Why Babies Rub Their Faces on You – 9 Likely Explanations

As a new parent, I found myself constantly questioning Why Babies Rub Their Faces. Is it some kind of secret baby language? A way for them to mark us as their territory? Or perhaps it’s just their way of saying, I love you, and I want to share my drool with you?

In this article, we will explore nine likely explanations for why baby rubbing face on chest. Get ready for some interesting insights into the mysterious world of baby behavior!

The act of your baby rubbing their face against you is commonly triggered by hunger or tiredness.

Nevertheless, this behavior can also signify various other things such as

  1. Itchiness or nasal congestion
  2. The need for comfort and proximity to you
  3. Discomfort in their position or environment
  4. Frustration
  5. Onset of teething.

Face rubbing initially originates from involuntary and instinctive actions but evolves into voluntary behavior as babies enhance their coordination and motor abilities.

According to Healthline, it is believed that very young infants engage in the act of exercising their newborn reflexes.

When my babies were tired, they would rub their faces against either me or my husband. This was a precious experience for both of us as we were aware that their complete reliance on us would not last forever.

Why Babies Rub their Faces on You

Babies rubbing their faces on their parents is actually quite common and has a few explanations.

Rooting Reflex and Hunger

Babies have a natural instinct called the rooting reflex, which is triggered when they are hungry or looking for comfort. When a baby rubs their face on you, it can be a sign that they are trying to find a source of food. This reflex helps them locate their mother’s breast or a bottle to satisfy their hunger.

Baby Is Tired

When a baby is tired, they may rub their face against their parent’s chest or shoulder as a way to seek comfort and soothe themselves to sleep. The gentle pressure and warmth from the parent’s body can provide a sense of security and help the baby relax.

Trying To Satisfy an Itch

Babies have sensitive skin and may experience discomfort due to dryness, irritation, or even a mild rash. Rubbing their face against someone’s clothes or skin provides them with temporary relief from the itchiness.

One guilt-ridden mom shared:

When my baby had eczema, she frequently exhibited that behavior. I used to assume it was due to sleepiness or hunger. However, ever since she received treatment and her eczema disappeared, she hasn’t displayed that behavior even once. It saddens me to think that she was feeling itchy and I didn’t even notice.

Stuffy Nose

Rubbing their face against your chest or shoulder can help alleviate some of the congestion and provide them with temporary relief. The warmth and scent of their parent’s body can offer a soothing sensation, making them feel more at ease.

When babies have a stuffy nose, it can be challenging for them to breathe properly, which may cause discomfort and fussiness. By rubbing their face on you, they are instinctively trying to clear their nasal passages and find some relief.

However, it’s important to note that if your baby has persistent breathing difficulties or other concerning symptoms, it’s best to consult with a pediatrician for proper evaluation and guidance.

Seeking Comfort

Babies have a strong need for physical contact with their caregivers, as it provides them with reassurance and a sense of safety. By rubbing their face on you, they are trying to establish that close connection and find solace in your warm embrace.

Just Wants To Be Close to You

When babies rub their faces on you, it is a way of seeking physical contact and closeness with you, which provides them with a sense of security and reassurance. Babies have an innate need for human touch and connection, and rubbing their faces on you fulfills this need.

Trying To Nestle Into a Comfortable Position

Babies rubbing their faces on their parents is a common behavior that often indicates they are trying to find a comfortable position. Babies have sensitive skin and may rub their face against their parent’s chest or shoulder to soothe any discomfort they may be feeling.

This action can also provide them with a sense of security and closeness, as they feel the warmth and familiar scent of their caregiver.


This behavior is usually seen when they are feeling frustrated, tired, or overwhelmed. Rubbing their face against someone’s chest or shoulder provides them with a sense of security and helps them regulate their emotions.

Teething Discomfort

Teething is a natural process in which the baby’s teeth start to emerge through the gums, causing soreness and discomfort. Rubbing their face against you provides some pressure that can temporarily alleviate the pain.

Some indications to be mindful of are:

  • excessive salivation
  • Inclination to gnaw on objects
  • Overall irritability
  • Inflamed gums
  • Alterations in sleep patterns
  • Pulling at their ears

When to worry

If your child is experiencing face rubbing along with additional worrisome symptoms such as fever, vomiting, excessive crying, trembling, or becoming jittery, it is important to seek advice from a pediatrician.

These accompanying behaviors may be indicative of an infection or abdominal discomfort and should be evaluated by a medical professional to identify potential causes.

Babies Rub Their Faces

How To Stop Face Rubbing

To stop the face-rubbing behavior, it’s important to address the underlying cause. If your baby is seeking comfort, try providing them with a soft cuddly toy or blanket that they can rub against instead.

This can help redirect their behavior while still giving them the comfort they seek. If teething is the issue, consider offering them teething toys or chilled washcloths to chew on, as this can provide relief for their sore gums.

Ensure that your baby’s face is clean and dry to prevent any irritation from prolonged rubbing. If the behavior persists or becomes excessive, it may be worth consulting with your pediatrician for further guidance and support.

If your baby is old enough, a proven recommendation to avoid face rubbing is to place a comfort blanket or a teddy bear toy in the crib.

How To Know When Your Baby Is Hungry

Knowing when your baby is hungry is important for their overall health and well-being. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Rooting reflex: When babies are hungry, they will turn their heads and open their mouth in search of a nipple or bottle. This is called the rooting reflex and is a clear indication that your baby is ready to eat.
  2. Sucking on fingers or fists: Babies often suck on their fingers or fists as a way to self-soothe. However, if your baby starts doing this while showing other signs of hunger, it may be a signal that they are looking for food.
  3. Crying: While crying can indicate many things, it is one of the last signs of hunger in babies. It’s important not to wait until your baby is inconsolable before offering them food, as this can lead to increased frustration.

Remember that each baby is unique and may display different cues when they are hungry. Pay attention to your baby’s individual patterns and cues, and you will become more attuned to their hunger signals over time.

Signs Baby Is Tired

There are several signs that can indicate when a baby is tired and in need of sleep. Here are some common signs to look out for:

  1. Rubbing eyes or pulling at ears: Babies often rub their eyes or pull at their ears when they are tired. This can be a clear indication that they are ready for sleep.
  2. Yawning: Just like adults, babies yawn when they are tired. If you notice your baby yawning frequently, it’s a good sign that they need some rest.
  3. Fussiness or irritability: When babies become overtired, they may become fussy or irritable. They may cry more than usual and have difficulty settling down.
  4. Decreased activity level: Tired babies tend to have less energy and become less active. You may notice that your baby is not as interested in playing or exploring their surroundings.
  5. Clinginess: A tired baby may become clingy and seek more comfort from you. They may want to be held or cuddled more than usual.

It’s important to pay attention to these signs and establish a consistent sleep routine for your baby to ensure they get the rest they need for healthy development.

Baby Rubbing Her Face While Sleeping

There can be several reasons why a baby may rub her face while sleeping. Here are a few possible explanations:

  1. Self-soothing: Babies often rub their faces as a way to comfort themselves and relax. It can be a self-soothing mechanism that helps them feel secure and calm in their sleep.
  2. Teething discomfort: When babies start teething, they may experience discomfort or pain in their gums. Rubbing their faces could be an attempt to alleviate the discomfort by applying pressure to the area.
  3. Sensory exploration: Babies are naturally curious and constantly exploring their surroundings, even in sleep. Rubbing their faces could simply be a way for them to explore different sensations and textures on their skin.

It’s important to note that if your baby’s face rubbing seems excessive or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s always best to consult with your pediatrician for further evaluation and guidance.

Baby Rubbing Face on Chest

There could be several reasons why a baby rubs her face on your chest. It could be a sign of comfort and seeking reassurance. Babies often find comfort in the familiar scent and warmth of their caregiver’s chest, which helps them feel secure and calm. Rubbing their face against your chest may be their way of seeking that comfort and connection.

It could also be a sign of tiredness or sleepiness. Many babies have a natural instinct to nuzzle or rub their face against something soft when they are tired. By doing so, they may be trying to soothe themselves and prepare for sleep.

Rubbing their face on your chest could also be related to teething. As babies go through the teething process, they may experience discomfort or pain in their gums. Rubbing their face against your chest may provide some relief by applying gentle pressure to the affected area.

When a baby rubs her face on your chest, it is usually a normal behavior that signifies comfort, tiredness, or teething-related discomfort. It is important to respond with patience and understanding, providing them with the support and care they need during these moments.

Baby Rubs Her Face on You After Feeding

There can be several reasons why a baby rubs their face on you after feeding:

  1. Comfort and security: Babies often seek comfort and security by rubbing their face on their caregiver’s chest or shoulder. This action helps them feel close to you and reassures them that they are safe and loved.
  2. Soothing sensation: Rubbing their face against your skin can provide a soothing sensation for babies. The gentle pressure and warmth can help them relax, especially after a full belly from feeding.
  3. Sensory exploration: Babies are constantly exploring the world around them, including different textures. Rubbing their face on you allows them to experience the unique texture of your skin, which can be intriguing and stimulating for them.

Overall, this behavior is quite common in babies and is usually nothing to worry about. It is simply their way of seeking comfort, soothing themselves, or engaging with their environment.

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