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 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.
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.
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.
Have you noticed your baby yawning too frequently, even after getting enough sleep? Some of the possible reasons for this could be:
Is it time for a nap? Is it beyond their bedtime? Try responding by putting them down for a nap.
If they have just woken up from a long nap, their brain might be requiring more oxygen to start functioning properly.
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.
In rare cases, excessive yawning in babies can indicate a heart condition. You need to consult your doctor about this.
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.
If the mother has been on any medication during pregnancy, then the baby could be yawning as a sign of withdrawal effects.
Some believe the temperature of the body can cause the baby to yawn. This helps to regulate the temperature.
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.
Some of the ways you can try to reduce the excessive yawning in your baby are:
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!
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.
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.
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?