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Baby Smacking Lips: What Does The Adorable Action Mean?

Baby Smacking Lips: What Does The Adorable Action Mean?

We’ve all been there, spending our Friday nights Google searching “baby smacking lips” rather than going out on a date or resting from an overwhelming work week. I guess those are some of the perks of being a parent.

There’s nothing wrong with worrying about your child and we would love to offer enough wisdom to ease your worries.

Even though babies aren’t as expressive and eloquent as we might want them to be, they provide us (their parents) with a range of sounds, movements, and cues that communicate different messages.

When you catch a glimpse of your baby smacking lips, you might wonder “Why on Earth would she do that?” or “What does that mean?”

While there’s nothing wrong with celebrating when your baby utters her first goo-goos and ga-gas or freaking out when she starts pulling her hair or scratching her arms, your baby smacking her lips doesn’t require the same response.

Before you experience a nervous breakdown, we’re here to announce that this sudden action couldn’t be further from dangerous, for the most part.

Now, there are a few cases that might mean there’s a health niggle to address, but you can easily put your worries at ease with a pediatrician’s checkup. With that out of the way, keep on reading to discover everything you need to know about this sudden behavior.

Do you need to worry about your baby smacking lips? 

Baby Smacking Lips What Does The Adorable Action Mean

“Smack! Smack! Smack!”

How many times have you heard your baby smacking lips before you frantically called her pediatrician to check whether she was doing something worth worrying about? Or, before you screamed for your partner to check whether that was something worth worrying about?

Whatever the case might be, you don’t need to worry about your baby smacking lips. We’re pretty sure that most mysterious things babies do fascinate the parents because they’ve simply never seen a baby do those things.

We would go as far as to argue that, as a new parent, you’re probably going to wonder about your baby crying, drooling, and wheezing, or even experiencing cradle caps and baby pimples, at all times.

While you might be embarrassed to discuss the fact that you’re obsessed with everything your baby does, you need to understand that you’re not the only one.

Also, you need to understand that there’s nothing wrong with wondering about your baby’s sudden urge to smack her lips. Just bear in mind that this is what babies do – they’re constantly growing, evolving, and learning which means they’re constantly surprising you with something they’ve never done before.

When everything else fails (freaking out to your partner, Google searching the symptoms, and praying to God to give you the answer), you can always schedule a checkup with your baby’s pediatrician to ensure everything’s peachy.

And, you can also throw a glance at the most common reasons why your baby might be doing this thing with her lips to ease your worries.

Baby smacking lips: What does the adorable action mean?

1. Your baby might be hungry

Whenever you’re wondering why your baby’s doing something weird, remember that babies can’t speak, which means they always find another way to communicate.

When babies are hungry, they normally start rooting or turning their heads, clenching their hands into fists, and putting their fingers or fists in their mouths.

When they fail to get your attention, babies also start crying (but that’s a cue you should avoid). Hence, when you notice your baby smacking lips, she might be trying to communicate that she’s hungry.

However, the smacking should stop once you feed her. On the off chance that your baby continues smacking her lips, you should check whether there’s something else going on.

2. Your baby might be teething

Oh, we know you’re getting frustrated because you don’t know why your baby keeps smacking her lips. But, we’re pretty sure there’s nothing to worry about because most babies resort to smacking when they’re teething.

Teething’s one of the most common reasons why your baby’s crying, drooling, and turning her head whenever you try to check her teeth. When those tiny teeth try to poke through your baby’s gums she might start smacking her lips to communicate she’s uncomfortable or even to soothe the discomfort.

Of course, when you notice your baby smacking her lips, chewing on pretty much everything she can get her hands on, and drooling her way out of every embrace, know that she might be teething.

Other than that, you might notice sore, tender, red, or swollen gums and a decreased appetite. Contact your baby’s pediatrician the moment you notice these symptoms to ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep her comfortable.

3. Your baby might be ready to switch to solid foods

Baby Smacking Lips What Does The Adorable Action Mean

Now, we’ve all been there – you finally found a moment to eat something other than your baby’s leftovers and you’re munching on mashed potatoes, chicken, and gravy when you notice your baby smacking lips at you. You’re pretty sure she shouldn’t be eating any of that, but she might be communicating that she’s ready to switch to different foods.

Of course, that’s only the case when you have a baby that’s 4 to 6 months of age. Other (younger) babies shouldn’t even think about munching on anything that’s not their mother’s milk.

However, babies that are over the age of around 6 months might be communicating their desire to try something other than breast milk or formula.

Other signs that show your baby might be ready for solid foods are your baby’s ability to support her head while sitting, to pick up different foods with her hands and bring them to her mouth, and to chew.

4. Your baby might be sleepy

When you notice your baby smacking her lips around bedtime (and after you’ve finished feeding her), she might be sleepy. When they’re really, really young, babies develop self-soothing skills that ensure they fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

While some babies need help falling asleep others resort to thumb-sucking, eye rubbing, yawning, or even smacking their lips (and freaking their parents out). And, to make matters even better, babies often continue doing that even when they’re sleeping.

Whether they’re soothing themselves through a sleep cycle, dreaming of eating, or getting hungry, you should schedule a checkup with her pediatrician to be safe. Other than that, make sure you give your baby a warm bath and cuddle her to sleep.

5. Your baby might be bored

Babies get bored, too. We know you spend hours and hours singing to her, chatting with her, tickling her, counting her toes, blowing her raspberries, making faces at her, poking out your tongue, and pretty much everything else to keep her entertained.

While she does appreciate the effort, there are times when your baby might start smacking her lips because that’s what she considers entertaining and engaging at the moment.

Smacking her lips produces sounds that make her smile, and when you smack your lips back at her she might even think she discovered a brand-new game she can play with her parents.

Other than the smacking, you might notice she’s laughing, trying to get you to smack your lips, trying to get your attention, and stopping once you show her a different game. But, on the off chance that she doesn’t stop even when you try entertaining her with something different, don’t shy away from contacting her pediatrician.

6. Your baby might be learning about different sounds and actions she can make

Babies spend every moment of their waking hour learning about different things.

They’re reaching for their feet with their hands because they suddenly figured out they have them. Or they’re pulling on everything they can get their hands on because they somehow managed to connect the dots and understand that’s what hands do.

When you notice your baby smacking her lips, know that she might be doing that because she thinks it’s fun. Repeating the same movement over and over, lighting up when she hears the sound, and stopping when you distract her means she’s doing that because she wants to and not because she’s experiencing some sort of a health problem.

However, there’s nothing stopping you from running your doubts by her pediatrician and checking whether she needs an appointment or not.

When do you need to worry about your baby smacking lips?

Baby Smacking Lips What Does The Adorable Action Mean

We hate to be the ones to mention the “seriousness of the situation,” but there are times when babies start smacking their lips because of health problems.

While your baby’s probably repeating the movement because of the reasons we mentioned beforehand, you’re better off contacting her pediatrician and checking whether she’s experiencing something you haven’t thought of (yet).

We’re bringing you a few health problems that might cause your baby to start smacking her lips to ensure we have all the bases covered.

1. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

When you notice other symptoms accompanying the smacking, you might want to check whether your baby’s experiencing something known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD).

Typically, some symptoms include arching of the back, movements of the neck, choking, gagging, problems with swallowing, and decreased appetite. Smacking of the lips shouldn’t be a concern when that’s the only odd thing you notice about your baby’s behavior.

However, when you notice any of the other symptoms, contact your baby’s pediatrician and voice your concerns. Better safe than sorry, right?

2. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

When you notice your baby making movements with her mouth she hasn’t made before such as smacking and pouting, she might be showing early signs of autism spectrum disorder (or ASD).

Autism spectrum disorder, as you might already know, appears to be a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Babies with ASD often show symptoms such as poor eye contact, unexpected reactions to new faces, lack of babbling, lack of smiling, and repetitive behaviors.

A baby smacking lips doesn’t have to have autism (of course), but there’s nothing wrong with observing your baby’s behavior for a few days and voicing your concerns to your baby’s pediatrician.

3. Seizures

Babies don’t experience the same seizure symptoms as children, teenagers, and adults. Smacking of the lips, pouting, and moving their mouths can be associated with certain types of seizures and can be one of the symptoms you need to keep an eye on.

Other than the smacking of the lips, keep an eye on staring, tremors, strange movements, stiffening of the body, breathing problems, bowel or bladder problems, and falling for no reason.

When you notice more than one of these symptoms happening at once, contact your baby’s pediatrician ASAP. Other than that, make sure you’re always watching over your baby and noticing movements and changes just to be sure. Good luck!

Read this: Baby Humping: Silly Behavior That Worries First-Time Parents


Baby Smacking Lips: What Does The Adorable Action Mean?