When you have a child, especially if you’re a first-time parent, most things your baby does puzzle you.
And then you notice that your baby is smacking his lips, and you start finding out if the baby smacking lips is completely normal, or if you should be concerned.
I know that you want to uncover all major causes of lip-smacking, but why would you ever consult Google, when you have (knowledgeable) me by your side to tell you everything you need to know?
All jokes aside, I believe that something like this may potentially be worrisome, especially, since your child cannot properly express its feelings. However, if you want to be one hundred percent sure your child is okay, just be more attentive.
But overall, baby smacking lips is considered quite common. However, if you want me to put your mind at ease, then just cast your lovely eyes on these facts below because I’ll be discussing numerous things, like causes of lip-smacking, and so much more.
Baby Smacking Lips – What Causes It?
Baby Smacking Lips Can Be Fun
One of the most common causes of babies smack lips is simply because babies find it to be very amusing.
Bear in mind that babies are just starting to get familiar with the world they live in, and everything is interesting to babies, including lip-smacking.
Therefore, baby-smacking lips could be nothing other than something that relaxes or entertains him. (believe me, babies perceive fun in a different way than us)
Usually, when babies uncover something new and then learn it, they will constantly repeat it as a way of reminding themselves that they have successfully comprehended it.
Your baby will most likely do it regularly, so you’ll get used to it and accept it as something completely normal and new to them. But just because it’s new, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing.
Oh, and There’s Teething
Another common cause of the term ‘baby smack lips’ is precisely this one. Although to you, it may be exciting to see a tooth popping out of your little one’s gums, the truth is teething can oftentimes be very painful
And if your baby isn’t too thrilled about it, then baby-smacking lips will come into play as a form of comfort.
One of the surefire ways to determine your baby is teething is if it drools too much if it’s literally chewing on everything, fever, inflamed gums, and potentially crankiness. These are generally the main symptoms of teething.
When can you expect teething?
Typically, when your baby is six months old, however, it can even begin when your little one is four months old.
If you notice that your baby is really struggling, you can either talk to your pediatrician to see if he/she will recommend something or make use of soothing gels, teething necklaces, and frozen veggies and fruits.
Some of these tools will quickly stop baby-smacking lips, and you’ll be able to focus solely on these teething-related problems and the symptoms it brings.
Their Tummy Wants Food
Here’s another cause of lip-smacking that’s particularly common among infants. Speaking of lip-smacking in newborns, don’t forget they cannot use words to show you how hungry they are.
So instead of talking, they use other signals to remind you that it’s food time and attract your attention.
But how will you be able to tell if baby-smacking lips is caused by hunger is a sign of something else?
1. Turning the head or rooting
2. Your baby will try to put his fingers or fists into their mouth
3. Crying (this is one of the most common symptoms)
4. Clenching hands into fists
5. Once your baby is fed, lip-smacking should stop. However, if it continues, then you should focus on other causes.
Maybe Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Foods!
If your baby is somewhere around 4 to 6 months, it may mean that it is ready for solid foods (and who can blame them?).
Pay attention to its reaction when you’re eating. If your baby is smacking its lips while it’s looking at your food, then it’s highly likely that it’s time to welcome solid foods.
Apart from this sign, several others will tell you that you should pay attention that suggests it’s time for solid food, and they include:
1. Your baby will try to chew
2. It will grab finger foods and will attempt to put them in his mouth
3. It is capable of supporting his body and head while sitting
Although all these signs could indicate that your kiddo is ready for solid foods, I would still advise you to talk to your pediatrician before you give him any.
They are Soothing Themselves to Sleep
Even though babies are used to having their parents help them fall asleep, there comes a time in their lives when babies need to rely on themselves and find ways to fall asleep faster.
One of the most effective ways for your baby to put itself to sleep is precisely this one.
But at times, when a baby is hungry yet knows that it’s time to sleep, instead of crying and asking for food, it will turn to lip-smacking or sucking fingers.
In these instances, baby-smacking lips is going to help forget about hunger and just go back to sleep.
Besides this cue, there are some other signs that you should focus on to see if your baby is smacking lips because it is soothing itself to sleep:
1. If it tugs his ear
2. If it is constantly yawning
3. If it is sucking his lips and fingers all the time
Also, if you notice that baby is smacking lips even once it’s asleep, don’t worry about it. It is either soothing itself through the sleep circle or simply dreams about food.
Baby Needs to Be Entertained!
Although you can always find something to entertain your baby, keep in mind that a vast majority of babies easily get bored.
Therefore, they must resort to something that’s going to make them both happy and amused.
So instead of watching TV, or cooking (just joking), it will turn to lip-smacking.
No matter how silly this may appear to you, to most newborns, lip-smacking is one of the greatest joys of life (okay, I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the gist, right?)
Rare Causes Of Baby-Smacking Lips
Several causes of this occurrence may cause concern.
However, before you start panicking, first make sure to consult a pediatrician to see if you should truly worry about them or not. These are early signs of potential health issues:
1. Gastroesophageal reflux – This condition is also known as GERD, and it happens when the food your baby has been consuming comes back up from the tummy, which results in spitting-up or throwing up.
Reflux disease is relatively common among infants and is something that normally disappears as your baby gets older.
Apart from these symptoms, your baby may experience a loss of appetite, fussiness, coughing, smacking lips, heavy breathing, and arching the back. These are the most common reasons why most parents turn to pediatricians to see if something serious is going on.
Maybe he will give him something for pain relief.
2. Autism spectrum disorder – Autism spectrum disorder, also known as ASD can cause several symptoms and may include things like the inability to make eye contact, poor eye contact, your baby doesn’t want to connect with you, a lack of babbling, etc.
If your baby is potentially suffering from autism, it will repeatedly do the lip-smacking, along with the aforementioned things.
If that’s the case with you, then I would like to remind you once again to talk to your pediatrician to see if that’s what’s causing lip-smacking or something related to his health.
3. Seizures – At times, lip-smacking is associated with certain sorts of seizures and can frequently cause some major concerns, especially if your baby has that worrisome zoned-out expression.
If you notice it, please do not hesitate to seek help immediately! You do not want to jeopardize its health.
Smacking Lips After Eating
At times, you will notice that your baby is smacking his lips after a meal and you may even think that there’s something wrong with it.
According to what I’ve seen so far with different babies, they tend to do this either because their tummies are not full or due to self-soothing.
Does it mean that they are still hungry then?
Well, “shockingly,” yes, they are! Bear in mind that the amount of time you breastfeed your child does not always correspond with the amount of food they have had.
Just think about it for a split second. Just because you think that you’ve spent a certain amount of time breastfeeding, it doesn’t mean your baby has been eating the entire time.
If you notice your baby is constantly doing that, make sure to distract it with something because it wouldn’t be wise to turn lip-smacking into a habit.
Smacking Lips While Sleeping
I know I previously discussed how a lot of babies resort to lip-smacking when they are trying to fall asleep, but then some are doing it while they are sleeping as well.
The first thing you’ll hear is a strange sound and you may think it’s God knows what, but it’s actually nothing but a lip-smacking.
If you put yourself in their shoes and just think of all the things they dream about, in most cases, it will be food.
The other cause of it is that they love the feel of the nipple in the mouth. If this bothers you too much, then all you have to do is to put your finger in their mouth to suckle on.
As soon as you do this, you’ll be able to determine whether it’s time for another meal, or not. If your little angel is not hungry, it will:
1. Push your finger out of its mouth
2. Turn its head in the opposite direction
3. Squeeze its lips to limit passage into his mouth
4. Make different moves to let you know that it is not interested
Keep in mind that if it is happy when it sees your finger or welcomes you with open arms when it sees the bottle, then it is most likely very hungry.
I know some of you may find lip-smacking to be funny and entertaining, while some are oftentimes bothered by it.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which group you belong to. The whole point of this article is to understand lip-smacking much better and to realize that it frequently isn’t something that should worry you too much.
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!