Why Is My Baby Sucking Their Bottom Lip?

Babies suck on their lower lips for a variety of reasons. They may be hungry, teething, bored, or self-soothing. In most cases, this isn’t an issue unless your child continues the behavior past three. To help with irritation, you can apply a baby-safe, unscented balm around your child’s lips.

Any time your baby starts a new behavior or habit, it’s natural to want to know what it means and whether it’s okay.

Babies change a lot and pick up new practices frequently. Parents don’t always know what these things mean.

Most of the time, these behaviors aren’t something you need to be concerned about, but it’s nice to know what’s going on with your baby.

One thing you might notice your baby doing is sucking on their bottom lip, which is pretty common.

There are several reasons your baby might be doing this, and it’s essential to keep an eye on the behavior and know what’s causing it.

How to Know If Your Baby Is Sucking Their Bottom Lip

One obvious way to know if your baby sucks their lip is by seeing them do it. Parents don’t always notice their baby sucking their lower lip, though.

This is because babies often suck their lips when they are sleeping, so you may be missing it every time they do it

However, you might notice other signs that they do this. For example, your baby may have chapped lips, especially to the skin around your baby’s lower lip.

In some cases, babies may have bruising or blisters on their lips from frequent occurrences.

5 Reasons Baby May Suck Their Lower Lip

It’s helpful to figure out why your baby might be sucking their lower lip. This will allow you to put an end to the behavior if needed.

Here are some of the reasons your baby might be sucking their lower lip.

1. Comfort

Some babies begin sucking their lower lip while in the womb. This can be comforting both inside and outside of the womb.

Because they may have started this habit prenatally, it could be why your baby is continuing the behavior.

Babies that suck their lower lip in the womb typically do it from the time they are newborns.

2. Teething

When babies are teething, they may suck their lower lip to self-soothe. It can also be a distraction from the discomfort of teething.

Your baby might also suck on their bottom lip to get used to the feeling of their teeth.

Since the bottom teeth generally come in first, your baby could be figuring out what their teeth are. Babies start teething at three to six months of age.

3. Soothing

While babies may soothe themselves by sucking their lip while teething, they can self-soothe at other times as well.

They might suck their lower lip when they are upset or during a time of transition.

Sucking on their lower lip gives them a similar feeling to a bottle nipple or a pacifier.

4. Hunger

Some babies don’t cry often. Your baby sucking on their lip could be an early sign of hunger, and they’re trying to let you know so you can feed them.

5. Sensory Development

As babies learn about the world around them, they may suck on their lower lips. Babies’ mouths are essential to sensory development.

Babies can learn how to use their lips before they learn how to use their hands or feet. Plus, your baby’s lips will allow them to coo and eat.

Babies playing with their lips and mouth is an essential step in other parts of meeting their developmental milestones.

At What Age Do Babies Suck Their Bottom Lip?

Babies can suck their lips at any age. Depending on how old your baby is, they may start sucking their lip for various reasons.

This typically happens if your baby hasn’t been sucking their bottom lip since they were in the womb or a newborn.

For example, at around three months, your baby is starting to get their first teeth. As teething continues, so will the behavior.

At around six months, your baby will start eating solid foods. As your baby continues to try more solid foods, they may begin sucking on their bottom lip to practice eating.

At around nine months, your baby might begin sucking on their bottom lip to practice talking. They might also start biting their lip at this time.

Tips for Soothing Irritated Lips

If your baby is sucking their lower lip often, their lips may be irritated. The degree of irritation can vary from chapped lips to blisters or bruises.

You want to help soothe your baby’s irritated lips to minimize the pain that they’re in. You will want to limit how often your baby is sucking their lower lip.

In the meantime, you can focus on the irritation.

Select an Unflavored and Unscented Balm

You will need to find some balm that’s safe for babies to consume. After you apply the balm, your baby will likely continue to suck on their lower lip.

It’s important to choose a balm that isn’t flavored. You don’t want your baby to like the flavor and continue licking or sucking their lips.

Coconut oil is a natural water barrier, which means it will keep the saliva off your baby’s skin.

Lip balm can work too. You can apply this all-around your baby’s lips, even if they don’t suck on their upper lip.

You can also talk to your baby’s pediatrician for additional recommendations. Your baby’s pediatrician should be familiar with this issue and may know of a balm that could help.

The pediatrician may offer other advice for soothing irritated lips or for stopping the behavior altogether.

5 Tips to Help Stop Your Baby Sucking on Their Lip

While soothing your baby’s irritated lips is helpful, you want to take care of the root cause too. You can continue to soothe the irritation while working on stopping the behavior. Your baby sucking on their lower lip is an entirely normal behavior. It’s not a problem until your child gets a little bit older and doesn’t grow out of it.

By knowing why your baby is sucking on their lip, you can begin to offer alternatives.

1. Try Teething Rings

If your baby is sucking their bottom lip when they start teething, you can offer them a teething ring. Some babies like chilled teething toys to soothe their gums. You might apply a teething gel or ointment to your baby’s gums to ease the discomfort.

2. Fixing Boredom

If your baby is sucking on their lower lip as a distraction or from boredom, you can offer an alternative. You can give them a toy to keep them occupied.

3. Self Soothing

If your baby is sucking on their lower lip as a way to self-soothe, you can offer a pacifier. Older babies might mimic your lip movements if you show them different ways to move them. These can be alternatives to sucking on their lips and will not cause any issues.

4. Is Your Baby is Hungry?

If your baby is sucking on their lower lip to tell you they’re hungry, try to feed them. It’s okay to do this, even if it’s not your baby’s typical feeding time. You can then feed them more often or at different times. Some babies are hungry more often when they are going through a growth spurt.

5. Try Not to Get Frustrated

You shouldn’t yell at your baby or get mad at them for sucking their lip. Babies are unaware of what they’re doing, and they will only get nervous if you get upset with them. Stay calm and try one of the strategies listed above. If none of those strategies works for your baby, you should talk to your baby’s pediatrician for additional suggestions.

When to Worry

The behavior itself isn’t something to worry about, especially if your baby only does it when they are young.

As mentioned, there are many different reasons your baby can be sucking on their lower lip. There are ways to soothe irritated lips and stop the behavior too.

If your child still sucks their lower lip when they are three years old or older, try to take action. At this point, your child should grow out of the behavior.

It’s a good idea to consult your child’s doctor if your child still sucks on their lower lip after trying those methods. Plus, your child’s pediatrician can tell you how serious the behavior is and how best to handle your child’s particular situation.

You should also talk to the pediatrician if your child develops blisters that don’t heal. If your child is serious about sucking on their lip and gets blisters, the blisters could get infected.