why do babies scratch their face

A Must-Know: Why Do Babies Scratch Their Faces?

After 9 months, the long-awaited new family member finally arrives. Then your home suddenly smells like baby powder, filled with baby cries, and cooing. Every development the baby shows caught the attention of every one. Parents even learned what the baby wants by simply checking on their actions. Technically, nothing will escape our eyes if there will any changes in the kids appearance or its skin. Surprisingly, despite careful watch on the baby, occasionally it will have insect bites or rashes on the face. Could it be because of the babies frequent habit to scratch their faces?

4 Reasons Why Babies Scratch Their Faces

1. Dry and Irritated Skin.

Babies after birth mostly have dry skin. But it begins to peel as the baby grows. The skin normalizes after a certain time. But if you notice that the baby would continue to have dry and irritated skin, the reason could be one of these :

Frequent bathing.

It could also mean frequent use of soaps which may cause the baby’s skin to become dry and itchy. Experienced doctors and pediatricians would recommend bathing the baby three times a week only instead of every day. That way, the baby’s skin will have less contact with soaps. And when you bathe the baby, remember to only use mild soaps or baby wash for the baby’s sensitive skin.

Extreme Weather.

Another reason why your baby may have dry and itchy skin is the weather. Exposure to extreme temperatures especially of the face, may cause the babies skin to itch and eventually lead them to scratch their face.

2. Babies become curious of their surroundings and naturally will explore.

We can only do limited movements and no room for exploration while inside our mother’s womb. Therefore, once the baby is introduced to the outside world, it embarks on an exploratory mission and touch anything that’s within its reach, including itself. With its little hands and arms, babies can only touch or scratch their faces. That is why many pediatricians, as well as experienced mothers, recommend that babies wear soft and cotton gloves while they are still young, which will prevent the process of self-harm.

3. The Startle Reflex

One of the many involuntary reactions that a baby do is the startle reflex. The baby can be startled when they feel like they’re falling. They get startled when there was a sudden movement or loud noise. Science says that new and sudden sounds, especially those over 80 decibels, cause unconscious reflexes. When babies are exposed to such an external stimulus, they wave their arms around them, curl their back, and look around in confusion. The baby may or may not start crying when startled.

One of the reflex responses to such stimuli is scratching their face. It’s something that babies do and will stop doing as they grow a few months older.

4. Emotional reaction is one reason why babies scratch their faces

Bear in mind that babies are still small and fragile people and dealt with emotions and situations differently with older children or adults. When they are not happy or satisfied, babies tend to clap their hands and feet. They would scratch their face to show that something is missing or affecting them negatively.


Because babies are still young and have not developed a system through which to articulate their dissatisfaction, they find ways to express how they feel at the moment. And right here lies the answer to the question of why do babies scratch their faces.

We all need to remember that scratching the face in babies is a normal occurrence, caused by several possible causes. As we have mentioned, the reasons can range from too frequent bathing, extreme weather temperature to reflexes from external stimuli.

What we all need to remember is that this kind of behavior of scratching the face is not a particularly serious habit. And that we should not panic. Observe the baby’s daily behavior and identify its meaning so appropriate actions can be done.

Most importantly, do everything to make the baby comfortable and safe from irritants or exposure to things that will prompt them to scratch their faces.

Did you know that while humans by nature are doting mothers to their babies, rabbits may have the tendency to eat their litter when they are stressed after giving birth to them? Check out from our previous blog here.

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