Yawning in Babies- Causes and Tips To Control

5 min read

Have you noticed how cute your baby looks when they open their tiny mouths for a big yawn that just doesn’t end? While you are drawn towards those tiny little noses and clenched fists, but is this normal? Is yawning common among infants?

We adults yawn when we are tired or sleep-deprived. It is our body’s natural response to fatigue or a dip in the intake of oxygen. So, what does it mean when your tiny baby yawns frequently? Come, let’s find out!

Yawning in Babies

Yawning in Babies – Why Does it Happen?

Yawning is a body’s natural response to fatigue and tiredness. A baby might yawn just after a nap or as they get tired and are ready to doze off.

In adults, yawning has been linked to boredom as well. When an adult gets bored, they tend to a shallow breath. This results in yawning to increase the oxygen intake for the body. However, this has not been linked to babies yawning.

Normal Frequency of Yawning in Babies

Babies develop the tendency to yawn when they are in the womb itself. Studies show that a fetus as young as 12 weeks can show signs of yawning. The frequency tends to decrease towards the end of pregnancy (around 40 weeks). This is why you may notice a preterm baby yawn more than a full-term baby. The yawns will slowly decrease as they touch the 40 weeks mark.

Meanwhile, in a British study, it was found that babies in the age group of 6-34 months yawned about twice an hour. These were mostly after they woke up in the morning or after a nap. To know the sleep pattern of a baby of 6 to 9 months click here.

Is Yawning in Babies Contagious?

In a room full of adults, if a person were to yawn loudly, others would follow suit. Yawning is contagious, though the reason is still unclear.

However, this responsive yawning has been noticed only in adults. Babies and young children are rarely affected by seeing someone yawn. It is believed that this contagious behavior is developed at a later stage. However, spontaneous yawning is developed right in the womb.

Causes for Excessive Yawning in Babies

sleepy baby-cause of yawning

Have you noticed your baby yawning too frequently, even after getting enough sleep? Some of the possible reasons for this could be:

1. Sleep

Is it time for a nap? Is it beyond their bedtime? Try responding by putting them down for a nap.

2. Waking Up

If they have just woken up from a long nap, their brain might be requiring more oxygen to start functioning properly.

3. Fatigue

If your baby has crossed or missed a nap, they could be overly tired. When the body is tired, it is believed to derive more oxygen by yawning.

4. Heart Disease

In rare cases, excessive yawning in babies can indicate a heart condition. You need to consult your doctor about this.

5. Hunger

If your baby is hungry or has not received sufficient nutrition from their foods, the body could be craving more energy. This leads to fatigue and thus yawning.

6. Medication

If the mother has been on any medication during pregnancy, then the baby could be yawning as a sign of withdrawal effects.

7. Temperature

Some believe the temperature of the body can cause the baby to yawn. This helps to regulate the temperature.

Does Excessive Yawning in Babies Indicate a Serious Problem?

Though yawning is a natural response, excessive yawning can be a cause for concern. Especially when it is a tiny baby who has all the time in the world to sleep.

Therefore, a professional doctor will be able to ascertain if there is something to worry about or if it’s just a phase.

How Can You Control Excessive Yawning in Infants?

baby sleep in crib

Some of the ways you can try to reduce the excessive yawning in your baby are:

  1. Advance their nap or bedtime by a few minutes, to prevent them from getting over-tired.
  2. Try increasing their food intake or switching their diet to a more nutritious one. Read here to know some superfood you can introduce to your baby.
  3. Give them some quiet time after they wake up.
  4. Reduce highly stimulating activities when you see sleep cues.
  5. Check with your doctor to rule out any heart conditions or other serious health issues.
  6. Give them a nice massage and put them to bed, to help them get some deep sleep. This will make them feel well-rested when they wake up. Read here to know the easy tips to help your baby sleep well.
  7.  Give them interesting toys to play with to cut out boredom.
  8. Try playing some energetic music or taking them out for a walk. This can change their focus.
  9. If you are force-feeding to help them gain weight, then try reducing replacing solids with more nutritious foods. This might help reduce their lethargy after a meal.

Yawning is very natural and every human being does it right from the start. So, if your baby is yawning all the time, it is a strong indication that something is wrong. Be patient in your attempts to change their sleep schedules as there will be a lot of pushback. Consulting a doctor for assurance is never wrong!

FAQ’s

1. How do I Know if My Baby is Yawning More Than Average?

If your baby is yawning more than 2-3 times every hour, then it is more than the general average, and definitely needs to be analyzed further.

2. What Can I do if My Baby is Continuously Yawning and Not Responding to My Attempts to Stop the Yawns?

Move your baby to a different environment to pique their interest. You could take them for a walk or just watch out from the window.

3. What if My Baby Refuses their Nap but Starts Yawning Hours Before Bedtime?

Babies go through sleep regressions as they grow. Your baby might be resisting nap time as they are ready to drop the nap. Try advancing their bedtime to reduce the “awake window”.

Read Also: When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night?

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