Why Your Baby Rubs Their Face On You, According To Science

Let's face it, babies do some weird things sometimes. Often, these odd behaviors can be attributed to just plain personality quirks and preferences. But, a lot of the time, there's a reason why babies act a certain way or engage in some seemingly strange behaviors. Newborns, particularly, can produce some head-scratchers, like explosive bowel movements, crying in their sleep, or rubbing themselves on everything. As your little one rubs herself all over you once again, you might wonder, "why does my baby rub their face on me?" As it turns out, there could be a couple of reasons.

The most probable reason your little babe is rubbing her face on you is because of a reflex all newborns have called a rooting reflex, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This "rooting" helps her find the nipple when it's time for her to eat. As the AAP mentioned, when your baby is rooting, she may rub her head from side to side on your body to signal she is hungry and looking for a nipple.

As Stanford Children's Health mentioned, reflexes are involuntary movements or actions — some are spontaneous, and others are responses to certain actions. Most reflexes occur only in specific periods of development.

Another reason your newborn or older baby might be rubbing their face on you is to signal that they're tired or ready for bed. According to Parenting, babies tend to rub their eyes or ears when they begin to tire. If they combine that with snuggling into you or a lovey or stuffed animal, this could mean that they're ready for some sleep. As CNN mentioned, this behavior is similar to adults, as adults tend to rub their eyes or faces when they're exhausted, as well.

If your babe is rubbing her face on you, there might be a good reason. Whether she's hungry or tired, her rubbing behavior might actually clue you in to just what she needs at that time. (Even if it does feel like a baby goat butting you with her sweet head.)