As a new mom of a beautiful infant daughter, I have tons of questions.
Recently, one question popped up in my mind after I began to see tiny red scratches appear on my baby’s cheeks. Why do babies scratch their face?
I’ll admit that the first time I saw her scratch her face, tears immediately came to my eyes. So, after sitting on the sofa and letting a few tears flow, I decided to take a look into the topic.
My ultimate goal was to find a way to stop my infant daughter from scratching her face. If you’re a new mom with a baby who likes to scratch, you’ll definitely find this helpful.
- Why do babies scratch their face?
- Will this cause scarring?
- How to treat scratches on baby’s face
- How to stop baby from scratching her/his face?
- When will babies stop scratching their face?
Why Do Babies Scratch Their Face?
You may or may not be relieved to learn that it’s a common occurrence for babies to scratch their face. Babies have what is called a startle reflex.
Though it is normal, it can sometimes cause their arms to move quickly upward toward their face.
This sudden movement can leave scratches on baby’s face. Some of my mom friends have worried about whether their babies will scratch their eyes and injure them.
I found out that a baby will automatically blink when their fingers or other objects get close to their face so there’s little chance they will scratch their eyes.
Another reason why babies scratch their face is they are starting to explore their space. They are no longer in the close confines of the womb.
Now, they are out in the world and learning to use their hands, arms and legs. Sometimes this sort of exploration can result in accidental scratches on baby’s face.
Will This Cause Scarring?
After I first spotted the scratches on my daughter’s sweet face, I wondered if they would leave a scar behind.
The answer is no.
Though they seem very delicate, babies are tough! The scratches will heal with simple treatment.
Plus, when you think about it, a baby’s fingernails aren’t very hard or sharp, so they aren’t likely to do the kind of damage it would take to leave a scar behind.
How to Treat Scratches on Baby’s Face
The simple treatment for scratches on your baby’s face involves gently washing his or her face with a mild soap and warm water.
Next, pat your baby’s face dry with a soft cloth.
Then, put some salve meant for a baby’s skin on the scratches. You shouldn’t need much salve because the scratches will be small. This salve should heal the scratches in a matter of days.
In addition, trying one of the ways to prevent scratches that I’m about to mention will help any current scratches on baby’s face to heal more quickly.
Ways to Stop the Scratching
Luckily, I’ve found many ways to stop my baby from scratching her face. One way is to put socks on her hands.
So, even if she moves her hands up to her face she won’t be able to scratch herself. And, to be honest, seeing her with little pink socks on her hands is just too cute for words! Get a pair of cotton socks that will be easy on your baby’s skin.
Another way to stop the scratching is to file your baby’s nails. I use a simple emery board to carefully file any sharp edges off my daughter’s tiny fingernails.
Since my daughter is still an infant, I wrap her in a swaddling blanket. This prevents her from getting her hands close to her face. Trimming your baby’s nails can also be helpful in preventing scratches.
Some babies aren’t too keen on having their nails trimmed. They move around a lot which can make the process stressful for you.
So, you may want to do your gentle trimming work when your baby is asleep. You can find small nail clippers for babies at a drugstore or even online.
The video below is for you if you want to know how to trim your baby’s nails:
When Do Babies Stop Scratching Their Face?
As a baby starts getting more control of his or her limbs, the scratching will begin to lessen.
This development is different for different babies, but around six months is when the scratching behavior should really start to move off.
My daughter’s scratches went from four on her face to two and the last one is just about healed. She is five months old now.
I hope this has made you feel better about your baby’s scratching behavior. As a new mom, it can be stressful to see any kind of marks on your baby’s soft skin.
But, think of scratching as another sign that your baby is excited about getting better acquainted with his or her surroundings.
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Video credits: mothercare.