Baby Sucking On Lower Lip – Is This The Start of Teething?

baby sucking on lower lip

Beginning the teething process is a big milestone in the life of a baby and a parent so it is natural to feel curious about it. Interestingly, there are some predictors which can indicate the start of the teething process.

While the action of a baby sucking the bottom lip in itself might seem cute and can even be seen as typical behavior, babies sometimes do this for a specific reason. There are several reasons behind a baby sucking the bottom lip, some of which we have discussed below. 

  1. Hunger: Baby sucking his bottom lip is one of the clues he gives to let others know he is hungry. Additionally, as babies grow bigger and are more conscious of what is happening, they begin to wish to imitate others. If your baby continues biting their lips during a meal, they may appreciate the fragrance of your meal and want to taste it.
  1. Self-soothing: As newborns grow, they learn numerous ways to comfort themselves. This comes naturally to them. When left alone or in a stressful situation, self-soothing may be accomplished by sucking the bottom lip.
  1. Teething: The most common reason that leads to a baby sucking his bottom lip is the start of teething. As bottom teeth and upper teeth erupt the gums, babies suck and chew their lips to help with the irritation and pain.

Other Baby Self-Soothing Tactics

Other ways babies self-soothe themselves are by thumb sucking (other fingers too, but more often than not, it is the thumb), wanting to have specific toys or objects with them at different times of the day, gently pulling their hair, rocking in place, and gently rubbing certain body parts (either their own or their parents). 

These behaviors may appear unusual to new parents, but they are just your baby’s way of soothing themselves. With time, most newborns and infants outgrow these patterns.

Why Do Babies Bite Their Lower Lip?

  1. They are hungry: Babies must rely on body language to convey their message. Some babies may gesture at food or make funny faces to express hunger, but younger newborns use different cues. A baby sucking his bottom lip or fingers can be a sign that they are hungry. 

Other signs of hunger include tilting their head to one side, wiggling their legs and arms, whimpering when looking at food, or turning their head toward the breast when cuddled. Crying is an indication of extreme hunger in babies, and it is very important to feed your child before they reach that level. Although your baby likely will have a feeding schedule, please remember that he may want to eat quite often throughout periods of growth, which is why you need to be adaptable.

  1. Self-soothing: When babies are in the womb, it is quite easy for them to grasp their fingers and nibble on them. However, their hands become more difficult to reach once babies are born. When they seek to self-soothe, they often chew or suck on their lower lip. When newborns are exhausted, drowsy, in stressful situations, or left unattended by a parent or guardian, they have to soothe themselves. In this situation, the lip functions much like a pacifier.
  1. Teething: Another reason why your baby might be sucking on his lower lip is because of teething, which signifies an important and equally stressful time for both parents and baby. After all, teething is painful because the teeth have to grow out of the gums. This makes the gums itchy and irritated. In some cases, this process can result in redness, soreness, frequent itching of the gums, and excessive drool. 

Biting is a common way for children to scratch their aching gums. If no other option is available, some may bite their bottom lip. Sucking the bottom lip is a self-soothing mechanism. Babies find sucking to be a comfort since it resembles breastfeeding. 

  1. Sensory development: Infants start discovering the world around them the minute they are brought into the world, and while they explore their surroundings and meet new people, they are also learning about their own abilities. A baby’s brain can make good sense of their bodies at around two months old, which is the first step toward further mental and sensory development. 

The University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) did a study that found that caressing a baby’s lips caused more neuronal activity than stroking any other body area. Your baby may have recently discovered such other mouth movements and is completely enthralled by this new sensation they feel in their mouth.

How Do I Make My Baby Stop Biting Her Bottom Lip?

Although lip biting is completely natural in most circumstances, there are a few things to remember about the lip-sucking habit. The risk of having an overbite increases as kids age and continue to engage in lip-biting and lip-sucking. An overbite might cause severe misalignment in the position of your child’s teeth and affect their ability to eat. If your infant is over twelve months old and continues to bite and suck their lips on a regular basis, consult your pediatrician. An expert can give your child exercises to stop the baby from biting their lower lip.

Your child’s baby teeth will have fully developed by the time she is one to two years old. Up to that point, you can continue cleaning their chin as they drool, offering them chewing toys, and trying to relieve their pain using infant-safe treatments. Treatments include different toys, cold cloths, non-toxic cream, coconut oil, and chamomile tea.

Why Does My Baby Purse Her Lips?

baby sucking on lower lip

The pursing of a baby’s lips can be a sign of brain development and growth. Recent research from the University of Washington demonstrates how the hands, feet, and lips are recognized in the brains of two-month-old newborns. A two-month-old infant can make purring sounds, nibble on their hands to soothe themselves, purse their lips, and grin at visitors.

What Does It Mean When A Baby Licks Their Lips?

  • The first reason could be chapped lips which can lead to your baby licking their lips to moisturize them.
  • A person may compulsively bite his or her lips when in a stressful situation, and it is the same for babies. Baby may suck their bottom lips when they are in a stressful or unfamiliar situation.
  • Lip-sucking can be an indication that the baby has severe misalignment or even an overbite. An ideal situation for lip-sucking is established when the top teeth stick out considerably over the lower lip.

Baby Teething Overview

Teething is a milestone for both baby and parents. While lip-sucking and biting can be an obvious sign that your baby is about to start teething, other symptoms may indicate that your baby is about to grow teeth. Keep in mind that not all of these are as harmless as your baby sucking his bottom lip.


Frustration and irritation are the most obvious sign. The primary teeth and molars are the most painful.

  • Cuddles will help your baby’s irritation. He could use some extra snuggles during this time.
  • A good teething toy could help alleviate some of the pain in the mouth. Avoid teethers that contain liquid since they may crack or spill. Pediatricians also advise keeping them in the fridge rather than the freezer. Your baby’s sensitive gum membrane will be damaged by a frozen teether.

Drooling and Skin Rashes:

Teething can cause drooling, and most babies drool heavily. Due to the increased germs on the skin from the drool, a rash can often develop around the affected area, such as the mouth, cheeks, jaw, and neck. It can also cause dryness on the baby’s lips.

Wipe down the affected area regularly to ensure that it is clean. A simple protective lotion or lip balm can relieve the dry and chapped area. 


Teething cause an increase in saliva production, which can result in occasional coughing or gagging. Combined with a high temperature and other cold or fever symptoms, it is an indication that your baby could be ill. 

Contact your infant’s pediatrician if the cough persists or is followed by a high temperature and cold or flu symptoms.

Chewing and Biting the Lips:

Biting on just about anything can provide relief from the tightness under the gums.

  • You can give your kid healthy foods to chew on if he or she is six months or older, like organic fresh fruits and vegetables. Gums can be soothed by soft fruits such as melon.
  • Bread crusts or breadsticks can also do the job.
  • Sugary foods should be avoided since they can lead to tooth decay, even in toddlers.
  • Cleaning gums lightly with a clean finger could also soothe some pain and improve oral health.

Low-Grade Fever

A temperature between 98 and 100 degrees is considered a low-grade fever. Teething would not cause a fever to rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in babies of any age, so it’s usually nothing to be concerned about if your infant’s temperature rises slightly. 

If the temperature rises beyond 101 degrees Fahrenheit or persists, consult your pediatrician because it could be a sign of a more severe illness rather than teething.

Consider an age-appropriate pain reliever, and try checking with your pediatrician as well as the medicine’s label for appropriate dosage guidelines.

Ear-pulling and Cheek-rubbing:

Gum pain can spread to the cheeks and ears, particularly when the molars break. Babies will rub or swat at these regions when they are uncomfortable. Please remember that ear pulling or scratching can sometimes be an indication of an ear infection.

If this symptom persists or is followed by a high temperature, make sure to contact your pediatrician. Also, gently rubbing the gums is an excellent way to relieve some pain.

The Bottom-Line About Bottom Lip-Sucking

Teething is a critical time during the developmental years of an infant and is accompanied by various actions and emotions faced by both the baby and the parents. 

Remember that biting on the lower lip is a temporary phase for most babies. Babies suck their bottom lips for a variety of reasons, including hunger and toothache. They usually stop sucking near their first birthday. If you observe your infant licking his or her bottom lip, don’t worry; it’s only a developmental phase that will pass. 

The leading cause of this habit is usually teething, or a means for her to soothe herself. It could also indicate that your baby is looking forward to starting to eat solid foods. However, this also depends on a number of other developmental aspects.

Regardless of anything else, a newborn biting their lip is hardly ever something you need to worry about. Your baby will eventually grow out of this behavior, and you will also forget that this was ever a concern for you.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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