Newborn Sticking Out Tongue: Why They Do It & When To Worry

Your new addition may display some charming quirks, but you may not always understand their motives.

This can leave parents worried that something is wrong with their child when, in fact, everything is perfectly normal.

It is normal for a newborn to stick out his tongue. It can be a sign of fullness or hunger or an instinctive reflex that helps him latch onto the bottle or breast. It might also be exploratory behavior or even gas pains. In certain cases, there might be a medical issue, but this is rare.

Your baby sticks his tongue out for different reasons at different stages of life. The more you understand the why, the more you will understand about this silly process.

Newborn Sticking Out Tongue – Why & What To Know

Most of the time, your baby sticking out her tongue is just a sign that she’s hungry or exploring. However, it can mean other things are going on that your baby doesn’t have the words to explain yet.

Tongue Flex Reflex

Babies are born with a tongue flex, or tongue thrust, reflex. This helps them push their tongue out when they are breast or bottle-feeding in a way that keeps them from choking.

It also makes it easier for them to latch onto the nipple. 

Sign of Hunger or Full Tummy

Your baby may also stick their tongue out when they are full and ready to stop nursing or taking the bottle.

This is their way of pushing away what they are being fed since they can’t simply say they are full.

Imitative or Exploratory Behavior

Newborns are curious. They may stick out their tongue because it feels different or allows them to explore the outside of their mouths.

They may also do it because they are imitating something they saw you or a sibling do. This behavior can just be for fun or play.

Gas Pains

A tongue jutting out of your baby’s mouth may simply be a warning that they are trying to release a big toot. It may also mean they are in pain and having trouble moving gas.

You can assist them by burping them or moving their legs gently to help release gas pockets.

Medical Condition

In very rare circumstances, a medical condition will cause your child to stick their tongue out more than usual. Though not common, here are some medical problems that can cause this:

Down’s Syndrome

A child with Down’s Syndrome sometimes can’t close his mouth properly, and this will lead to his tongue sticking out most of the time.

Though this usually improves with age, it is common for young children with Down’s.

Oral Cancer

Though very rare, your child’s tongue may stick out of their mouth because they have a cancerous mass inside their mouth. Your doctor can check for this and advise you on the steps forward.

DiGeorge Syndrome

Chromosomal abnormalities cause DiGeorge syndrome, and these abnormalities often change the facial features of people with the condition.

A child with DiGeorge likely won’t be able to put their tongue in their mouth all the time, and they may also have a cleft palate.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can cause twitching and muscle tightness that makes it hard for children to keep their tongues in their mouths. Feeding tubes may be offered to help your child when they are young.

Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome

Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome causes a child’s tongue to be too large, and this can make it hard for them to breathe if they keep it in their mouth.

Surgery is often done to reduce the size of a child’s tongue when they have this condition.

Pierre Robin Syndrome

A child’s tongue will be in the wrong position when they have Pierre Robin syndrome. Their jaw will also not be developed the way it should be, and this can cause them to stick their tongue out often. 

A young baby with his mouth open and tongue showing.

When To Worry

If your child is sticking their tongue out often or drooling tons when they do, this could be cause for concern.

Some babies have trouble keeping their tongues in their mouths at all, and they may experience breathing issues when they try. These are all reasons to contact your doctor.

When To Expect It To Stop

Many babies stop sticking their tongues out as much between the age of 4 and 6 months. This enables them to try solid foods without using their tongue to push the food back out of their mouths.

However, every child is different. Some may have the tongue thrust reflex longer, and that can be perfectly normal as well.

Baby Sticking Tongue Out at 2 Months

Your child will likely be sticking his tongue out at 2 months of age. This is due to the tongue-thrusting reflex. It’s perfectly normal and expected at this age.

Baby Sticking Tongue Out at 9 Months

If your child is sticking out her tongue at 9 months old, it’s not necessarily cause for alarm. It could be that your child is teething and sticking out her tongue feels good on her gums.

It can also be exploring behavior that your child thinks is fun. They may also like the reaction they get from others when they stick out their tongue.

Related Questions: 

Why Does My Baby Keep Sticking His Tongue Out and Licking?

Teething is likely the culprit if your child is sticking his tongue out and licking. He may be trying to massage sore gums.

It also may just be playful behavior, and babies do love to use their tongues and mouths to explore the new things in their world. That’s why you have to keep choking hazards out of their reach.

What Does It Mean When Newborn Sticks Tongue Out After Feeding?

A baby sticking their tongue out after feeding may be their way of saying they are full. However, if they are sticking their tongue out and still seeking the nipple, they may want more food.

It can also mean they are gassy. Look for the other signs that occur with the tongue thrusting to figure out what your baby needs.

Final Thoughts

It is really cute to see your newborn’s tongue peeking out of their mouth, and it is almost always a normal reflex or reaction.

Try to relax and enjoy this newborn behavior because it likely won’t last long and all too soon will be a distant memory.