Why Does My Baby Click Their Tongue? Understanding This Common Behavior In Newborns

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Parents of newborns often encounter a variety of intriguing sounds and behaviors, one of which is their baby clicking their tongue. This phenomenon can occur at different times and in various contexts, sparking curiosity or sometimes concern among parents. However, tongue-clicking in babies is generally a normal and widespread behavior. Understanding why babies exhibit this behavior is important to ensure they are developing healthily and happily.

Exploration and Development

Learning and Discovery: From birth, babies begin to explore the world around them primarily through touch and their mouths. Tongue clicking is often a way for them to experiment and discover how their mouth can produce different sounds and sensations. This behavior can be seen as part of their sensory and motor development.

Speech Development: Tongue clicking can also be a precursor to early speech attempts. By manipulating their tongue and producing various sounds, babies develop the muscles in their mouth and learn how different sounds can be produced. These exercises are crucial for future language acquisition.


Sign of Hunger: In newborns, tongue clicking can often be a sign that they are hungry. This gesture is sometimes observed when babies open their mouth and attempt to suck. It’s an instinctive response to the sensation of hunger, indicating that they are ready to feed.

Reaction to Feeding: Clicking can also occur during or after feeding. If this happens frequently while the baby is bottle-fed, it could be an indicator that the nipple of the bottle is not perfectly suitable or that the milk flow is either too fast or too slow. If the baby is breastfed, it can indicate difficulties in latching onto the breast properly, perhaps because of an incorrect latch or an ineffective sucking reflex.


Expression of Contentment or Comfort: Some babies may click their tongues simply because they find it amusing or soothing. This gesture can be a way for them to express themselves or respond to their environment positively.

Potential Health Issues

Although tongue-clicking is often harmless, it is important to monitor this behavior to ensure that it is not linked to other health problems. For example, constant feeding difficulties accompanied by frequent clicking can sometimes indicate an anatomical issue like a tongue-tie (ankyloglossia), which limits tongue movement and can affect feeding.

What to Do?

Observation and Assessment: If you notice that your baby frequently clicks their tongue, observe the circumstances in which this behavior occurs and whether it is associated with other signs of stress or discomfort. This can help determine if it is simply part of their normal development or if it could be a sign of an underlying issue.

Medical Consultation: If you are concerned about your baby’s tongue clicking or if it is accompanied by feeding difficulties, excessive crying, or signs of pain, it is advisable to consult a pediatrician. A healthcare professional can assess the situation thoroughly and provide appropriate advice or treatment.

In conclusion, tongue-clicking in babies is usually a normal behavior that is part of their exploration of the world and the development of speech. However, attentive parental vigilance is essential to ensure that this gesture does not conceal any underlying health problems. With proper understanding and sometimes the intervention of a professional, parents can help their baby grow in a healthy and happy way.

Erica Delaney

An experienced nurse, Erica focuses on subjects related to pregnancy and infant health. She enjoys dancing and playing the piano in her free time.