It doesn’t matter whether you’re a first-time mom or if this is your fourth baby, there will always be situations when your baby does something that will leave you baffled.
And at times, you’ll wonder, “Why do babies grab your face?”
Is a baby grabbing a bad thing or something positive?
To be frank, there are different reasons why babies grab your face. Sometimes the reason is relatively simple, and, at times, the reason for baby grab can be very funny, or even a bit weird.
However, the most common reason why babies grab your face is simply that they want to explore the faces of their parents, and make contact with them, particularly now when she is exploring her sense of touch.
Your baby looking at you and probably thinking “Hmm, what an interesting face, let’s throw a baby grab at her!”, and then it will embark on a journey of feeling and touching your facial features and skin to make contact with you.
At times, your baby will also try to pull your nose as well, while making eye contact. (what a cute tiny explorer!)
Apart from this peculiar, yet adorable reason, there are many other reasons why babies grab your face, and today I am totally ready to share all of them with you!
Most Common Reasons Why Babies Grab Your Face
It Just Wants Your Undivided Attention
One of the major reasons why babies grab your face is precisely this one.
Namely, when a baby grows and is a bit older (around 8 months), your baby will do everything that’s in its power to grab your attention, which means it’s time for a baby grab.
Unlike newborns, who tend to cry whenever they want their mommy or daddy, older babies are a bit more resourceful and cunning.
They turn to numerous interesting methods to attract your attention and one of them is to use their hands.
Sometimes this whole baby grabbing your face thing can be a bit painful, too, because your baby will accidentally hook their nails on your face.
But please do not hold this against it, since it does not do this to hurt you. Your baby simply isn’t aware of the fact that deep down it is as strong as the Hulk.
So one of the reasons why babies grab your face and unintentionally scar your face for life (joking, of course) is because they simply want to be one hundred percent sure you absolutely adore them and there’s nothing you can do to stop them!
On the other hand, they might do it to show you that they’ve done something special, just so they can get some extra cuddles and kisses from their parents.
A Little Explorer Was Born!
Once babies figure out that they were born with a sense of touch and begin developing their motor skills, they will start exploring all these newly-uncovered sensations to alleviate a normal development cycle.
Most parents will tell you this is for sure one of the most dynamic periods for babies, due to the fact they are finally having a more grounded version of object permanency and are ready to thoroughly investigate everything that’s new and interesting to them.
That’s precisely one of the reasons why parents oftentimes purchase their babies sensory toys once they turn 1 year. They simply want them to dive into the exciting world of new textures.
One of those exciting textures is your face.
It’s filled with “bumps” (such as your nose) and comes with a certain softness that your baby finds very soothing and appealing and simply wants to get a grasp on what her parents feel like.
I would like to give you a heads-up and let you know that your baby will most likely do the same with all the people you love (like other family members and friends).
That’s because your baby does not want anyone to feel neglected.
Be sure to warn them beforehand, so they know exactly what is going on once they feel the baby’s tiny little hands on their faces.
I wouldn’t object!
Your Baby Is Happy to See You!
One of the cutest reasons (for sure) why babies grab your face is because they are so very glad to see you!
You know how when you pick up your baby from grandparents’ house, or daycare you tend to pull its cheek so you can kiss it?
Or you will simply squeeze its body because you’ve missed it so much. Well, all of these things I just mentioned are nothing but typical yet adorable signs of affection.
Your baby wasn’t born yesterday (it is already a few months old), it absorbs everything that you do, so it knows exactly what’s going to happen once you come to pick it up.
So since it is over the moon because it’ll be seeing you, it cannot control its satisfaction, hence it simply must grab your face to have full contact with you.
That’s nothing but sheer delight!
Love at times can hurt, so if you want to fully enjoy these precious moments, just teach your little angel to be gentle with you. (it does not do anything bad on purpose, but still…)
And then, as time goes by, you will notice how all its grabs are no longer painful, and you’ll be able to freely just disappear in its arms.
It Might Be Angry
Now, that we concluded you brought a tiny explorer into the world, it’s time to inform you that you brought a little grumpy person too!
Frustration and anger are frequently the reason why babies grab your face. (I mean, it does not need to be “happy-go-lucky” all the time, right?)
From time to time, you’ll notice that your baby is upset and has been crying for a while, but you’re unable to determine what’s going on.
Is it hungry? Is it in pain? Maybe it didn’t have enough sleep, so it is currently very cranky.
I mean, there could be a million reasons. However, if it is very stressed or sad, one of the things that it will do is grab your face to try to communicate its needs.
If your little one is acting this way, all you can do (at that very moment) is to do your best to calm it down and comfort it. Try to figure out what has caused that frustration and find ways to stop it in the future.
All Babies Just Wanna Have Fun!
Another common reason why so many babies grab your face is they need something entertaining to do.
Namely, the games you two have used to play are most likely no longer appealing to it; thereby, it will try to do something that requires a lot more activity and that simply caters to its developing faculties.
Reaching for your face and pulling it is one of its (not the nicest) ways of telling you that it is bored, doesn’t want to sleep, and wants to do something entertaining.
The baby Wants to Grow Closer to You
Another very cute reason why babies grab your face is undoubtedly this one. All it wants to do is to grow closer to its mother and, at the same time, make eye contact with you.
In these instances, you may even notice an adorable giggle and smile, just to show you how much it adores you.
So what can you do in these types of situations?
It’s simple! Just respond in a lovely manner by smiling at your baby, saying the words it could potentially understand, babbling, and why not, even pulling it closer so it can feel your warmth and skin.
These are all actions that your little one will love!
Maybe It’s Fear?
Back in the day, when she was just one month old (or a bit older/younger), to grab your attention when she was frightened (and wasn’t able to sleep), was through crying or making other loud sounds.
However, since it is no longer that little, it has thought of another way to show you that it is scared of something.
And that’s precisely this one. It is generally one of the most common reasons why babies grab your face.
Maybe it is experiencing a panic attack, so it’ll immediately grab your face to feel safe again. It does this because you are its haven.
This type of behavior is nothing but a natural instinct.
Namely, a vast majority of younger children, tend to instantly contact their parents (due to the fact they perceive them as their protectors) and will grab their faces in an instant to show that something is going on.
But don’t worry. Even though I completely understand if something like this startles and scares you, remember it’s completely normal.
So what to do once it occurs?
The best thing that you can do is to try to calm the baby down and find a way to reassure your angel that everything is going to be fine. You can cuddle with it or do whatever it generally loves that’s soothing.
Oh, That Wonderful World of Textures!
A few lines ago, when I was discussing this whole “Why do babies grab your face” topic, I told you that babies are generally very adroit explorers.
And that’s particularly the case as they get older and become more aware of their surroundings.
Once something like this happens, new textures start to pique their interest.
For example, if they touch a firm texture, they most likely won’t like how it feels.
On the flip side, if there’s something that’s soft, they will try to touch it as much as possible (because who doesn’t like soft textures?).
And your face is nothing but the smoothest “texture” in the world. Hence it will try to grab it as frequently as it can.
Another thing that babies may find intriguing, yet appealing, is your hair, so they will most likely touch it as well just to experience something different.
Your Baby Is Yearning to Show You Something
Once babies become older, babies learn that various things around them are interesting to them.
They turn to face-grabbing because they want to show you all the things they’ve uncovered in the meantime.
It will then touch your face because it wants you to pay attention to what it’s trying to show you. Babies love dragging their parents into their newly-uncovered world because they want to share their excitement with the people they love the most.
But keep in mind that grabbing face is not going to last forever.
In fact, it’s nothing but a short phase, so make sure to accept grabbing your face as something that’s adorable and (unfortunately) short-term.
After all, it doesn’t matter why grabbing face is currently interesting to it, be sure to enjoy it (even if harmless scratching face is involved) because like I said above, it’s something that ends relatively fast.
Babies touch the faces of their parents (and people they generally love) because they feel safe with them.
Therefore, baby touching you should definitely be perceived as a compliment, so enjoy it while it lasts. Before you know it, it will resort to other methods (like dismantling their toys, or anything else that’s not as interesting and cute) to attract your attention.
What to Do If It Hurts When Baby is Grabbing Your Face?
There’s no doubt that in most cases, face-grabbing is sweet; however, at times, it can turn into a very painful experience, and you’ve got to do something to stop it.
For instance, it may start pulling your hair, grabbing you harshly, or even start biting you. And none of these things are pleasant.
Oftentimes, these things can lead to scratches and might hurt your face as well. Although no one says that they do it intentionally (or at least I hope so), you must find a way to stop it. Otherwise, it’s going to become a habit.
So what are you supposed to do then?
From what I’ve heard from parents who’ve gone through this, it would be advisable to immediately say a bit loudly “NO”.
Right after that, ensure to remove its mouth or hand from your face and do not by any chance give attention to this negative behavior, or pretend like that’s okay and acceptable because it’s far from it.
Another effective thing that you can do to distract your child from pinching, biting, and pulling you is by giving it something to play with.
It can either be a toy, or a teether. Although you should never (by any means) reward this behavior, you also shouldn’t be too hard on your baby.
I know that it’s going to be hard to control yourself in these instances, but do your best not to scold your baby. Instead, do things that it generally loves (such as cuddling) to encourage it to do some more positive things.
If your baby does it, then be sure to reward these positive actions. This way, it will remember what needs to be done in order to be praised or rewarded.
Why Do Babies Grab Your Face While Nursing?
Now, that I’ve covered various reasons why babies grab your face, it’s time to discuss something that’s going to be particularly interesting to breastfeeding mothers.
Namely, most of them have noticed that their little angels tend to grab their faces while they are nursing, and are not quite sure why that is happening.
Don’t forget that the only thing your baby sees while being fed is precisely your face, hence it will try to grab it because it wants you to look at it and give it all your love and attention.
In the beginning, while your baby is still too young, it will most likely be focused solely on the bottle (because your baby is very hungry) and sleep.
However, in time, as it grows older, it will start noticing other things that surround her and will grab your face to interact with you.
Also, it does nothing but eat (during breastfeeding), so it will entertain itself by experimenting with its sense of touch.
If the baby’s grabbing becomes too aggressive in some situations, then ensure to give it its favorite toy immediately.
Or another thing that you can do is wear a necklace that is specifically designed for the baby’s hyperactive hands.
If you wear it, your little angel will no longer be solely focused on your face but on the necklace too!
Generally speaking, face-grabbing during nursing is completely normal and isn’t something you should stress over too much.
If by any chance, things get out of hand, you can always talk to your pediatrician to see what needs to be done, but these negative situations rarely happen.
When Do Babies Start Grabbing Things?
Now, that I’m officially finished with everything that’s related to your face, it’s time to find out when babies start grabbing things like toys, or anything else that’s tempting to them.
If you have a newborn, then you most likely do not need to know anything concerning the “When do babies start grabbing things” topic because your baby is probably sleeping most of the time.
However, if your child is a bit older then I am absolutely sure that you could use some information.
So When Can You Expect Your Baby to Start Grabbing Things?
You’ll notice in time that your baby will go through different phases as it uncovers new objects and toys.
So there are different answers when it comes to this “When do babies start grabbing things” topic.
1. By month 4 – Your baby will try to reach an item by using only one hand. It will be able to properly shake and hold its toys and also swing at dangling things.
2. By month 6 – A vast majority of children will give their all to grab an object that is not within their reach and then pass it from one hand to another.
3. By month 9 – At this age, your little angel has honed their skills and can now move its toys (and other things too) seamlessly.
4. By 12 months – Its grabbing skills are now taken to another level.
Since your baby is about to be one (and that’s serious age), it can now bang two toys simultaneously! Apart from that, it can also put its toys in a container and then take them out easily.
I’m talking about a serious pro right now!
As you can see, there are various stages when it comes to babies grabbing things, and each of them appears to be very amusing.
How to Help Your Baby Grab Things?
There are different things you can do. However, the most effective one is to put an interesting toy (or any other eye-catching object) slightly out of its reach and then encourage it to take it.
But just make sure not to put it too far away; otherwise, you will end up with a frustrated baby.
The best things you can put (for your baby to grasp) are plastic rings, soft blocks, board books, etc.
Overall, babies love developmental toys because they can grab them easily and then shake them. (who wouldn’t love to do that?)
At some point, when your baby gets older, you can stimulate it to grab soft finger foods, like cooked carrots, peas, and many others.
If there’s one thing I can conclude based on everything that’s been written so far is that babies are not only adorable, but very puzzling yet interesting human beings, and that’s especially the case when they are this young.
There are so many actions that need to be observed so we can figure out why they are doing something. Truly spectacular!
Anyhow, I honestly hope that things are a bit clearer when it comes to this topic, so go ahead and grab your baby’s face and give it a huge smooch for me!
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!