Newborn babies tend to scratch their own face often in the first few weeks, and for parents, this can be quite scary. If you are a new parent experiencing this, you might be quite desperate to know when your baby will stop scratching their face.
You might be relieved to know that in most cases, babies will stop scratching their face often at around six weeks old. They have more control over their bodies from the age of four months onwards, so the scratching should stop altogether from there.
Keep reading to find out more about your baby scratching at their face, and how you could help!
Why Do Babies Claw At Your Face?
The reason your baby claws at your face is not because they are upset with you or want to hurt you, they are simply learning how to control their body and learn how to deal with the world around them!
Whether it is your face or their own, your baby is probably trying to explore their surroundings, and without proper control and some reflexes added in, this can turn into scratching.
Just past the newborn stage, your baby will have more control of their hands and body, but they might still end up scratching you.
They could be showing love and affection by reaching out towards your face, and their sharp little nails just make it a little bit painful.
Your baby reaching out and scratching your face might also be a sign of frustration from them.
They could be feeling uncomfortable, restless, or just grumpy.
It isn’t a direct action to hurt you, but rather just them lashing out in their own way, and trying to communicate their frustrations with you.
Do Scratches On Baby Face Go Away?
Scratches on your baby’s face can be so worrying, they just look out of place on their perfect, soft skin.
The good thing is that baby skin heals really quickly, and a surface scratch should disappear in a few days.
When babies scratch themselves, it is usually a superficial surface scratch, and these heal very quickly. Deeper scratches will still heal, but they might take a little longer.
You should also keep an eye on deeper scratches, and apply some anti-bacterial cream to the scratch to ensure it does not become infected.
If your little one scratches at their face often, they might even reopen some scratches in the process of healing.
You should put some ointment on these and keep them clean, in order for them to heal properly.
Most of the time, these scratches will heal and completely disappear in a few days, and not leave behind any scars or marks.
Although soft, baby skin is incredibly resilient and heals wonderfully.
You just need to keep the skin clean and leave it to heal, and it will certainly do so well!
How To Stop Baby Scratching Face At Night
Babies do not only scratch their faces during the day. Often, their reflexes at night can lead to some scratches happening while they sleep.
There are a few ways that you can stop your baby from scratching their face at night, and these methods are very similar to how you would prevent them from scratching themselves during the day.
Here are some ideas on how to stop your baby from scratching their faces at night:
Cut Their Nails
One of the easiest ways to prevent scratches from happening is by keeping their nails cut short. It is best to cut your baby’s nails when they are feeding or asleep, when they are calm.
Use nail clippers that were made to be used on babies, as these are small and should not cause any harm to them.
Some parents even use emery boards to shorten nails, as there is no chance that you could cut your little one’s skin, and an emery board also helps to remove the sharpness of the nails.
Try to stay calm when cutting your baby’s nails as well, just to ensure that you do not accidentally cut their skin or nip at their finger.
It is completely normal to be nervous cutting their nails at first, and sometimes accidents do happen, just try not to get yourself down about it!
Swaddling your baby at night is a great way to make them feel comfortable and safe, and similar to how they felt in the womb.
Not only does swaddling mean that they will likely sleep better, but it keeps their hands tucked away and prevents them from scratching at their face.
With their hands restricted comfortably at night, they will not be able to reach their own face, and this means they can sleep through the night without being able to cause scratches to their body.
If your baby does not like being swaddled, or if swaddling is not an option for you, you could instead choose to place mittens on your baby’s hands while they sleep.
The mittens work to cover their fingers so that they cannot scratch their face.
If you do not have mittens, you could also use baby socks to cover their hands.
Just place a clean pair of socks onto their hands, just as you would with mittens. Make sure that the socks fit snug, but are not too tight.
Loose socks won’t do any good, and you don’t want loose clothing lying around the cot while your baby sleeps.
Put Them To Bed Happy
Your baby might scratch at their face out of frustration, or because they are uncomfortable.
Before putting your baby to bed, make sure they are fed and full, their diaper is clean and they are comfortable.
Eliminate anything that could frustrate them, which could stop them scratching out at their face in frustration.
You will be able to pick up on cues easier as they grow and recognize what is upsetting your baby, but the essentials are making sure they are fed, burped, and have a clean diaper.
When Will Babies Stop Scratching Their Face?
Babies can start scratching their faces from the moment they are born. They don’t have very good control of their body yet, and developing reflexes can cause them to hurt themselves with sharp little nails.
The first few weeks of their life will be the worst with scratches, as they are still learning how to move their body and how to interact with the world around them.
After about six weeks old, your baby will have more control of their movements, and the scratches should start to lessen. There might still be a few random scratches, but they are able to avoid it a little better.
Scratches should stop completely at the age of four to six months old. By this age, your baby will be able to avoid scratching themselves and will know how to prevent causing scratches to their face. The odd accident does happen, but it should not happen often at all.
If your baby suffers from frequent and deep scratches, it might be worth talking to your pediatrician to see if there is anything else you can do to stop the scratches and to prevent any deeper wounds from becoming infected and causing scarring.
The scratches will eventually stop, and in the meantime you can help stop your baby from scratching themselves.
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