Published
May 31, 2024
in
Rashes
Published
May 31, 2024
5/31/24
in
Rashes

Baby drool alert: Newborn and baby drooling

Have you ever noticed saliva dripping down your baby’s chin? Babies drool — it’s part of the package deal and a totally normal part of infant development — and some drool more than others. To save you from a never ending cycle of shirt changes, we’re breaking down the specifics of baby drool to help you understand it better (and maybe even prevent a drool rash or two!) If you have any questions, Summer Health’s team of pediatricians are only a text away.
Dahlia Rimmon, RDN
Written by
Dahlia Rimmon, RDN
Content Writer
Dr. Marcy Borieux
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Marcy Borieux
Pediatrician

What’s drool?

Drool is excess saliva that comes out of the mouth unintentionally. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drool is super helpful for babies and can help with:

  • Keeping their mouth moist
  • Making swallowing easier
  • Washing away leftover milk and food
  • Protecting teeth against tooth decay and bacteria
  • Softening food
  • Breaking down starchy foods
  • Digestion

Where is drool produced?

Drool, also known as saliva, is made in your salivary glands. These glands are inside your mouth, near your cheeks, and they release saliva into your mouth through tiny ducts.

Why do babies drool?

Babies drool for various reasons, including:

  • Poor muscle development: Babies have weak oral muscles because they are still developing. Instead of swallowing saliva, it will pool in their mouth and dribble out.
  • Teething: When babies begin teething, their bodies will produce more saliva to help soothe their gums. Some babies begin teething as early as 3 months, and the first teeth usually pop up on the bottom.
  • Illness: When babies are under the weather, their bodies will produce more saliva and mucus, which may cause excess drooling.

Do newborns drool?

Newborns drool but not as much as older babies. Around three months old, you'll notice a spike in saliva production. That’s because their tiny mouths are gearing up for teeth and the exciting world of solid foods just around the corner.

Excessive drooling

Every baby is different and some babies drool more than others. If you have a super drooly baby they may have something called hypersalivation, and their body produces more saliva than usual. While it's common, all that drool can get pretty messy, making their face and clothing damp and uncomfortable.

Be aware that any sudden excessive drooling could be a sign of choking or difficulty swallowing. If your baby shows any signs of choking, please call 911 immediately.

How to keep your baby’s face and clothing dry:

Here are some tips to keep your baby dry:

  • Keep a soft washcloth nearby. Washcloths made from cotton or muslin are perfect for the job.
  • Apply cream or healing ointment to your baby’s face when it’s dry. This can keep the area free of moisture and create a barrier to prevent drool rashes or skin irritation.
  • Put a bib on your baby. Bibs can help keep clothing dry.

What’s a drool rash?

If your baby's skin stays damp from drool for too long, they might end up with a drool rash. These rashes can make the skin dry and chapped, and they can get irritated pretty quickly. They tend to pop up on the face, neck, and chest, often in patches.

Here are some tips to prevent drool rashes:

  • Limit pacifier use. Using a pacifier for extended periods can sometimes lead to excessive drooling and, yep, you guessed it, a rash. Try to limit pacifier time, and when you do use it, keep a soft washcloth handy to mop up any drool.
  • Apply barrier creams or ointments to block the skin from added moisture. Aquaphor and Vaseline are examples of good barriers.
  • Keep baby’s skin healthy by avoiding harsh chemicals. Check your laundry detergent, cleaning products, and shampoo and body wash for irritants. We recommend choosing ones that are fragrance-free.

If your baby isn't responding to treatment or if the rash takes a turn for the worse, reach out to your pediatrician for further guidance. And remember, Summer Health’s team of pediatricians can help too.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Drooling and Your Baby

Dahlia Rimmon, RDN
Content Writer
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