips adds to their playful mood and gives a positive signal for being comfortable. Babies take this moment as fun and enjoy doing it. This behavior in babies might be a way to communicate that it is their playing time.
Fascination for Sensation
Another interesting aspect that triggers the smacking behavior in babies is their fascination to know and learn about the new things happening around them. Babies find everything charming. Every new day brings with it an adventure and surprise element for them. It is difficult for babies to express their feelings or to respond to a particular sensation.
Babies cope-up with this fascination by wagging their tongues out or sucking their lower lips or smacking both lips together gently. It is pretty normal for babies to repeat this behavior all the time. Parents shall understand that it is a phase of a baby’s development process and is a way to express their fascination with the learning experience they go through each day.
Babies can be habitual of smacking their lips for all sorts of reasons, be it their food desire or irritation from teething, be it a communication signal for sleep, or craving to eat solid food, be it a response to reflect their joyful mood or their fascination for different sensations that they experience. Babies smack their lips is the most convenient way for babies to convey their needs.
It is normal and not a cause for concern for parents. It is part of their developmental growth and a new learning experience for them. Parents shall keep observing their child’s behavior closely and shall try to recognize the actual need to fulfill their desires for better care and well-being.
I hope that the above article will remain beneficial for new parents to understand their child’s changing behavior and needs.