As soft, cuddly and warm as babies are, they sometimes do weird things that will either alarm, upset or leave you scratching your head in puzzlement if you’re a first-time mom. But don’t worry, here’s a crash course in why they do that – and when to investigate it further with a medical practitioner.
My baby pushes his fingers in his mouth until he gags…
Most babies first do this by accident, especially when they’re discovering their little fingers – gagging, of course is your baby’s body’s way of protecting himself from choking. When you see him doing this for the first time, you’ll probably freak out, but remember that your baby is learning cause and effect. But don’t worry – after he’s done this a few times, he’ll soon realise he doesn’t like the gagging sensation and will stop – especially if he’s not getting any major reaction from you.
If your baby gags after he’s been feeding, however, and it happens a lot, do speak to a doctor or midwife.
My baby has learned to ‘fake’ a cough…
The first time your baby gives a little dry cough, she’ll get your attention immediately because it’s actually really cute. Around six months, your clever baby is starting to realise how the world works and that she gets a reaction from you every time she does this. It will usually stop after a few days if you don’t pay too much attention to it.
Of course, if it carries on for longer, and she starts to show symptoms of illness like a fever, or a blocked nose, do have it checked out with a doctor.
My baby keeps tugging at his ear
When your baby tugs at his ear, you might be worried that he has an ear infection or is teething. But unless it’s accompanied by fever, a cold, an ear discharge, or obvious pain, experts say this behaviour is normally just another way to test your reaction as he explores his body, or to tell you he’s tired.
My baby bites and scratches me while I’m feeding him
As adorable as your baby is, you’ll be alarmed when he pinches or scratches you while you’re feeding him. Sometimes your baby will even take a bite at your nipple! But don’t take it personally. Experts say scratching can be self-soothing for some babies when they’re feeding, and the trick is to take hold of his hand.
If your baby is teething, it’s quite possible that he might be biting your nipple to ease his itchy or sore gums. A lactation consultant can best advise you.
My baby is banging his head
While you might panic when you first see your baby doing this, experts say it’s actually quite common with young babies, and usually nothing to worry about. They say they will sometimes do this just before they go to sleep as they’ve found the rocking motion to be a soothing motion.
That said, if your baby is doing this after he’s had an injury to his head, or you are finding that he does this without making eye contact, you should have this behaviour assessed by a doctor.
Content editor and writer on Living & Loving, Sonya has over 25 years experience in the media industry. She edited Living & Loving magazine for six-and-a-half years and is the former editor of Longevity magazine. She’s won numerous media industry awards and is passionate about the health and wellbeing of moms and children.
Outside of work, she enjoys trying out recipes, reading crime mysteries and thrillers, practicing yoga, and exploring new destinations.
Learn more about Sonya Naudé.