Why Do Babies Grab Your Face?

Why Do Babies Grab Your Face?

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Quick Facts

  1. It is natural for babies to grab the faces of their caregivers.
  2. Babies begin to intentionally hold to your face from 7 to 18 months.
  3. Babies will grab your face to build bonds and explore the world around them.
  4. Newborns mostly grab the face to reflect action to being startled.
  5. Babies can grab their parent’s faces even while asleep.
  6. Face grabbing can help relax and calm babies into feeling safe and secure enough for a peaceful sleep.

The heartwarming moment your baby grabs your face and makes long, deep eye contact with you is enough to cause butterflies in your belly. This act is very common among babies, parents, and caregivers often react differently to babies grabbing their faces.

While some adore this moment, others become apprehensive and concerned about it. Honestly, with babies it is normal to not always understand the reasons behind some of their behaviors, hence the question; “Why do babies grab your face?'”

The main reason why babies grab your face is that they are exploring their sense of touch. However, the reason can vary based on the age of the baby, as babies who have reached the age of knowing how to get their parents’ attention would grab your face to get your attention.

Because babies can not talk, it is typical for them to communicate with caregivers by crying, babbling, cooing, as well as touching. Parents should understand that touching or holding their faces may be a way of trying to communicate.

There’s nothing to worry about when your baby does this and the behavior should not be discouraged as this is a way your baby is trying to explore the world around them by touch or physical contact.

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In this blog post, you will find out if it is normal for babies to grab your face and understand the various reasons why they do this. Now let’s delve right into it.

Is It Normal For Babies To Grab Your Face?

When it comes to babies, it is not unusual to experience some oddities and in this case, grabbing your face can seem odd enough for parents to ask whether it is a normal baby behavior.

Yes, it is normal for babies to grab your face. Babies are fond of exploring their environment with their hands, and touching your face is a way to bond and get to know their caregivers properly.

For the most part, there is no reason to be worried about this behavior, as it is naturally hardwired. Parents should rather enjoy this moment and give positive responses to their babies. However, when face grabbing resorts to scratching and pinching the face, it should be discouraged.

Reasons Why Babies Grab the Face?

We understand that babies can sometimes take us aback by their behaviors, leaving parents to decipher why our babies do what they do. Here are the following reasons why babies grab your face;

1. Attention Seeking

Why Do Babies Grab Your Face?
Image: P Pogo // Wikimedia Commons

Babies have different ways of seeking attention, following you around, cooing and babbling are some of the ways they get their parent’s attention. However, crying which has been the major form of communication can also accompany by face touching.

If your little one does touch or grab your face, understand that your undivided attention is needed for reasons such as hunger, or playtime. Babies between the ages of 7 and 18 months are famous for holding caregivers’ faces in place for interactions, so keep in mind that it is a typical behavior for your child if they fall within this age gap.

2. Creating A Deeper Bond

The heart-sinking moment your baby holds your face and looks at you intently will always be the highlight of every parents’ day. As much as you want to bond with your baby, babies also want to get to know their caregivers properly to be able to tell them apart from strange faces.

Creating a bond is just as important to you as it is to your baby. So rather than feeling worried or confused about this behavior, be elated and enjoy this precious moment with your baby, as it doesn’t happen every day.

3. Exploration By Touch

Babies are fond of getting to know their world better by reaching out and touching anything they can. You would be surprised by how much your baby is learning from grabbing your face as well as other physical contact they make. Parents are expected to encourage this instead of discouraging the behavior, as it can improve some of their motor skills.

4. Hunger

Crying in some cases doesn’t always do it for some babies. Newborns have the sucking reflex that causes them to turn their heads whenever the areas around their mouths are touched due to hunger. As your baby progresses in age, this can develop to grabbing the face when they are hungry.

If your baby is fussy, cranky, or rubbing their face aggressively while holding onto your face as well, it is probably time for some nourishment. Babies can not talk, so every parent should understand their hunger cues and feed them appropriately.

5. Reacting To Fear Or Being Startled

Even as grown-ups, we all react differently to fear. Babies are no different as well. Grabbing your face can be a reflex action to hearing a loud noise. Babies with separation anxiety can also grab their parents’ faces when they finally get to see them.

Should You Stop Babies From Grabbing Your Face?

Parents should only attempt to stop face grabbing in babies it has become a frequent habit and is becoming problematic. Other than that, this behavior is deemed normal as long as it happens from time to time. However, when it becomes a problem, here are a few ways to discourage it;

  1. Encourage your baby to self-soothe by providing them with a pacifier, or a soft and comforting blankie and toys to distract them from grabbing your face.
  2. Babies can learn, try to teach your little one how to gently touch your face rather than grabbing or scratching your face. Constantly put your baby’s little fingers to your face and give your face a gentle rub with their hands.
  3. Feed your baby at the scheduled times to prevent them from resorting to grabbing your face due to hunger.

Author’s Note: It is very important for parents to be patient and understanding when their babies grab their faces. It is a natural baby behavior as it is a part of their milestone development to help communicate, grab attention, build bonds as well as explore their world and people around them.

Does Face Grabbing Promote Sleep In Babies?

Yes, holding on to your face can help babies relax to a peaceful sleep. Some babies are very fond of requiring physical contact and bodily warmth usually from their mothers before they can fall asleep. If your baby is feeling sleepy already, grasping and holding your face makes them feel safe and secure enough as they trust caregivers.

However, babies can also reach out and grab their parents’ faces even while asleep, this is because they are having a blissful dream about you. In general, holding onto your face brings comfort to your baby and can sometimes prompt them to fall asleep.

That being said, if your baby always has to grasp your face before they can fall asleep, it is best to adopt ways in which you can discourage this behavior, as they would always rely on you to get some sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does a baby love putting fingers in your mouth?

Putting fingers in a parent’s mouth is a typical baby behavior especially when they are nursing or feeling sleepy. It can be a centerpiece of your presence and a way to satisfy their curiosity. Babies often find this very stimulating.

What to do when a baby scratches or pinches your face?

Understand that babies do not do this to cause you pain. Most of the time this is done accidentally. It is best to gently redirect them from your face and give them the attention they need.

What should I do when my baby grabs my face?

When your baby grabs your face, they try to tell you something or get a good glimpse of your face. You should smile and make and make funny faces to make them happy and jolly. Also, try to get the baby fed if it’s about time for some nourishment.

Final Thoughts

As parents, we can not always understand the meaning of some baby behaviors as some of them are done with no clear reasons. Face grabbing being one of those things babies do that often cause parents to raise a brow is a natural and very common baby behavior.

Babies will grab your face for a variety of reasons such as hunger, fear, exploring, and seeking attention. It is okay to encourage this behavior, however, when it becomes problematic parents should seek out ways to stop them from face-grabbing. Babies are our little bundle of joy, so enjoy every moment of them. Happy parenting!

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