How to Stop Baby Rubbing Face at Night

Babies rubbing their faces at night can be a common concern for many parents. While it may seem harmless, excessive face rubbing can disrupt their sleep and even lead to skin irritation.

How to Stop Baby Rubbing Face at Night

Understanding the reasons behind this behavior and implementing effective strategies to stop it can help create a more restful night for both baby and parent.

In this article, we will explore various methods on how to stop baby rubbing face at night. From addressing potential underlying causes such as discomfort or allergies to implementing gentle techniques like swaddling, introducing a lovey, or adjusting sleep environment, we will provide you with practical tips and guidance to help your baby sleep more peacefully and minimize face rubbing. Get ready to say goodbye to those sleepless nights and welcome a more serene bedtime routine for your little one.

Acknowledging the Common Issue of Babies Rubbing Their Faces at Night

Many parents realize that when they put their babies in bed for the night, there is a good chance of them rubbing their faces or pressing down on it continuously. This can be very frustrating to handle since many parents want their baby to get a good nights sleep and not disturb them throughout the night. 

Not only can this cause them discomfort, but it can also be very distracting for a parent who is trying to get some rest. It is important to understand that this behavior is extremely common and nothing to worry about, as long as your child isn’t hurting themselves in the process.

Identifying Possible Causes of Baby Rubbing Face at Night

In order to prevent baby rubbing face at night, it is important to identify the root cause of this behavior. It could be anything from feeling discomfort due to teething or having an irritating sensation on their skin. 

If you can figure out what the issue is, then you can try and alleviate it so your baby will sleep more peacefully throughout the night.

Why Do Babies Rub Their Face so Much?

When babies rub their faces, they are likely trying to soothe themselves. This behavior is a self-comforting technique that helps them relax and drift off into sleep.

Trying to Soothe Themselves

It could also be a sign of teething or even allergies. If your child has been rubbing their face more frequently than usual, it may mean that they are uncomfortable or feeling some type of irritation in the area.

Another possible explanation is that your baby might just enjoy the sensation of rubbing their face against something soft and comforting. For some babies, this can become an automatic habit before sleeping, much like sucking on a pacifier or blankie for others.

To help make sure your baby is comfortable, you should take note of any skin irritation, teething episodes, or allergies that may be causing them to rub their face. If this is the case, you should consult your pediatrician for advice on how to best manage the situation. 

Additionally, if your baby’s rubbing has become a habit out of comfort or boredom, it might help to offer some soothing alternatives such as a snuggly toy or blanket to hold instead.

By understanding why babies rub their faces and identifying potential sources of discomfort or boredom, you can take steps to prevent them from doing so at night and get a better night’s rest for both you and your little one.

10 Methods How to Stop Baby Rubbing Face at Night

1. Address Underlying Discomfort:

Examine possible sources of discomfort such as hunger, dirty diapers, or temperature. Ensure your baby is fed, changed, and dressed appropriately for the ambient room temperature to minimize the chances of face rubbing due to discomfort.

If your baby has any medical conditions, address them with proper treatment and follow-up visits as prescribed by your pediatrician. However, if there are no physical causes of discomfort and your baby is still rubbing his/her face at night, proceed to other possible solutions.

2. Establish a Bedtime Routine:

Create a soothing bedtime routine that helps your baby relax before sleep. This can include activities like a warm bath, gentle massage, soft music, or reading a bedtime story.

Create a Soothing Bedtime Routin

A consistent routine signals to your baby that it’s time to wind down, reducing the likelihood of face rubbing.

While it’s important to stick to a routine, try to remain flexible and don’t be afraid to adjust your routine if it isn’t working. Although it can take a few weeks for your baby to get used to their routine, be patient as they adjust.

3. Swaddle Your Baby:

Swaddling can provide a sense of security and prevent face rubbing. Use a lightweight and breathable swaddle blanket to wrap your baby snugly, ensuring their arms are comfortably tucked in. This limits their ability to reach their face during sleep. 

It also helps to reduce the Startle Reflex, which can cause babies to wake up during the night. Make sure your baby is not too tightly swaddled, as this can create overheating and discomfort.

As a reminder, never place your baby to sleep on their stomach or side while swaddled. Always place them on their back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

4. Use a Sleep Sack:

If your baby has outgrown swaddling, consider using a sleep sack or wearable blanket. These provide a cozy and secure environment while keeping the arms free. Opt for a sleep sack with a snug neckline to prevent your baby from easily accessing their face.

It will also keep them more comfortable throughout the night. While wearing a sleep sack, babies usually learn to self-soothe without rubbing their face.

5. Introduce a Lovey or Comfort Object:

Introducing a soft and safe lovey or comfort object can help redirect your baby’s hand movements away from their face. Choose an age-appropriate item, such as a small stuffed animal or a soft blanket, and place it near your baby during sleep.

This could provide a comforting and familiar sensation, and it may also help to soothe your baby during the night. As an added benefit, your baby can continue to use this item over time, which could help them feel more secure.

6. Maintain a Calm Sleep Environment:

Create a peaceful and soothing sleep environment for your baby. Dim the lights, reduce noise, and ensure the room is comfortably cool. A calm and serene environment can help promote better sleep and reduce face rubbing.

Peaceful and Soothing Sleep Environment

You can also use white noise such as a fan, or calming music to help your baby relax and drift off into a peaceful sleep. Additionally, maintaining a consistent bedtime routine can be beneficial in helping your baby relax and sleep better.

7. Monitor Allergens:

Allergies or irritants in the sleeping environment can cause your baby to rub their face. Keep the bedding clean, wash it regularly using mild detergent, and avoid using strong fragrances or harsh chemicals that may trigger allergic reactions.

Additionally, use a hypoallergenic mattress and pillow to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. If you suspect indoor or outdoor allergens are causing your baby to rub their face at night, consult an allergist or doctor for additional advice.

8. Keep Nails Trimmed:

Ensure your baby’s nails are trimmed to prevent any accidental scratching or irritation. Short nails reduce the risk of self-inflicted skin irritation when your baby rubs their face. If your baby is older, you can try to get them used to having their nails trimmed regularly.

Use emery boards or nail clippers that are specially designed for babies. While trimming your baby’s nails, make sure to be gentle and take breaks in between. This will help reduce discomfort for your little one. If you’re still hesitant, consult your pediatrician. They can help walk you through the process and provide additional words of advice.

9. Offer a Pacifier:

If your baby is not already using a pacifier, consider introducing one during sleep. The sucking action can help soothe your baby and redirect their attention away from face rubbing.

Not Already Using a Pacifier

Ensure the pacifier is age-appropriate and follows safe usage guidelines. If your baby does not take to the pacifier, there are other alternatives for creating a soothing environment during sleep.

10. Consult a Pediatrician:

If face rubbing persists despite trying various methods, consult a pediatrician. They can evaluate your baby for any underlying issues, such as skin conditions or allergies, and provide personalized guidance to address the specific cause of face rubbing.

They may also recommend additional strategies to help manage the behavior. Additionally, a pediatrician can assess whether other underlying medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or reflux, may be contributing to the problem.


Ultimately, preventing your baby from rubbing their face at night is an important part of helping them sleep better. Whether it’s swaddling and other soothing methods, regular sleep routines, or using a little bit of extra support with blankets or mitts, there are plenty of options to suit different styles and preferences.

It may take some trial and error to find what works for your baby, so be patient and allow yourself some flexibility. With the tips outlined in this blog post, you should be well on your way to helping your little one sleep soundly throughout the night without rubbing their face. 

Now that you know How to Stop Baby Rubbing Face at Night, take action by creating a soothing nighttime routine addressing any comfort needs the baby may have.

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Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

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