As parents, have you ever wondered why babies stick their tongues out? I’ll be honest, It’s an unusual but interesting topic to write about.
We all know the excitement when our newborns upgrade their usual behavior and start doing something completely new.
Well, when babies learn they can stick their tongue out, they do it a lot. So, you might often find your baby with its tongue out.
And in those moments, you probably ask yourself why babies stick their tongues out so much. Is it a normal habit, or is it a worrying sign?
So, don’t bother yourself with all those questions that will cause a real storm in your thoughts. We’ll give all the answers in this article.
Sticking out Tongue Habit by Age
Did you expect there to be a difference in the sticking out habits by age? Babies under the age of 6 months stick their tongues out naturally and instinctively.
The main reasons for this habit are related to the tongue thrust reflex and hunger, and genetic factors might also play a part.
On the other hand, babies over the age of 6 months stick their tongues out intentionally. They use it as a communication tool, just like we use words.
Usually, babies at this age stick their tongues out to imitate their parents/caregivers, ask for food or seek attention, and see adults’ reactions.
What Does it Mean When a Baby Keeps Sticking Its Tongue Out?
Most commonly, babies stick their tongues out when they are hungry or full. Babies might also use their tongues for communication.
The habit of sticking out tongues lies from the tongue-thurst reflex. According to professionals, that reflex is a baby’s way of interacting with the world.
It’s a reflex that activates the baby’s instinct for feeding and protects them from choking on everything they put in their mouth.
Detailed Reasons Why Babies Stick Their Tongues Out
So, we briefly explained how babies stick their tongues out, but now we should underline why that happens.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss more details about the reasons why babies stick their tongues out and discover the answers together.
Whenever my baby was crying, I instantly thought that it was feeding time. Later, I found out that babies start crying when their hunger becomes extreme.
So, when you catch your baby sticking its tongue out, it’s feast time. Other signs that your pumpkin is hungry are smacking lips, keeping its mouth open, and putting its hands in it.
· Full Tummy
Yes, when babies let the world see their little tongues, it means they’re hungry, but it also might mean they are well-fed.
When you notice that your little one is nervously sticking its tongue out, you should know that there is no space in that little tummy.
Also, you can pay attention to other reactions, such as turning heads, spitting milk, or refusing to eat. It’s better to react when your baby shows these signs than to clean up the mess it might make.
As we already mentioned before, babies stick their tongues out instinctively until the age of six months.
But that might turn into a habit, and babies can continue sticking their tongues out. And I must admit, and you’ll agree, it’s adorable when babies stick their tongues out.
· Interaction and Play
Even though many consider newborns as passive little creatures, they have always surprised me with their ways of interacting and entertaining.
A baby can stick its tongue out to communicate with the adults, play, and even imitate them. And that cute little tongue is almost always combined with a precious smile.
· Small Mouth
Some babies are born with a smaller-than-average mouth. These babies stick their tongues out more than usual.
A small mouth might be a sign of genetic conditions like Micrognathia (small lower jaw) or Down Syndrome. If that’s the case, it’s best to consult a pediatrician.
· Large Tongue
We might find an answer to why babies stick their tongues out in genetics again. More precisely, a genetically large tongue (macroglossia) might cause that habit.
Other conditions might also cause a large tongue in your baby, so it’s best to consult medical experts if you have any worries.
· Mouth Breathing
Another reason why babies stick their tiny tongues out can be mouth breathing. We all know that it’s normal to breathe through the nose, but some babies want to rebel.
Please note that if you notice any other worrying symptoms like difficulty breathing, contact a medical professional right away.
· Baby Still Can’t Eat Solid Food
According to medical professionals, babies can start eating solids around the age of six months, but not every baby is the same.
Some babies can’t break the habit of drinking milk easily, so they might stick out their tongues as a way to protest against solids.
· Disliking Food
If you’ve read some other articles of mine, you might have noticed that I like to refer to babies as royalty.
Well, they sometimes really do act like little kings and queens. It seems like their demands come straight from their royal blood.
Sticking out their tongues might mean babies don’t like the taste of the specific food. I remember that my children didn’t like peas so much.
If your baby rejects some foods, don’t push them to eat them. Instead, try giving your Royal Highness some other foods.
· Medical Reasons
Rarely medical conditions can cause a baby to stick its tongue out. Some of the conditions that make sticking the tongue out a habit are:
- Swollen glands;
- In rare cases, oral cancer;
Do Down Syndrome Babies Stick Their Tongues Out?
We already mentioned the biggest factors as to why babies make a habit of sticking their tongues out.
But, many parents are afraid that when babies stick their tongues out, they display a sign of Down syndrome.
While sticking out the tongue might be a symptom of Down syndrome and other genetic conditions, that’s rarely the case.