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Why do babies drool?

Somewhere around the time Baby was 2 to 4 months old, you may have noticed him start to drool. If not, you still may have noticed some of the other kids in his peer group did, even if Baby didn’t.

Neither of those is a problem.

Babies who drool do so because their salivary glands have started producing the enzymes that will help them process solid food, in anticipation of weaning. Around this time, they also start to learn to chew, which can stimulate saliva production even more. Later, when Baby is teething, he may drool even more

This doesn’t mean that babies who aren’t drooling aren’t producing the same increased rate of saliva, it’s just that they’re swallowing it. Basically, babies who drool are still figuring out how to do something new with their mouths.

Teething

Teething is what many parents first think of when their babies begin to drool, but most babies who drool start drooling months before they start teething. However, drooling may increase after teething starts, especially if Baby begins chewing on things to relieve teething pain, since the chewing motion stimulates saliva production.

Health Concerns

If your child starts to drool a lot more than usual suddenly, is unable to swallow his own saliva and starts to choke, or has trouble swallowing liquids, contact your healthcare provider immediately. The main concern if you think Baby’s drooling is excessive is that he may be having developmental problems with swallowing. If that is the problem, though, you will most likely have also noticed him having trouble swallowing while eating. Other health problems that might cause drooling include nausea, mouth sores, sore throat, or infections. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to ask Baby‘s pediatrician.

The main consequences of Baby‘s drool are dryness and rashes on his face and chest. To treat this rash associated with drooling, rinse Baby‘s face, pat dry, and spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly over it to provide a barrier between drool and skin.

Drool may not be your favorite of Baby’s habits, but it is normal and fairly harmless, and it’s something he will grow out of all on his own.


Sources
  • “Drooling and your baby.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, February 26 2016. Retrieved October 25 2017. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/Drooling-and-Your-Baby.aspx.
  • “Your Baby at 2 Months.” UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. The Regents of the University of California. Retrieved October 25 2017. https://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/education/your_baby_at_2_months/. 
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