Why Is My Baby Sucking Her Bottom Lip?

baby sucking bottom lip
Pexels / Pixabay

As your child develops there are a number of odd behaviors that you are going to observe. Some of them might even seem downright weird. The initial instinct is to worry, after all, baby is fragile and those parenting instincts are fierce! So when you notice your baby doing something like sucking their bottom lip the first reaction is to wonder ‘why’ and ‘is this going to hurt my baby?’. In this article we will explore this topic so that you can have a little more understanding as to why your baby is doing this and whether or not you need to do something about it. Let’s discuss why your baby is sucking their lower lip.

It’s not dermatophagia

In case you were wondering about this or have never heard of it, dermatophagia is where someone is compulsively biting their own skin. It could manifest as biting one’s lip, fingernails, or any number of places. The good news on this front is that your baby certainly isn’t suffering from dermatophagia, they are simply too young to have developed an obsessive condition such as this. So why do they do it? How can you tell your child is doing it if you haven’t seen it?

Signs your child is sucking their bottom lip

The most common thing to notice is going to be a red-ring on the mouth or a very chapped bottom lip. In more extreme cases there could be a blister but this is uncommon. If you notice these symptoms just watch for a little while and you will probably catch them in the act. So why the lip sucking? What if baby is chewing on their lips?

Reasons for this behavior

baby sucking lower lip
voltamax / Pixabay

The reasons that this can occur are actually pretty simple. Most commonly it is just the equivalent of thumb-sucking. It calms the child and it’s much easier to do than sucking their thumb once they are out of the womb. If your baby is 4 months old and biting their lower lip then this is likely the cause. Now, while this is the primary reason you will see this occurring, it is certainly not the only reason. If your baby is older than 6 months and you are noticing this behavior at the dinner table then it might be that they are ready to begin trying solid food. Around this time they are starting to notice the things that you are eating. The scents of the food and seeing you chewing excite the baby, who begins to mimic the chewing as they contemplate what YOU are having for dinner. If you are unsure that this is the case, then check with your Pediatrician, but it is likely at this point that your child is ready for solids. There is another very important reason why your child might be biting their lip.

Your baby might be chewing on their lips because they are teething

If rather than sucking on their bottom lip your baby is biting their is actually BITING the lower lip then you should check their gums. Inflammation or red gums might indicate that baby is about to get their first tooth! If your baby has already started teething and the first few teeth have arrive, then the lip biting could simply be your child getting used to the changes in their mouth. This is completely normal and not difficult behavior to minimize with a few strategic tactics.

Ways to minimize chewing of the lips

One of the easiest ways to minimize this behavior is to simply give them something else to chew. A pacifier, for instance, is probably something you already have. Just utilize it more often. Some other ways that you can minimize chewing are as follows:

  • Provide some entertainment – Some playpen time with a few favorite toys to distract your child might be in order. Cartoons are sometimes good as well or kids shows with a lot of music and dancing to keep your child amused inside the playpen. Sometimes this behavior occurs when your child is simply bored and so you will want to see if distraction can help.

” Lip balm that is approved for infants may help.”

  • Gum medication (if teething) – Your child’s gums will be hurting a little while they are teething. With your pediatrician’s approval, a little bit of soothing gel for those inflamed gums might be just the thing for stopping all of that lower lip biting. Sometimes the gums can get itchy when those teeth are coming in as well and biting the lips is a way that your child can scratch that itch, so see if gel is an option that you can try and if that doesn’t help you can always investigate further.
  • Whistling within view of baby – Babies mimic the things that they see their parents do. An odd little trick is pursing your lips in view of the baby and whistling or ‘blowing a kiss’. If you do this a lot your baby will eventually attempt to mimic this and might decide that it is more interesting then sucking or biting on their bottom lip.

What to do for biting blisters

You will want to check with your pediatrician for approved gels or creams if your child is biting to the point that they are blistering their lower lip. Lip balm that is approved for infants may help to prevent this from occurring in the first place so it is something to consider as a preventative measure if your child has just started lip biting.

4 month baby biting lower lip
sathyatripodi / Pixabay

Some final words

So, there you have it! We’ve discussed why your child is biting or sucking on their lower lip as well as some things that you can do in order to help minimize this behavior if it has you alarmed. Generally this is completely normal and may continue up until the child is 3 years of age. If it is occurring after 3 years however, then you will definitely want to consult your pediatrician. Until next time, happy parenting!

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