Why Does My Baby Rub His/Her Eyes When They Are Tired?
The reason why your baby rubs his or her eyes when they are tired is because it helps them sleep better. Your baby may rub their eyes if:
They feel sleepy
Their head hurts (nausea)
They have a cold (coughing)
Your baby may also rub their eyes during the night, but only if they are very hungry. If they are not hungry, then they will not rub their eyes.
If your baby does not rub their eyes when they are tired, it means that:
They don’t want to get up early in the morning (or any time)
They are too lazy to wake up and go to bed themselves (they won’t even try)
What Causes Babies To Rub Their Eyes While Sleeping?
Babies usually start doing this at around 6 months old. Some parents think that they do it to show off, but really it’s just because they are bored! Babies often rub their eyes because:
It makes them look cute and cuddly (and happy!?)
They get to stay in their cot for longer
It’s an automatic response – it is a reflex that they do without thinking about it
If your baby rubs their eyes while sleeping, it most likely means that they just want to stay in the warmth and comfort of their cot. If you try to pick them up or talk to them, they will wake-up. They will probably start crying because they don’t really understand what’s going on.
If your baby rubs their eyes and then falls asleep, it means that they were probably really tired.
Babies can sometimes rub their eyes when they have a cold. If this is the case, they might also be coughing and sneezing a lot. Even if they are rubbing their eyes because of a cold, it is highly likely that they will rub their eyes to stay in their cot for longer.
How Should You Stop Your Child From Rubbing Their Eyes?
If you are worried that your child is rubbing their eyes too much, there are some things you can do. For example, if they rub their eyes because they are tired, then they might not be getting enough sleep. Try putting them to bed earlier. If you think that they rub their eyes because they have a cold, try giving them some medicine for it. If they rub their eyes because they are bored, then you might need to find more interesting activities to keep them occupied.
Rubbing Eyes Excessively
Most babies rub their eyes excessively when they have a cold. If your baby rubs their eyes excessively, it means that their nose is blocked and they cannot breathe through it properly. You might notice that they also have a blocked up nose or a runny nose.
They might also cough or sneeze. Rubbing their eyes excessively is just their body’s way of trying to deal with the blocked nose.
If your baby’s nose is blocked, then they might not be able to breathe through it at all. Instead, they will probably breathe through their mouth (which can make them seem like they have a constant cold).
What To Do If Your Baby’s Nose Is Blocked
If your baby’s nose is blocked, you will need to get some medicine to clear it up. It’s best to speak to your doctor or pediatrician about this. They will be able to give you the correct medicine or advise you about what medicine to use.
In addition, if your baby’s nose is blocked up, they won’t be able to breathe through their nose at all.
Sources & references used in this article:
Judging pain in newborns: facial and cry determinants by HD Hadjistavropoulos, KD Craig… – Journal of Pediatric …, 1994 – academic.oup.com
‘I am not crying. I am rubbing my eyes’: Annie and the hollow object by C Bronstein – Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 2014 – Taylor & Francis
Of Fists and Rubs by I Chughtai, MU Memon – 2011 – minds.wisconsin.edu
Remembering the sacred tree: Black women, nature and Voodoo in Zora Neale Hurston’s Tell My Horse and Their Eyes Were Watching God by R Stein – Women’s Studies, 1996 – Taylor & Francis
Promises I can keep: Why poor women put motherhood before marriage by K Edin, M Kefalas – 2011 – books.google.com
The recognition of facial expression of pain in full-term newborns by parents and health professionals by RCX Balda, R Guinsburg… – … of pediatrics & …, 2000 – jamanetwork.com