December 24, 2021 4 min read

There is nothing more beautiful than watching your baby's face putting that peaceful smile while sleeping to that mischievous grin when they do something adorable. Their expressions, combined with that soft baby skin, are just perfect for you to stare at them all day long. However, the sight of a big bleeding scratch on your baby's face is very distressing. And then when you get to know that the big bleeding scratch came from their tiny fingernails? Well, it makes you feel terrible as a parent. As new parents, your anxiety relating to your baby scratching their face is understandable. But should you concern yourself and feel guilt for not being a good parent? Let's find out.

It is usual for newborn babies to scratch their faces. The question is -  How to prevent the baby from scratching face? Don't worry; we are here to explain it all. (and offer some tips and tricks along the way). But before we jump to preventive measures, you must understand why babies scratch their faces so that you can take the necessary precautions.

Why babies scratch their faces?

There are several reasons why babies end up scratching their faces; here are some of them –


baby face scratching

     1. Itchiness and skin irritation – 

    As the baby's skin is getting accustomed to life outside the womb, you will probably find that it gets a little dry and flaky. Although this is normal, it often may elicit scratches. More so, if your baby has extra sensitive skin or develops skin conditions like eczema, you may find that their skin is more irritated and ends up being scratched.

    What can you do? – 

    • Determine the triggers and discuss the treatment options with their healthcare provider. 
    • Look into their diet to prevent any skin allergies and start incorporating a good skincare routine for your little one.

    baby face scratching

         2. Startle Reflex-

    Newborn babies do not have control over their bodies. Reflexes control most of their movement. If your newborn is startled by a loud noise or a sudden movement, they may respond in a particular way, such as suddenly stretching their arms and legs, arching their back, following by curling in again. During this time, your baby's hands may jerk towards their face, and they may accidentally scratch themselves. This involuntary response is called the "Startle response," better known as the Moro Reflex. But don't worry, this reflex does not last forever, but only for a few months.

    What can you do?

    You can help your baby in advance by giving them space to stretch themselves each day. This will even help them develop their muscles.


    baby face scratching

         3. Sharp nails of your babies-

    Although babies' nails are tiny, they are fierce. They increase and tend to be sharp like we mentioned above, due to the startle response, or because babies mostly have their hands up near their faces, it's easy for them to scratch their faces accidentally.

    What can you do?

    Keep your babies' nails as short as possible and track their growth frequently. Cutting a baby's fingernails is quite the task and requires a team effort from you and your partner, including lots of patience!


    How to stop baby from scratching face?

    Here are some helpful tips to keep baby from scratching face; take a note all you new parents:


    mitten for baby

         1. Use mittens –

      The baby experiences the startle responses or the Moro reflex during the first few months, which could get them to scratch their face accidentally. So to prevent this, you could try covering their hands with mittens. Instead of getting mittens, one pro tip, you can also use these adorable socks made from cotton material and serve the purpose.


      baby face scratching                 2Swaddle-

      Swaddling means wrapping the baby in a blanket or cloth with the hands tucked inside. When appropriately swaddled, the baby will find it difficult to move the indicators out, thereby preventing the face's scratching. 


      baby face scratching

           3. Treat the dry, flaky, and itch skin-

      Like we mentioned earlier, babies' skin tends to get flaky and dry while trying to adjust to life outside the womb. So you can consider incorporating a good skincare routine that involves moisturizing their skin and trying an anti-itch cream made for baby skin (But first consult their doctor!)


      how to trim babys nail

           4.Trim the nails short

      Like we mentioned earlier, we cannot stress this less, how important it is to trim your babies' nails to prevent them from getting those bleeding scratches on their faces. Babies' nails are tiny but are fierce and also grow faster. So it is best to trim their nails often. While clipping babies' nails are difficult, here's a  safe electric nail clipper that gently cuts the nails without hurting their delicate fingers. It is essential in the baby care kit.


           5. Understand their emotional cues and take a note-

      When a baby feels distraught or unhappy, he/she is more likely to swing their arms and legs in the air. As a result, they may accidentally scratch their face; it is a coping mechanism babies use to feel frustrated. So look out for the signs that trigger them and take a note. For instance, if you see your baby hungry, feed them immediately before it gets them upset. Just spend more time with your little one and keep a close eye on him.

      The Bottom Line

      Scratches on your baby's face are quite scary. You may even wonder if those scratches could leave a permanent scar on their face. But know that those scratches are superficial and unlikely for it to leave a spot on their face. 

      All you have to do is keep a close eye on your baby and note the above tips. If they somehow manage to get a scratch two despite the above precautions, clean the wound and keep an eye on the scratch 

      and remember, those won't leave a permanent scar.


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