Most parents agree babies are precious but may find the sweet baby they love to hold and snuggle disenchanting as drool becomes a dominant force. If you find your shirt drenched every time your baby snuggles with you, take heart; he is probably going through a phase that will end as soon as he is done teething or soon after his digestive system develops a bit more.
Immature Muscle Control
Unlike adults and older children, babies do not have the gross motor skills to control their mouths completely, so your baby naturally may spit out the saliva produced in her mouth. Her drooling may simply be the result of not having the muscle control to swallow the saliva produced. The only time you need to worry about this is when your baby seems to be uncomfortable. If your baby spits up and vomits or cries, she may have digestive problems and you may need to contact your pediatrician for further evaluation.
Sometimes excessive slobber or drooling may be a sign of a viral infection or other illness. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions parents to look for croup in children that have symptoms including a barking cough and excess drooling. When left untreated, croup can make breathing nearly impossible. Some children are likely to develop croup whenever a respiratory illness like the common cold pops up. Keep an eye on excessive drooling or coughing and contact your baby’s pediatrician if you suspect croup.
Nearly all babies slobber as they begin developing teeth. This can start as early as 3 months, although some babies do not begin developing teeth until between 4 and 7 months old. Your baby may put her hands or other objects in her mouth to ease the discomfort of teething. Gnawing on anything will cause excess saliva production -- hence, more slobber on his face. This phase is temporary and will disappear after your baby’s teeth fully develop.
Slobber is normal but can cause skin irritation if left on your baby’s skin for too long. To prevent this, keep a clean cloth readily available to dry your baby’s chin and mouth. You can also use this to clean up any drool that makes its way to your shirt. Keeping an extra cool or iced washcloth handy and allowing your baby to chew on it for awhile may help ease any discomfort your baby is feeling in her gums while teething.
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