Babies can get hyper as they grow older and enjoy playing with almost anything they see around them. From colorful (and chewable) teething toys to stackable cans of tuna and sardines, babies enjoy playtime with anything you put in front of them.
Your baby also sees you as a playmate. But sometimes, they see you more as a plaything. You might be in the middle of feeding or playing with your child when they suddenly grab your face out of nowhere!
Do babies just grab faces out of nowhere? And what do they mean when they squeeze your cheeks or honk your nose? And what can you do if their hands get a little bit too grabby?
Table of Contents
- When Does My Baby Start Grabbing and Holding Things?
- Why Does My Baby Grab My Face?
- My Baby Hurts Me While Grabbing My Face. What Do I Do?
- Why Do Babies Touch Your Face While Eating?
- Why Does My Baby Scratch My Face?
- Why Does My Baby Grab My Face When Falling Asleep?
When Does My Baby Start Grabbing and Holding Things?
Grabbing and holding things are a part of your baby’s development in motor skills. As your baby grows older, they learn how they interact with objects around them.
At 8 months, your baby becomes more active and will explore their surroundings while they crawl. They will begin to hold onto objects for support and use their pincer grasp to examine items. Babies might also throw, drop, shake, and bang things around the house.
Why Does My Baby Grab My Face?
Toys and household items are not the only things your baby wants to examine and explore. Babies might also want to grab onto people, such as their parents. You might start noticing your kid touching and holding your face and other body parts as they approach their first birthday.
Babies grabbing their parent’s faces is nothing to be alarmed about. In fact, you might want to encourage touching as it can bring you closer to your child. Here are some reasons why your baby grabs you in the first place.
They are Curious And Ready to Explore
You might have heard the saying, ‘Curiosity kills the cat.’ But your baby benefits when they explore the world around them. Your baby wants to learn about their surroundings, including what is on your face.
The human face has varying textures that are fun and exciting for a curious little baby. Your child might do this as well with other family members and friends. It is your baby’s way of getting to know who are the people around them.
They Want to Express a Certain Emotion
Babies are very expressive and have just as many emotions as we do. As babies age, they try to look for many ways to express their feelings. Sometimes, they might grab your face to get your attention.
Your baby might grab your face to express joy and excitement. Maybe they find happiness while you two are playing, or they enjoy something they watched on the television. Either way, let your baby grab your face since this can be a positive experience for both of you.
Your baby might also grab your face as a way to show love. Most babies show affection by being close to their parents, initiating eye contact, and smiling.
Alternatively, your baby might be experiencing negative emotions like sadness or anger when they grab your face. Since babies have not developed their verbal abilities yet, they might try other ways to grab your attention and ask for comfort.
They are Looking for You for Protection
Loud noises or nightmares can put your baby on edge, so they might try to grab the nearest things for protection. And sometimes, the closest thing to them is you.
Your baby might also grab your face to show you how scared they are and how they need protection. So feel free to comfort and soothe them.
They Want Their Next Meal
Babies have many non-verbal cues to show that they are hungry. Your baby might try to send a signal by touching and grabbing your face. So do not be surprised if your baby suddenly grabs your face while rocking them in your arms.
They See You in Their Dreams
My Baby Hurts Me While Grabbing My Face. What Do I Do?
Your baby’s face-grabbing habit is cute. But sometimes, they might move on from grabbing and start biting, pinching, or hair-pulling. Some babies might scratch or hurt your face by accident, while others do it thinking that it is okay behavior.
It is crucial to stop nasty behaviors in your baby before it affects other. Always verbalize a ‘NO’ when your baby does something hurtful. Remove your child’s hand or mouth from you, and do not give attention to the negative behavior.
You can distract your child from biting, pinching, or pulling your face and hair by giving them a teether or toy to play with. And instead of constantly scolding them for negative behavior, choose to give attention to more positive actions like cuddling and gentle playing. Reward good behavior and push them to repeat those habits.
Why Do Babies Touch Your Face While Eating?
Babies touch your face while eating because it’s a natural way for them to explore their environment and develop their sensory skills. It’s a form of curiosity and engagement with their surroundings.
Additionally, touching your face provides babies with comfort, security, and a sense of closeness to their caregivers, strengthening the bond between parent and child.
This behavior can also be attributed to reflex actions and developmental milestones, as babies are continually learning and growing through sensory experiences.
Why Does My Baby Scratch My Face?
Babies may scratch your face as part of their natural curiosity and exploration of their environment, including your skin.
It’s also a way for them to develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Sometimes, scratching may be a sign of teething discomfort, a form of communication, or experimentation in seeking reactions from caregivers.
Why Does My Baby Grab My Face When Falling Asleep?
When babies grab your face while falling asleep, it’s usually a comforting and self-soothing behavior that provides them with a sense of security and closeness.
This physical contact offers sensory stimulation, which can be calming and reassuring for them.
Additionally, it contributes to bonding and attachment between you and your baby, fostering a stronger emotional connection.
Is face-grabbing normal for babies and toddlers?
Face-grabbing is normal for babies and toddlers to explore their surroundings and familiarize themselves with human faces.
What do I do if my baby keeps grabbing my face even if I say ‘no?’
Do not give your baby the attention they want if they grab your face to the point of hurting you. Say no and put them down as you mean it.
Babies enjoy experimenting with their surroundings as they grow older. Your baby might have an affinity for a toy or plush. Or maybe they might choose to play with your face instead.
Your baby might choose to grab your face for many reasons. Maybe they want to catch your attention and point you to something, or perhaps they want to ask for food.
Face-grabbing is something parents should only worry about once it turns painful. But if your baby simply wants to have a staring contest with their hands on your face, then who are you to say no?