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Parents always worry about their little one’s health. Whether it is a cold or a slight cough, they can have several sleepless nights watching over the child, trying remedies and praying their little ones get better soon. But, what can parents do if their babies start fake coughing? Is it normal behaviour, will it fade away or should parents do something to correct it immediately? We shall address all these questions in the article below.
Is Fake Coughing in Babies Normal?
Here’s a fact – babies pretend to cough or sneeze all the time. It is completely normal and is one of the first ways they try to communicate with their parents. Your little one is not able to communicate with words just yet, so the next best option is to make noises like a cough or sneeze. Babies start to do this when they are around six months old. Having said that, if your baby does not fake cough, there isn’t any reason why you should be alarmed. Other than making coughing and sneezing sounds, babies could make gurgling noises or just cry. All of these are different forms of communication that an infant uses. But, what is the kid trying to communicate by fake coughing? Let’s find out the reasons why babies fake cough.
Reasons Behind Baby’s Fake Coughing
Babies could fake cough for one of the following reasons –
1. For Attention
Most of the time, a baby pretends to cough only to get your attention. Babies are extremely smart. Your little munchkin must have figured out that when he or she coughs, you’re all ears, running to check on the baby. Once the baby has established that coughing gains your attention, there’s no stopping him.
2. For Fun
Babies are playful. In fact, the first few years of a baby’s life is pretty much all play. Sometimes, babies cough just for fun. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because all that they do is a fun activity for them.
3. Due to the Salivary Glands
We all know just how much babies drool. This is because their salivary glands get active once they hit two months. Babies don’t really know what to do with all that saliva. Should they spit it? Should they swallow it? They have no clue. So, they do the next best thing – they play with it. With the act of playing comes coughing.
4. Fascination About Sound
Babies can hear way before they are even born. They start to hear when the mother is at the twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth week of pregnancy. Sounds fascinate babies to no extent, which is why several toys for kids come with different noises. In fact, sounds play a huge roll in the development of your little one because babies cannot see very clearly during the first few months after birth. Therefore, they depend a lot on their hearing. Sometimes, babies fake a cough simply because they are fascinated by the sound of the cough.
When Is the Time to Stop Babies from Faking a Cough?
In the first few stages, when a baby starts to fake a cough, you get scared or worried. After you’ve realized that this is normal and that you’re little baby is faking a cough and being a naughty brat, you’ll find it cute. However, there’s only so much fake coughing a parent can take. Also, over time, when your baby gets older, it is important to get over it. You can start by telling your baby to stop the habit by teaching him better ways of communicating, even if it is for attention.
Having said that, you must know when your little one has a real cough and when he is faking one. The next part of the article should help you do that.
How to Differentiate a Real Cough from a Fake Cough in Babies
Now you know that babies, in fact, do fake a cough. But what if your little one is not a boy crying wolf but is really in distress? Here’s how you find out if your infant coughing and gagging is for real and not just a playful tactic to communicate.
- Check your baby’s temperature. Does your baby have a fever? He is probably sick and needs to visit the doctor.
- Does your child have a running nose? If yes, then that is probably an indication that your child has a cold. Most of the time a cold is accompanied by a cough.
- Another reason why your baby could be coughing is if he has a respiratory illness. If your child shows signs of difficulty in breathing, then take him to the doctor.
- If your child has trouble falling asleep, has issues with the bowel movements, and refuses to eat, and all of this is accompanied by coughing, then your baby is probably ill.
- You baby could be choking on something and therefore starts coughing. You must give him abdominal thrusts or get someone who can to get the object or food out of your child’s windpipe immediately.
- Your child could be allergic to something around him that makes him cough. Identify the thing that causes the cough and keep it away. Most of the times, it is a dusty stuffed toy or a pillow that causes allergic coughs.
- Sometimes, acid reflux also hits the throat and cause a cough. Consult a doctor to know if it is the reflux that is the reason for the cough in your child and seek treatment immediately.
While fake coughing is normal in infants, it is always better to be on the safer side. Therefore, look for signs to know if your little one needs medical attention and consult a paediatrician to make sure that your baby is out of danger.