As new parents there will always be things about young babies that’ll confuse you.
In fact, whether it’s your first time or your third time, you are bound to be faced with baffling situations! One common question that all parents ask is: Why does my baby grab my face?
The answers to: Why does my baby grab my face? are numerous, but quite simple. A common reason is that your little one is just trying to get a bit more information about his mom or dad now that he’s discovering his sense of touch.
He’s trying to feel the contours of your face and the texture of your skin and cheeks, during which the baby’s hands are likely to pull at your nose a few times too, all the while making eye contact.
However, it isn’t the only reason why your child is looking to touch your face as there are plenty of others that I’ll cover in this article.
That said, they’re all pretty much normal and, in general, aren’t cause for concern.
When babies start using their hands to get better acquainted with their surroundings it’s considered to be one of the more important developmental milestones or baby leaps.
As the baby grows, he’ll start using them more and more to explore this new dimension that has opened up to him and this will aid greatly in further child development.
Naturally, he’ll want to share his findings with you which is why you may experience a lot of hand grabbing and face touching from your 9 month old child, so do make sure he gets your undivided attention.
If you wish to find out all the other reasons for why your child really likes grabbing your face, keep reading.
Why Does My Baby Grab My Face?
1. It’s a cry for attention
Unlike newborn babies, babies of approximately 8 months of age start using a new method of grabbing your attention that doesn’t just involve a good old-fashioned baby cry-session.
Your kiddo is going to try using his hands too.
Sometimes, you may even end up accidentally getting clawed by the baby’s nails, though don’t hold it against him as he’s not aware of his own strength.
Kids do this just so they can either get some of that greatly valued eye contact or to make sure they’re getting enough love.
Alternatively, it’s just to direct your focus to something specific that they may have done so they can earn some extra love from their mamma.
2. It’s all about exploration
When babies start exploring their sense of touch and start developing their fine and gross motor skills, it’s crucial to a baby’s development to explore all of these new sensations to facilitate a normal development cycle.
It’s one of the most active periods for kids as they finally start getting a more grounded version of object permanence and have a whole new avenue to explore.
This is why we buy them sensory toys when they reach the milestone of their first year of life, to help introduce our kids to new textures.
One such texture is your face, an unusual setup of various materials with different feels and densities that your little one’s hands will be all over, trying to get a grasp on what mommy looks and feels like.
He’s likely to do the same to any of your friends and loved ones who hold him so make sure to give them a bit of warning beforehand so as to not startle them.
3. An early expression of joy
Playtime will occur differently at the various stages of development.
Before your child develops an imagination and starts putting it to good use, their play will be simple as they are limited by movement and cognitive abilities.
At a very young age, your baby may grab your face as an expression of joy or excitement. A change in your facial expressions or a sound you make may spark joy in them resulting in the face grab.
4. They want to grow closer to their mother
Arguably one of the cutest reasons is the fact that babies simply want to grow closer to mommy so they grab hold of your face to initiate eye contact and then smile warmly at you with the occasional cute baby giggle.
Make sure to respond in kind by cooing, babbling silly words, throwing a smile back, or just pulling him closer into your embrace. Your baby will appreciate it.
5. The driving force of fear
Before, the only way your baby could grab your attention when he was scared was through crying or producing other loud noises.
Now that he’s a bit more grown up, if something scares him, he’ll grab your face in a panic because he’s afraid and wants to go to his safe spot – you.
That’s something that’s ingrained in our chemistry as a natural instinct.
Younger kids run to their protector and caregiver for safety and the panic makes them grab your face.
It’s nothing new and you shouldn’t be alarmed, just reassure him that everything will be okay now that he’s with his parents and then let the baby sleep or get some cuddles.
6. Hunger strikes
A common grab for attention and answer to: Why does my baby grab my face? is to notify you that mealtime is near, especially in younger babies who are still on the breast milk diet.
If he grabs your face, there’s no need to wait to feed your baby.
This is usually around the time when babies start teething too, so be careful of any excess force during a breastfeeding session so you don’t get sore or cracked nipples.
7. Expressing their frustrations
Another answer to: Why does my baby grab my face? is that your baby may be upset about something you’ve done.
Normally this is a reaction to the baby’s crying not being met with a proper response so he just starts flailing about and grabbing what he can in a small tantrum, your face in this case.
Other times, it could also be because you’ve done something that he doesn’t like, maybe you won’t let him play with your hair or your necklace and now he’s upset.
Whatever the case may be, know that your baby can’t control these urges yet and it shouldn’t be taken up too harshly.
Why Do Babies Like To Grab?
Well, the answer is rather straightforward, it’s because it helps them feel safe and directs the attention to themselves.
Whenever any person (not just a child) gets introduced to a novelty, they’ll obsess over it for days on end until that “new car smell” fades.
For babies, however, the sensation of touch and being able to grab things is such a wonderful new thing that it doesn’t easily fade. At least until your child learns how to walk or talk.
When that happens, you’ll have a new set of challenges to deal with.
But for the duration, your baby will try to get his hands on everything, whether it’s something to play with, something to push or pull around, or just to feel the texture of a particular object.
As for why babies like grabbing people and your face especially, it’s because it helps them feel safe and redirects the attention to themselves.
Why Does My Baby Grab My Face While Breastfeeding?
Your baby grabs your face while breastfeeding because he has nowhere else to go.
That’s why he goes for the most interesting thing in his reach, and that’s usually going to be his mom’s beautiful face that he’ll want to grab and feel in his tiny little hands.
Normally the face grabbing shouldn’t really be a problem, because it’s a natural process that all babies go through.
If it becomes a bother, you can always seek help from a pediatrician or any other qualified healthcare professional that specializes in fields closely related to pediatrics.
Other than that, I suggest getting a colorful teething necklace that can hold his attention and keep him away from touching your face.
Alternatively, you can also get a fancy pacifier with a stuffed animal at the end or a long and colorful strap.
Does Grabbing My Face Help My Little One Sleep?
Yes, letting your adorable little angel grab your face will let him sleep more soundly because babies love warmth, especially in the arms of their mom.
Your baby will know that you’re his caregiver from touch alone and he may end up grabbing you just so he can pull himself closer to you and have an easier time falling asleep feeling nice and comfortable.
If it happens during a nap or when your baby is already asleep, then he may be having a dream about you and is trying to hold onto you.
Why Does My Toddler Claw My Face?
Your toddler claws at your face sometimes simply because he’s a bit overly excited about this new ability, this sense of touch.
He doesn’t have a full grasp on how much restraint needs to be exercised so a few stray nail scratches are bound to happen.
However, don’t take any of these actions as something intentional, regardless of the harm caused.
Things like pulling your hair, biting you, or even pinching or slapping you, is never done with any harmful intent, but rather as a means to explore.
You can’t exactly keep a pair of mittens on his hands at all times, that’ll just make him uncomfortable.
But, if the child sees you reacting to this behavior, he may pick it up as a means to grab your attention which is likely going to sting you, a lot.
Should this become the case, try to completely ignore the sudden pangs of pain.
It’ll help show your child that it no longer evokes a reaction from you and he’ll slowly stop doing it altogether.
As for why a newborn baby might do it, it’s usually due to a startle reflex.
He may have woken up from a really bad dream or due to some loud noise, swiping at anything nearby to try and protect himself from a non-existent danger only to end up scratching you across the face with his nails.
We’ve managed to answer the question of Why does my baby grab my face? with several answers.
Some may not apply to you now or may have applied to you in the past, but they’re certain to occur at some point in a child’s lifetime.
What you need to do is be the understanding parent that I fully believe you are and tolerate this face grabbing.
All your child is really doing is getting excited about his new abilities.
If your little one gives you a few scratches along the way, just try your best to ignore any discomfort that it may cause.
It’ll help you in the long-run.
Alternatively, you can show your baby how to gently touch your face instead of scratching it.
While it may take some time to figure out, I believe if there’s anyone out there who can do this, it’s you, mamma! Until next time.
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