Baby Rubbing Face While Sleeping [5 Easy Solutions]

It’s normal to worry as a parent when you see your baby rubbing face while sleeping. And remember, it’s also normal for babies to rub their faces while they are asleep. But sometimes, this can take a terrible turn. 

Your baby rubbing its face while sleeping may be due to tiredness, itching eyes, eye infection, teething, or strain. However, you don’t have to worry about it because here you will get solutions to these problems.

Plus, by the end of this article, you will also learn how you can prevent your baby from scratching its face. 

Okay? So without any more delay, let’s get into it…..

Baby Rubbing Face While Sleeping [5 Easy Solutions]

Many animal infant offspring rub their faces while they are sleeping. And it is not uncommon behavior for human babies as well. Yet, this kind of action usually occurs as a response to different kinds of physical conditions or external effects. 

Well, here you will learn about the 5 reasons and solutions in detail why your baby rubbing its face while sleeping.

1: Tiredness

Babies tend to get easily tired because they are not capable of storing energy. The daily activity of staring around and moving their arms and legs takes a lot out of them.

Babies rub their eyes to give you the hint that they are sleepy. So, try to nap your baby notice rubbing their eyes frequently. If they fall asleep within minutes then great. If they don’t, then the problem may be with something else.


Put your baby down for a nap if you realize that your baby is rubbing its face due to tiredness. Babies usually need 12 to 16 hours of sleep every day. It’s normal for them to feel tired if they do not get enough sleep.

So, put your baby on a nap at the right time and make sure they are getting enough sleep.

2: Itching Eyes 

If you notice the baby aggressively rubbing its face, then it can mean that its eyes are hurting or itching. Babies are vulnerable to many environmental effects. Allergies and other types of issues affect them very quickly. 

Things that may not feel like much of a problem to us can be the reason for major discomfort to them. Their delicate nature creates problems for them from the tiniest things such as dust, dry air, and pets.

Though allergies are not common in babies, irritation is a normal thing. And these irritations can cause them to rub their eyes quite aggressively. Baby rubbing face while sleeping due to eczema is a common issue as well. Eczema is the condition of inflamed, rough, and itchy skin. It can cause blisters. 


If you find out that your baby is rubbing their face because of irritation or that something has stuck in their eyes, then you must take immediate action. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Take a clean washcloth and soak it in warm water. And then try cleaning your baby’s eyes with it
  • Try to keep your baby busy with toys or something else so that they don’t put their hand on their face
  • If the problem persists and your baby becomes restless, call your pediatrician. They will tell you the next step
  • In case of eczema, properly moisturize your baby with lotion and put them in soft cotton clothes. You can also use a humidifier in their room during cold weather

3: Eye Infection

Sometimes toddlers can keep rubbing their eyes and nose. This also occurs from the irritation we discussed above. But irritation is not always the case. There is also the possibility that they have an eye infection.

Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis or dreaded pink eyes generally come with usual symptoms such as crustiness, oozing, and redness. And this type of irritation can cause them to rub their whole face.

So if you notice your baby keeps rubbing her face into the mattress, it may be due to extreme irritation resulting from an eye infection. 


To make sure that your baby has an eye infection, observe their eyeball and see if it is reddish or pink. If you are suspecting that your baby has an eye infection, you must consult your doctor immediately.

Till your doctor prescribes any antibiotic eye drop or any medicine, maintain the following things,

  • Clean the affected eye with clean and warm water
  • Cover your baby’s hand with mittens 
  • Make sure your baby doesn’t scratch itself
  • If your baby’s eye or eyelids get swollen, rub ice on them. It will give your baby a bit of relief

After contacting the doctor, use the medicines or prescribed eye drops accordingly.

Watch this video to learn more about eye infections.

4: Strain

Think of the time you have been working out at the gym and got too tired. Did you notice how your natural instinct leads you to rub your sore muscles? This same type of thing happens with babies. 

Staring at something for too long can make their eyes exhausted. Many babies are born curious. They have the habit of staring at something for a long time out of curiosity. 

Other issues can cause such strains as well. This type of strain can make them rub their eyes every now and then.


If your baby has eye strain or any type of vision impairment, you must contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor will probably do a full eye scan and give you a proper solution. You don’t have to worry about anything if you take adequate measures at the right time.

5: Teething

Babies rubbing their noses while teething is not so common but a possible reason. If your baby is in the teething phase, the upper gum can cause soreness and extreme pain. 

Think of the pain you feel when your wisdom teeth come out. Babies feel that type of pain while teething, only a bit less severe. Babies tend to rub their eyes to soothe the pain of teething. Though their attempts always result in failure, they do this out of impulse.  


If your baby is rubbing their face due to teething, you have to keep them busy with something else so that they can ignore the pain. Give them chewable toys. Make sure to always keep the toys clean. 

You can also try offering them a clean wet or frozen washcloth. Frozen or cold solid teething rings work as well. However, if your baby doesn’t quit crying even after that, you must consult your pediatrician. 

If your baby is older than 6 months, the pediatrician may suggest using ibuprofen (Advil). They may even suggest giving your baby a dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen).

Never use these medicines without consulting your doctor. It may lead to further severity. These are the reasons why babies rub their faces while sleeping and what you can do if they do it.

If you are aware of these reasons and solutions you will be able to save your baby from many dangerous ailments. 

5 Effective Things To Do To Keep Your Baby From Rubbing Their Face

As you can see, a baby rubbing face while sleeping is never a good thing. Though it may not always indicate something severe, there are always some issues that can stem from it. So it is obviously better to make sure your baby doesn’t rub their face at all.

But how do you ensure that? Here are 5 effective things you can do to keep your baby from rubbing their face,

1. Make sure that they are getting proper sleep. A baby should sleep for at least 15 hours a day

2. Cut their nails regularly. If they have long and sharp nails, they will hurt themselves

3. Always keep them moisturized with the proper product. Consult your doctor to determine which one is the perfect product for your baby

4. Always pay attention to what they are doing. If they are trying to rub their hands on their face, stop them and see if they have anything stuck in their eyes

5. Do not ignore rashes or any kind of skin abnormality. Do a thorough check-up every month for the first year and ensure proper treatment of irritated or itchy skin

You obviously don’t want to see your baby suffer but there are many things that can hurt your baby. However, knowing the proper way of taking care of your baby will ensure a safe and happy life for him.

So, take these above-discussed points into consideration and apply them attentively. This way your baby will always be healthy and happy.


Why does my baby rub his head back and forth?

Babies rub their heads back and forth due to the following reasons,

  • They have rashes on their head
  • They are having irritation due to some reason
  • They are simply playing 

How can I stop my baby from scratching at night?

Here are a few things you can do to stop your baby from scratching at night,

  • Clip their fingernails regularly
  • Put on soft baby mittens on their hand
  • Cover their hands with a blanket while they are sleeping

Why does my baby keep scratching her face?

Babies scratch their faces for the following reasons,

  • They have rashes
  • They have skin irritation
  • They have something stuck in their eyes
  • They have eczema 

Why does my baby shake its head back and forth?

This is actually quite interesting. Babies are very curious. If there are multiple people talking in a single room, babies shake their heads back and forth to follow the sounds. This is not a problem or anything. It is very normal and kinda cute.

Why does my baby put hands in mouth?

The reason behind your baby putting its hand in the mouth can be,

  • It is a game for them. They just like to do it
  • Hungry babies suck on their fingers. They confuse it for breast
  • If your baby is bored, they will put fingers in the mouth
  • Many babies suck on their fingers when they are scared

How to keep your baby’s hands clean?

To keep your baby’s hands perfectly clean you try doing the following things,

  • Use baby soap and clean warm water
  • If your baby’s hands are too dirty, wash the dirt off with normal water first, and then use soap and water
  • Avoid using regular soap or hand wash because baby’s skin is very delicate
  • Dry their hands using a dry, soft, and clean towel

Final Words:

If your baby rubbing face while sleeping, it is definitely a matter of concern. But if you have fully understood what we have discussed in this article, then you shouldn’t have any problem dealing with such issues. Proper application of our discussed methods will keep your baby away from harm and ensure her healthy growth. 

Leave a Comment