Why Do Babies Stick Their Tongues Out?

Sticking out the tongue is a common behavior among babies, and it looks pretty cute every time they do it. However, many parents worry about the health implications of this seemingly harmless habit. Have you ever wondered why they do this? While there may be some cause for concern in certain cases, most of the time sticking out the tongue is perfectly normal and should not raise any alarm bells. In fact, babies often stick their tongues out to interact with their environment or express needs such as hunger or discomfort.

So, in this article, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons why your baby might be sticking out their tongue. Let’s get started.

1. They Might Be Hungry

They Might Be Hungry

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One possibility is that when babies get hungry, they may instinctively try to suck on something to satisfy themselves. Sticking out their tongue might just be an instinctive way of trying to find food or comfort from a parent’s embrace or breast milk! It’s almost as if they’re saying “Feed me!”

2. Due To Teething

Teething causes pain and discomfort in babies which leads them to poke their tongue out as a way to cope with the irritation. When it comes to teething, parents have plenty of options for helping ease baby’s discomfort such as using cold washcloths or frozen foods like carrots or bananas. These items help reduce inflammation and provide relief from sore gums while also giving little ones something fun and tasty to chew on.

3. Imitating People

Imitating People

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One of the most common reasons for this behavior is when they stick out their tongues to imitate others. Imitating others helps them learn about facial expressions and language from those around them, as well as develop social skills like being able to recognize emotions or make eye contact with another person.

4. Due To Sensory Stimulation

When a baby sticks its tongue out, it’s exploring its environment by engaging with different textures and tastes. This helps develop their senses as they learn more about what things feel like on their tongue or taste like when they put something into their mouth.

5. To Calm Themselves

To Calm Themselves

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Sticking their tongue out is a primitive reflexive action that babies use to soothe themselves in times of stress or distress. By focusing on this simple act, babies can take their minds off whatever was causing them discomfort and concentrate instead on the physical sensation of moving their tongues around in their mouths.

6. To Speak

Babies are naturally curious and eager to learn, so it’s no surprise that they often stick their tongues out when trying to communicate. This behavior is a form of early communication as babies try to mimic the sounds they hear around them. It may seem silly or even comical, but this tongue-sticking habit is important in a baby’s development. When babies stick their tongues out, it helps them practice making different facial expressions and mouth movements which can help with speech development later on.

7. Just For Fun

Just For Fun

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Babies have very limited ways of expressing themselves and this simple gesture can show excitement or curiosity about something new. For example, tasting solid food for the first time. Whatever the reason it may be, seeing those little pink tongues poking through rosy lips never fails to bring smiles all around. So next time you see your baby with its tongue stuck out, don’t worry too much.

8. Due To Breathing From The Mouth

Babies breathe through their noses to keep their airways clear. However, when they have caught a cold or have large tonsils, they may make it a habit of breathing through the mouth instead. Therefore you might notice that your baby sticks out its tongue while taking breaths in this way.

Tips To Clean Your Baby’s Tongue

Tips To Clean Your Baby’s Tongue

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Now that you know the main reasons why your baby has a habit of sticking out its tongue, let’s have a quick look at some ways of keeping your baby’s tongue clean as well.

  • You can use a soft cloth dampened with water and gently wipe away any food particles from the surface of your baby’s tongue. This should be done after each feeding session as it helps remove bacteria-filled residue which could cause tooth decay if left unchecked.
  • You can also buy an infant toothbrush specifically designed for cleaning babies’ tongues. These brushes have extra soft bristles which make them ideal for this purpose as they won’t irritate delicate skin or gums while still effectively removing plaque buildup from the surface of their tongue.
  • You can also use specialized cleansing solutions such as “Tongue Cleaner” on occasion. These solutions contain natural ingredients like baking soda which help dissolve tough stains caused by eating certain foods such as berries. They also provide additional protection against bacterial growth since they kill germs on contact.

When a baby sticks their tongue out, it can be an adorable sight that melts the hearts of all who witness it. However, as a parent, it’s best to know the reasons behind this funny gesture. Let us know in the comment section what you thought when you saw your baby sticking out their tongue for the first time.


  1. Tongue movements in normal 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old children: a continuation study, NCBI
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