Baby Smacking Lips – Is It Normal

Baby smacking lips is not only common in babies; it is normal! Now that we have established that fact, let us discuss the reasons behind the occurrence. It is important for us to understand the reasons behind baby smacking lips to understand our little ones better.

If anyone should be worried about baby smacking lips, it should be yours indeed, because all my kids engaged in lip smacking – maybe it was hereditary, who knows? Hahaha! Not only did they smack, but I would also hear the irritating sound of ‘smack’ ‘smack’ as they engaged in the act.

There is no doubt that you are eager to know the reasons why a baby engages in the act, and if there are any side effects – yes, something can be normal but dangerous.

In this article, we have carefully highlighted all you need to know about baby smacking lips, what it means and how you can come to the aid of your baby if need be. So, without any further delay, let’s get to it and learn something new that will make us better mothers and caregivers.


Common Causes For Baby Smacking Lips

Baby smacking lips is expected, but what could be the cause? As a mother or caregiver, you should interpret any signs your baby gives as a signal to attend to their every need.

Below, we have highlighted all the common causes that could lead to your baby smacking lips. However, you should note that these reasons do not require you to take extreme measures like contacting a medical expert. Once you can sort them out, you and the little one are good to go!

5 Common Reasons Why a Baby Smack Lips

1. The Baby is Hungry

On many occasions, mothers and caregivers are used to their baby’s crying to indicate that they are hungry. Well, that is not the case in all instances. Sometimes, your baby could employ other signals as a way of indicating their hunger – one of the ways is through smacking.

So, the next time you hear your baby smack, consider feeding the baby or look out for signs that indicate that the baby is hungry. Once fed, your baby should stop smacking immediately; the other signs to look out for include:

  • Trying to turn the head clockwise or anti-clockwise
  • Clenching of the fingers into a fist
  • Crying
  • Chewing of the fingers and fist

That said, I always advise nursing mothers and caregivers to try and make sure that they feed babies in time to prevent situations where a baby has to starve and call your attention before they are fed.


2. A Sign the Baby is Teething

Yes, your baby is likely to begin lip smacking once they start teething – this is because the baby is trying to use the lips to scratch the itching gums to ease the pains.

Although teething usually takes effect from 6 to 8 months, the baby has already started feeling the impact of the process when they are about four months of age.

Before making up your mind that the baby is lip smacking as a result of teething concerns, you should look out for the following signs also to be extra sure! Check them out:

  • Redness of the Gum
  • Swelling of the Gum
  • Loss of appetite
  • Desire to chew on anything in sight
  • Drooling

When you notice that the smacking is actually a result of teething, you should provide your baby with a teething ring they can chew on, rather than chewing on items from the floor, which exposes them to the risks of infection.


3. They are Ready for a Diet Change

When you notice that a baby is lip smacking, especially when they watch you eat, it could be a sign that they are ready to start taking solids – or a change in diet. However, as it is with all other signals, watch out for other signs to be entirely sure.

As a rule of thumb, if you notice your little one always reaching out for your ‘adult meals’ and lip smacking in the process, it is a sign that they are ready to start eating what you are eating.

Well, do not make your decision based only on lip smacking. Below are other signs that should convince you that your baby is ready for a diet change or start taking solids.

  • If the baby can sit and remain upright without support
  • Pick and eat finger foods on their own
  • Attempting to chew items in their mouth rather than spit them out

However, it is always safe to first consult your medical adviser before switching your baby’s diet.


4. They are Soothing Themselves to Sleep

There comes a time in every baby’s life where they know that they need to learn to soothe themselves to sleep. One of the ways a baby can put themselves to sleep is by relieving themselves through lip smacking. Sometimes, a baby may resort to lip smacking as a soothing remedy because they are hungry and would instead go to sleep than cry for a meal.

Other signs to look out for before concluding that your baby is trying to use a soothing technique include:

  • When they tug their ear
  • Continuous yawning
  • Repeated sucking on the fingers and lips

Also, the baby may continue smacking their lips even after they have gone deep asleep, so do not be worried as the baby may be dream feeding or soothing themselves through the sleep circle.


5. The Baby is Bored

Babies can quickly get bored, and as time goes on, they will devise means to keep themselves occupied – and happy. Lip smacking is one of the ways a baby can remain engaged. To them, lip smacking and the sound that occurs when they release the lip is fun – they enjoy it.

Signs to look out for before concluding that your baby is lip smacking for fun include:

  • Laughing during the lip smacking process
  • Stopping once distracted or when their attention is diverted
  • Trying to get your attention to play with them

Baby Smacking Lips After Feeding

It is always a cause of concern when you notice a baby smacking lips after feeding. But, yes, there is no reason why they should be doing that after they are fed – right?

From experience, I have noticed that the reasons a baby would continue to lip smack after feeding is either because they are not full or they just want to suckle for comfort – many babies live to do this.

Still hungry? Yes, still hungry. The amount of time you spend breastfeeding a baby doesn’t always correspond with the amount of feed they have had. Think about it, how long does it take you to pump enough milk to fill a feeding bottle? It is normal for nursing mothers to equate the feeding quantity to the time of the feed, but most times, this isn’t the case.

Another reason why a baby may lip smack after feeding is because they are smacking for fun or want to soothe themselves to sleep – which can be a good thing. But you should be cautious to make sure that the baby is not making lip smacking a habit.


Baby Smacking Lips While Sleeping

Let me tell you a little secret, can I? All my babies lip smacked in their sleep. The funny thing is that they make a very horrible sound while they are at it – but what can you do? You don’t have a choice – or do you?

A baby may lip smack while sleeping because they are used to dream feeding, or they enjoy the feel of the nipple in their mouth. One technique I use to control this, is putting my little finger – or their finger, in their mouth to suckle on.

When I do this, I can instantly tell whether I need to feed them or not- yes, while they are asleep! If your baby is not hungry, they will:

  • Push your finger – or food out of their mouth
  • Clench their lips to restrict passage into their mouth
  • Turn their head in an opposite direction
  • Make moves to inform you that they are not interested

But you should know that in a situation where they welcome your finger or feed with open arms, it is a sign that they are hungry – and you should know what to do!



As you have clearly learned from the article, although the occurrence is normal and not harmful to the baby, there are rare occasions where they may result from more severe issues. In such cases, you should waste no time to contact a pediatrician or medical adviser that has examined the baby before.

In many cases – as it was with my kids, lip smacking can quickly become a habit for infants because it allows them to soothe themselves to sleep or gain your attention when they are hungry.

However, you need to be cautious to know when a baby has become too old for the habit. So, you should employ conscious efforts to discourage the act because no one likes to see a grown baby or child smacking as a habit.