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An infant goes through numerous developmental milestones that his parents anticipate and celebrate. Some of them such as rolling over, crawling or even talking are well known but there are some milestones that are not very common. A lesser-known one, perhaps, is blowing raspberries. Here, we discuss the meaning of this relatively underrated milestone, also known as ‘razzies’ or spit bubbles.
What Is Meant By Blowing Raspberries?
The giggle-inducing bubbling sound that infants make with their lips and tongue is known as blowing raspberries or ‘razzies’. Blowing raspberries creates a funny noise akin to a motor humming. It happens when a baby blows bubbles from the mouth. This is hilarious to watch and produces an overload of oxytocin for mother and child as they bond, but it is also a significant development and antecedent to the language capabilities of the baby.
When Do Babies Start Blowing Raspberries?
Babies start blowing bubbles as early as two months of age. And when a 2-month-old baby starts blowing bubbles, it is a sign that he is experimenting with his mouth, which is a precursor to speech development. And although babies begin blowing bubbles around two months of age, the true razzies begin at around five months. By the sixth month, your little one will blow bubbles, making raspberry sounds and drooling.
Why Do Babies Blow Bubbles?
Blowing spit bubbles helps prepare the baby for future developmental milestones like chewing, drinking, and talking, all of which are essential for his survival. An increase in the production of saliva from 3 to 6 months also helps the baby prepare for the arrival of his first tooth.
How Does Blowing Raspberries Benefit a Baby?
When a baby blows raspberries, he may make funny noises and may strain his facial muscles while concentrating. This helps him develop control on his tongue, lip, and cheeks simultaneously.
1. Facial Muscle Workout
Blowing bubbles and raspberries helps the baby exercise the muscles needed for independent lip movement, separate from the jaw and tongue. It also improves the lip tension required later to seal a cup while drinking water and other liquids.
Blowing bubbles also help in the language development and speaking abilities of the baby. The babbling begins to sound like distinct letters of the alphabet like m, d, a.
3. Helps in Teething
When a baby blows bubbles, it also helps in teething. The excess saliva produced when a baby blows bubbles helps soften the gums, thus preparing them for the arrival of the first tooth.
How Can Parents Encourage It?
Blowing raspberries is a small yet crucial milestone. If your baby blows raspberries, you should encourage this behaviour as it will help develop speech and language acquisition skills in him. Here is what you can do to encourage him:
- Imitate every little sound that your child makes. Be conversational with your child. Try adding new sounds to the conversation and pause to see if the baby mimics you.
- Sing to your infant and bring in variation to the pitch and tone of words. Sing fast and then go slow. Try a few words loudly and then go into a soft whisper.
- Help your baby make a rolling sound by rubbing your finger on his tiny lips.
- Gently blow raspberries on the baby’s arm or belly to help him understand how it is done.
- Sing along to familiar songs and let your baby watch your lips as they move.
- Pretend-play with the baby and make him use toy phones to help him babble or talk.
- Engage the baby’s sound and sight skills for better understanding.Recite rhymes that involve hand movements while singing.
- Most importantly, let your child hear your voice all the time. Talk to him as often as possible to help him develop his facial muscle strength.
When to Consult a Doctor
Babies most likely learn to laugh, coo, and turn towards sounds before they attempt to blow bubbles or babble. Most infants blow raspberries by the age of 5 months. If your baby doesn’t blow raspberries by this age, you don’t need to panic. Some babies skip the raspberry stage altogether, but they make sounds with their lips and mouths – and this is a good sign. However, if your baby doesn’t show any sign of blowing bubbles by eight months of age, consult a paediatrician. The doctor will be able to look for signs of speech delay or underlying neurological problems in your baby and may suggest a treatment for the same.
Blowing raspberries is an important developmental milestone. When your baby blows bubbles, you may not expect it and might discourage it – considering it a bad habit, but don’t. Spit bubbles are actually a workout for your little one’s mouth. So encourage him to blow raspberries and enjoy the raspberry-blowing phase by blowing back at your child, giggling with him, smiling at his smile, and by having a wonderful time together.
Also Read: Baby Sitting Milestone