While children may look adorable sticking their tongue out, parents often get concerned about their health. Luckily, in most cases, this type of behavior is completely normal. Infants do it to interact with the world or to express their needs. But parents should still keep an eye on them, to be able to spot any warning signs right away.
We at Bright Side decided to do our research and figure out what babies are trying to tell us with this gesture.
1. They are hungry.
Babies have a strong sucking reflex and sticking out their tongue may be their way of saying that it’s time to eat. Babies don’t usually start crying right away when they feel hungry and instead they try to give their parents more subtle hints. They may try putting their hands in their mouths, smacking their lips, or leaning toward the breast or the bottle. So sticking out their tongue may just be an instinct babies have for eating.
2. They are full.
Babies may stick out their tongues to show that they don’t want to eat anymore. To distinguish this situation from the one when the baby is actually hungry, parents should pay attention to the baby’s body language. If a child tries to pull away, looks irritated, or even starts crying, it’s a sign that they have already had enough food.
3. They are just playing.
From an early age, babies imitate the facial expressions of the people around them. They may see it as some kind of a game, especially if the adults have already shown some gestures to them. Sticking out their tongue may be the baby’s way to start a game and engage in communication with other people. These interactions are a great way to promote closeness and intimacy in the relationship with a child.
4. They show that they aren’t ready for solid food.
While pediatricians say that you can start to give solid food to babies once they’re 6 months old, some children may not be ready for such a drastic change in their diet yet. So they might stick out their tongue to push away the food. This instinct prevents a baby from choking on food if their oral coordination is still not good enough to eat solids. But if the baby constantly refuses to eat solid foods, it’s better to see a doctor to eliminate the risk of any possible health problems.
5. They may be breathing through their mouth.
As a rule, babies inhale and exhale through their noses. But in some situations, for example, when a baby has caught a cold or has large tonsils, they may make a habit of breathing through their mouth. And as a result, they stick out their tongue. If you notice that your baby has any problems with breathing or makes unusual sounds, it’s better to consult a doctor immediately.
6. They might have some health problems.
While it may be completely natural for babies to stick out their tongue, sometimes it may indicate some health problems like gas pains or poor muscle tone. If you notice that your child sticks out their tongue more than usual, drools too much, or acts strangely, it’s better to see a doctor to be on the safe side.
Have you ever noticed that your kid sticks out their tongue? What turned out to be the reason for that?