If you recently noticed that your baby is rubbing feet together, then you’re most likely thinking (just like most first-time moms) that something potentially serious is going on.
But the truth is, a baby rubbing feet together is actually quite common and normal. Bear in mind that toddlers in general are not capable of effectively communicating with you, thereby, they use various to you atypical gestures to express their needs.
So in most cases, when a baby is rubbing feet together, it can in fact be sensory experiencing small children most of the time.
Even though your toddler is still very young, it does not mean that he isn’t playful. So in their cute, little worlds, a baby rubbing feet together is nothing but a jolly activity and sometimes an adorable way to communicate with their parents.
On the other hand, when a baby is rubbing feet together it can also (although rarely) be a sign of discomfort.
So if you’re wondering why do babies rub their feet together in these instances, well that’s because they use these movements to communicate with you which is a completely normal thing.
Therefore, if you want to be one hundred percent sure that the cause behind your baby rubbing feet together is benign and nothing but playful behavior, you should closely monitor him.
And then in some other situations, baby rubbing feet together may be a sign that your baby is in its own learning process.
As you can see the question “Why do babies rub their feet together?” has various answers, and if you’re longing to dig up more answers to it, then be patient to see what I’ll discover in the continuation of this article.
Why Do Babies Rub Their Feet Together?
As I previously concluded, a baby rubbing feet together can be due to a number of reasons. As a parent, you should carefully observe these sorts of behaviors to uncover the main reason behind them.
Don’t forget that your baby has just recently “entered” our world and is nothing but a very curious little angel, who loves to use different movements to make a certain point probably.
Since (just like practically every baby) they do not have lots of activities during the day, they try to entertain themselves by doing this.
And then if they were born to be a thorough scientist, then your baby rubbing feet together means that they are trying to figure out how their tiny bodies work. (don’t we all?)
A Self-Soothing Behavior
Your question “Why do babies rub their feet together?” has brought you another answer and that’s precisely this one.
Namely, babies rubbing their feet together can also mean that they are trying to find various ways to soothe themselves.
So next time you wonder “Why do babies rub their feet together?”, just remind yourself how they tend to rub their feet on your stomach while breastfeeding.
They most likely find this sensation (of rubbing their feet against the skin) very relaxing, which is completely fine. Everyone has their own way of calming themselves, am I right?
Consequently, as long as your little one has normal sleeping patterns, is eating well (and gradually gaining weight), and generally seems very content, then a baby rubbing feet together shouldn’t raise any concerns and does not need to worry you.
But why are some parents often worried when they notice that their baby is rubbing feet together?
Well, that’s because a baby rubbing feet together is at times followed by crying, which makes them wonder if their kiddo is doing okay.
Even though in most cases, there’s nothing to worry about, if you notice any other symptoms that weren’t present before, then it would be advisable to contact your pediatrician.
Your Baby Is Trying to Express His Feelings
Parents who have a lot of experience with toddlers will tell you that it’s pretty common when they are not in good mood, or simply do not want something; they will start throwing their feet randomly.
Likewise, a baby rubbing feet together will try to tell you that he isn’t happy with something (good luck guessing what he wants), or that maybe he is overexcited.
Generally speaking, these are all inborn human behaviors. On the flip side, if your baby begins to moan while rubbing his feet together, then it most likely means that he is enjoying it big time.
Your Child Doesn’t Understand What Is it Doing
Babies do not need to have it all figured out, right? That’s why frequently they won’t even know why they are doing this in the first place.
Since this isn’t something that happens all the time maybe they will start doing it just because they noticed you are doing it as well.
So when you’re not around, they will (out of nowhere) start doing it without knowing what encouraged them to do it.
Maybe Your Baby Is Bored?
When you’re a baby, your day isn’t loaded with many different activities. That’s why it comes as no surprise if, at some point, your baby gets bored.
That’s particularly the case with children who have parents who are very busy and overall have a hectic schedule.
These people typically do not have a lot of free time on their hands to play with their babies.
So since your baby isn’t able to tell you “Stop what you’re doing right now and entertain me”, he will start rubbing his feet together.
Babies Can Get Stressed Out As Well!
If by any chance you forgot to feed your little angel at daylight, then they will most likely begin rubbing their feet together when it’s bedtime.
Consequently, if you want to avoid stressing out your child, then I advise you to feed them as frequently as possible so that they will have enough fuel for various activities.
Maybe They are Too Cold?!
When a baby gets too cold, just like adults, they may start rubbing their feet together to warm their little bodies up.
When Should You Be Worried?
At some point (above), I told you you should look for other signs, such as crying, if you’re worried that something is wrong with your baby.
Below, I will discuss several symptoms that you should focus on if you think that something more “sinister” is causing this type of behavior other than your child being playful or throwing tantrums.
Baby rubs can at times be a sign of something more serious (mainly if your baby is a couple of months old and cannot express what he’s feeling, so foot rubbing is the only way to do it), especially if your baby cries a lot.
Normally, when you’re “dealing” with a happy baby, rubbing his feet is actually a good sign, however, if it is accompanied by crying, then there’s something going on, but it does not have to be anything too severe.
So what should you be focusing on in these types of situations?
1. If you notice pain, fever
2. If there are any scratches and wounds
3. Dry and scaly skin in certain body parts, especially in the ankles
4. Arching back
5. Very irritable
6. Refusing to feed
For instance, if there’s some dry and red skin, it may mean that your little one has eczema.
Because of the tickling sensation, your kid will most likely cry while rubbing their feet. In most cases, eczema occurs in the ankles, hence it would be recommendable to properly investigate this area.
In case you didn’t know, if your baby is constantly rubbing his feet (especially if it’s too intense), it can result in wounds and scars and that’s all by virtue of the nails.
Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt if you cut his toenails and used some ointment. However, before you do any of these things, first make sure to consult with your pediatrician.
Now, if you get a feeling like your baby’s sleep is being disrupted due to the pain that they’ve been feeling, then be sure to look out for other signs, like arching back.
In addition, if (along with rubbing his feet) you notice that your baby is moody and has a high temperature, then it’s time to contact your pediatrician.
That’s something that must be done as quickly as possible because your little one will most likely need some medications.
Benefits Of Baby Rubbing Feet Together
Now, that I probably scared you a bit with this whole “Baby rubbing feet together” topic, it’s time to discuss something that’s a lot less stressful.
Let’s see what are the benefits of baby foot rubbing!
As I mentioned above, foot rubbing can be extremely soothing for your little one. It’s something that relaxes them and, at the same time, enhances circulation and alleviates congestion.
If by any chance your little one is getting poor sleep (which is something that can happen often, especially when your baby is one month old, or younger), then precisely this activity can enhance the quality of sleep.
There’s no need to remind you that practically every baby tends to be very colicky and then most parents in these instances are not sure what to do to calm their kiddo down.
Well, precisely in these situations, foot rubbing should come into play.
Don’t forget that it’s going to make your baby feel very relaxed and calm. Plus, it’s worth mentioning that will also mitigate bloating and gas which are very common issues in babies.
Apart from these abovementioned benefits, I would like to add the fact that foot rubs can also enhance circulation in your baby.
If your child is suffering from cold feet or hands, a foot rub is going to warm them up definitely. In addition, it can boost circulation in the lower body parts, which can decrease the risk of diaper rash.
And last, but certainly not least – sleep quality. As I stated previously, various factors can negatively impact a baby’s sleep.
And if you’ve tried numerous methods before that will help your baby have a good night’s sleep and you’ve concluded that nothing works, then rely on foot rubs.
Keep in mind that several minutes of food rubbing will calm your little angel and simultaneously boost the quality of their sleep.
I know that I covered everything regarding the benefits of foot rubbing; however, to summarize it adequately, below, I will enumerate a couple of them.
1. Foot rubbing helps alleviate gas
2. It soothes a cranky baby
3. Your kiddo may find ease with the tight muscle
4. It enhances digestion
5. Helps with circulation
6. Lowers stress
7. Improves baby’s sleep
8. Decreases teeth pain
9. Encourages bonding
10. Boost baby’s immune system
Why Do Babies Generally Like Their Feet?
Babies are generally born with a reflex (that comes naturally) to suck. This reflex is also called the rooting reflex, which helps them quickly find their mom’s nipple and start eating.
Aside from the rooting reflex, there’s another one known as the Babinski reflex.
What do we know about it?
Namely, it occurs when the big toe goes up while the others fan out. This type of reflex can be defined as the “open palm sign” as well.
This reflex typically disappears once the baby is 4 months or 5 months old. However, it’s worth noting that there are some babies who “keep” this reflex until they are one year old or at times, even older.
And then some babies suck their toes only because it makes them feel great. I am unsure whether it’s because they feel secure and cozy, but undoubtedly, it makes them feel very good.
On the other hand, you have kids who simply adore the taste of their toes, or they are simply too curious, so they want to find out what their feet taste like. (strange little creatures)
But generally speaking, there’s no denying that babies love putting lots of things in their mouths, hence it comes as no surprise why they love putting their feet in their mouths too!
In a nutshell, it’s safe to say that there are various reasons behind this occurrence.
Do Babies Enjoy When You Touch Their Feet?
They do not only love and enjoy it, but they simply adore it!
In fact, I personally think that it’s one of their favorite things in the world.
Well, that’s because when you touch their feet, you are actually stimulating nerve endings which are generally extremely sensitive.
And that’s something that will immediately make them feel calm and serene.
On the other hand, if they currently have some discomfort, touching their feet is going to mitigate it instantly.
Apart from all of that, babies generally love physical contact because just like most people they adore it when someone takes care of them.
So if you are ready to spoil your baby rotten with some affection, then be sure to touch their feet.
Now, if by any chance you’re unsure if your kiddo loves it, then I advise you to try it to see how it will react to it.
Unless you’ve mastered numerous baby signs and sounds, there’s no way you can figure out what they are trying to tell you at any given moment.
As you can see, baby rubbing feet together can mean a variety of different things, so make sure to keep an eye on your little one just to be sure everything is absolutely fine.
Well, hello there!
My name is Jennifer. Besides being an orthodontist, I am a mother to 3 playful boys. In this motherhood journey, I can say I will never know everything. That’s why I always strive to read a lot, and that’s why I started writing about all the smithereens I came across so that you can have everything in one place! Enjoy and stay positive; you’ve got this!
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