Babies Stick Their Tongue Out – Should You Worry?

Babies Stick Their Tongue Out – Should You Worry?

As parents, it’s no secret that we tend to overanalyze every little thing our newborns do. From the way they sleep to the way they cry, we often find ourselves googling late into the night trying to decipher their behaviour. But one particular action that seems to have us stumped is when babies sticking their tongue in and out repeatedly.

You might be wondering, “What’s the deal with all this tongue-sticking-out business?” Well, fear not, new parents – this behaviour is actually quite common and typically nothing to worry about.

In fact, sticking the tongue out is one of the many ways babies explore the world around them. They do it to help develop their oral motor skills, which will eventually lead to their ability to suck, swallow, and speak. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s also pretty adorable to watch.

That being said, there are a few instances where excessive tongue-sticking-out might warrant a closer look. If your baby seems to be doing it nonstop, appears to be in discomfort, or is experiencing trouble feeding, it’s worth bringing up to your pediatrician.

But for the most part, rest assured that your little one is just doing what babies do best – exploring their environment and figuring out how their bodies work. So the next time your baby sticks their tongue out, enjoy the cuteness overload and know that it’s all a part of their natural development.


Is Sticking Tongue Out a Normal Part of Child Development?

Sticking the tongue out is a natural gesture for babies and is known as the thrust reflex. Tongue protrusion happens when the tongue goes beyond the border of the lips. It is a kind of muscle reaction that takes place in reply to a simulation. This can also be a signal for babies to show they are hungry.

It helps kids to latch properly while feeding. As they grow up, they realize that they can communicate through other means. The sucking reflex disappears within 46 months of a baby’s birth. Babies don’t have control over their body movements; thus, they can convey their requirements through tongue movement.

Why Do Babies Stick Their Tongue Out?

There are numerous reasons for babies to stick their tongue out. Let us understand the reasons behind their tongue movement:

1. Copying the Elders

Babies tend to imitate their elders. Whether you are trying to give a pose while clicking a selfie or just playfully removing your tongue out of the mouth, the babies will memorize the pose and do the same number of times. They do so out of fun and let us know about their understanding.

2. Communicating Their Needs

Babies, while sticking their tongues out, convey their hunger to their mothers. They also do so to convey to their mothers to discontinue feeding them further. Infant sticking tongue out during 3 months want us to know that they are hungry.

3. Normal Gesture

It can occur due to normal sucking reflexes in babies. Sucking and gag reflex is an infant reflex that causes the baby to remove their tongue from their mouth. This kind of reflex helps soothe the area near their mouth. Babies move their tongues and lips in expectation of suckling. They tend to show gag reflex whenever the back of the throat or mouth analyses a solid object near their mouth. Babies don’t clog any object in their mouth due to this gag reflex. The tongue removes the object out of their mouth.

4. Only Liquid Food

While feeding babies with semi-solid food, they stick their tongue out of the mouth. It could be that the baby isn’t ready for solid and semi-solid foods yet. Once they can swallow the food and push their tongue above the palate, they will stop doing the same. Feeding babies with solid food is a new milestone in parents’ and babies’ lives. Therefore, while there is some restraint from babies initially, they gradually become habitual to the food and eat it comfortably.

5. Congestion in Nose

Babies often breathe through their mouths when their noses are congested, causing their tongues to stick out. They find normal breathing difficult during cold, cough, allergies, adenoids, or inflamed tonsils.

Babies also stick their tongues out naturally when they tend to choke on something, where thrusting the tongue out is a reflex. The same thing happens with babies as well. If anything is stuck in your baby’s mouth that is not big enough to swallow, they tend to stick their tongue out.

6. Gas Problems

Babies usually suffer from gastro problems since they have only milk as food. This causes pain in their stomach which makes them uneasy. Due to this, some babies may stick their tongues out.

7. Macroglossia

When the number of tissues in a baby’s tongue increases, it is called Macroglossia. This condition makes the tongue stick out since the enlarged tongue can’t fit in the mouth. An enlarged tongue can occur from birth, or it can develop gradually over time. This abnormality can be for many reasons, such as acromegaly (growth hormone increment), Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, mucopolysaccharides, and congenital hypothyroidism (inadequate thyroid hormone).

The build-up of elements such as glycogen and amyloid from the body in the tongue is observed in glycogen and amyloidosis storage diseases. The large tongue may occur due to tumors or any injury. It may be inherited genetically. The large tongue makes it difficult for the baby to keep it inside the mouth, and hence it comes out of the mouth.

8. Micrognathia

In Micrognathia, babies have small chins and jaws, resulting in difficulty containing the tongue inside their small mouths. This condition disappears with time as the size of the mouth increases and the face muscles develop. Cleft palate and Down syndrome like trisomy 13, trisomy 18, Pierre Robin syndrome, etc., are the reasons for micrognathia. Muscles around the lower jaw aren’t well developed, resulting in the sucked chin. DiGeorge syndrome is another condition where the small-mouth condition is observed.

9. Hypotonia

It is a low muscle tone disorder that affects the development of each muscle in the body, including the tongue. We hold our tongue back in the mouth, which reduces the space occupancy of the tongue in the mouth. Without the tone, the tongue will rest in a completely relaxed state and stick out of the mouth. Rett syndrome, Prader-Willi, and many other down syndromes show hypotonia.

10. Cysts Growth

Extra mass growth around the tongue forces the tongue to stick out. Thyroglossal duct cysts are formed near salivary glands. These cysts appear and vanish on their own without any treatment.

11. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

Thrusting of the tongue is one of the general types of orofacial myofunctional disorder. If the tongue sticks out due to an OMD, it is an abnormal tongue position while in a relaxing state. Hereditary reasons, congenital problems, and thumb-sucking habits for a long duration can lead to the development of this disorder.

12. Baby Sticking Tongue Out After Feeding

You will commonly find a baby sticking tongue out after feeding to convey they are full and don’t want to eat anymore. You should observe your baby’s body language to understand whether they are full or want to feed more.

When Do Babies Stop Sticking Their Tongue Out?

You know that classic move when newborns stick their tongue out like they’re trying to catch a fly? Well, it’s cute and all, but when can we expect them to quit it? As much as we love those little tongues, it can start to feel a bit odd when your baby keeps sticking it out well into toddlerhood.

Fear not, fellow parent! While it can vary from baby to baby, most infants stop sticking their tongue out constantly around 4 to 6 months old. So if you’re still getting repeated tongue sticking out antics from your little one after that, just remember that they’re all unique and will reach milestones at their own pace. Until then, enjoy the silly faces and try not to get too tongue-tied!

When Should You Not Get Worried About Baby’s Sticking Tongue Out?

Let’s face it, as new parents, we worry about everything. From the color of our baby’s poop to the number of burps they produce per feeding, it can be overwhelming. So, when it comes to your newborn’s tongue sticks out, it’s natural to wonder if something is wrong. But don’t fret, my friend! There are many reasons why babies stick their tongue out, or even when a baby keeps sticking tongue out and most of them are completely normal.

First off, it’s important to remember that newborns are still learning how to control their movements. This means that sticking their tongue out is just another way for them to explore their environment. Additionally, some babies may stick their tongue out to soothe themselves or because they’re hungry. So unless your baby’s sticking their tongue out is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, like trouble feeding or breathing, there’s likely no need to worry. Just enjoy the show and capture those adorable moments on camera!

When to See a Doctor?

When to See a Doctor?

Teething can also cause your baby to stick their tongue out at 6 months. Teething causes redness and swelling, thus causing discomfort to babies. While teething is a considerably normal reason, there are instances when you need to consult a doctor. Some of these instances include:

  • Sticking tongue out is a completely normal thing until it continues up to normal time. It is a natural reflex that makes your newborn comfortable in this new world. But if it continues beyond normal or if you start observing other symptoms along with tongue extrusion, you should visit the pediatrician for further consultation.
  • The proper consultation will enable you to resolve the problems early without making them an acute burden for your baby. Early treatment will enable you to avoid developing future issues in your baby’s life.
  • If you observe mouth breathing most of the time, it can indicate Down’s syndrome. It can occur due to hypotonia or poor musculoskeletal control, resulting in an open mouth and tongue sticking out.
  • Most of the time, infants continue the habit of sticking their tongues out and don’t stop even after the normal reflex is resolved. Although they don’t suffer from the above problems, sticking tongues out becomes a habit for many kids. This can be resolved with the help of a speech therapist. You can take up speech or physical therapy once your baby is 6 months old and the doctor has observed no serious health conditions.

Baby sticking tongue out at 6 months can be an adorable gesture for everyone to enjoy. As a parent, it is always challenging and pleasing to understand your baby’s behavior. But once you understand, it will be the world’s best experience anyone can get. Try to enjoy your baby’s little movements, expressions, and gestures without worrying much. Babies try to imitate the facial expressions of people they see around them. If you see a baby’s tongue out all the time, it can turn out to be an issue of stress that you can resolve by visiting a pediatrician at an early stage.


1. Do Down Syndrome Infants Stick Their Tongue Out?

Yes, babies with Down syndrome have small mouths and enlarged tongues, resulting in difficulty holding their tongue back in the mouth. However, only sticking the tongue out should not be considered a factor in diagnosing Down syndrome in babies. Other symptoms will also be accompanied by protruding the tongue to confirm Down syndrome in babies.

2. Can Sticking Tongue Out Indicate Teething In Babies?

Sometimes, yes. Your 6-month old baby might stick the tongue out because of the discomfort caused by the redness and swelling of teething. They try to lower the pain of teething by sticking their tongue on their germs. You will also find excessive drooling, taking things in the mouth, red and swollen gums, and irritating behavior by babies while they experience the stage of teething.

3. Is Sticking Tongue Out Related to Autism?

Autism is a kind of development issue that can be identified with lacking interaction and communication with people. You will also find repetitive and restrictive behavior. Tongue protrusion cannot be considered the only symptom of Autism. You should also look out for other symptoms to confirm the occurrence of Autism in your baby. Visit your doctor to identify the disorder.

Also Read:

Tongue-Tie in Newborns
How to Clean Baby’s Tongue
Babies Chewing their Tongue

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