There are many activities of babies that raise questions in young mothers. One such activity is baby aggressively rubbing the face! Find the reasons here.
Baby Aggressively Rubbing the Face
Babies learn to talk only around the age of 12 months. But before verbal communication, they often try to communicate through their facial expressions, body movements, and sounds. Over a few weeks, you will be able to discern what your baby is feeling and what he is trying to communicate to you. One such action that babies often seem to be doing is using both their hands to rub their face. They rub their cheeks, eyes, or ears, and sometimes they do it so vigorously that they end up scratching the face. This is observed mostly when your baby is awake and sometimes even when s/he is asleep.
New-born babies have no control over their limbs and movements in the first few weeks of life. Their movements and actions appear jerky and uncoordinated. Sudden sounds or noises can startle them, and they instinctively arch their bodies and bring their hands to their face. Babies can rub their faces aggressively for many reasons. Hunger could be one of the first reasons for your baby to rub their face. Rubbing the face can also soothe him/her when s/he feels restless and cranky. Your baby may be using this action to self-soothe themself when s/he is feeling anxious. S/he may rub the face when s/he is feeling tired or itchy. They can indulge in this behavior when s/he is feeling sleepy and is ready for a nap.
When the skin is dry and flaky or suffers from eczema, the skin can feel itchy. Your baby may rub the face or any other body part to relive the itchiness.
Rubbing the face and/or ears could also be a sign of an ear infection, especially if it is accompanied by fever. Sometimes your baby could be rubbing the ears for the simple reason that s/he likes the sensation, as the ears have highly sensitive skin. Another reason for this behavior is that your baby could be teething. Teething causes a lot of discomfort and pain, and your little one could be rubbing the cheeks and mouth to ease the discomfort. If the action is accompanied by a lot of drooling and gum redness, then teething is the reason for your baby’s face rubbing behavior.
How to stop your baby from rubbing his face?
First, check to see if your baby is hungry or just wants to sleep. By fulfilling the need, you will be able to stop your baby from rubbing their face. Check your baby’s skin to see if it is dry, or has rashes, or is flaking. If the skin is dry, moisturize the skin with coconut oil or any baby-friendly oil.
Also, check to see if you are using soaps and lotions which are safe and certified as hypoallergenic. This will rule out itching due to skin allergies. If you suspect an ear infection, please consult your doctor and treat your baby with the prescribed medicines. If your little one is teething, then offer him/her a safe teether to help them tide over the discomfort. Giving them something cold to numb the gums will also help. Your doctor may prescribe a painkiller if your baby is in extreme discomfort.
A point to note is that babies often rub their faces as a reflex or instinctive behavior, and it may not always be possible for you to control them. As the action causes them no harm, stop worrying and allow them to indulge in it. They will outgrow it naturally. Trimming their nails regularly or placing mittens over their hands will ensure that they do not scratch themselves badly when they rub their faces.