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It is always such a joy to watch babies explore their surroundings with their tiny curious eyes. It is even more adorable when they wake up from their sleep and quietly rub their eyes with those curled up, baby fists! We already know that rubbing our eyes is not a good habit. So how do we get them to stop rubbing their eyes? Why do they do it in the first place? Let’s find out.
Why Babies Rub Their Eyes
There are several different reasons why your baby might be rubbing their eyes.
1) They are feeling tired/sleepy
When they are tired, their eyes will start to droop, they may yawn and then start to rub their eyes. They may even cry if they are unable to fall asleep.
How To Make Them Stop: Put them to sleep immediately. Rock them gently, put them in their sleepwear (preferably one that covers their hands to stop them from rubbing their eyes) and put them down in their bed. It is best to put them to sleep as soon as you start noticing that they are tired. This way, they won’t rub their eyes.
2) An eye infection
If you find that your baby’s eyes are red and that they fuss while rubbing their eyes, it could indicate an eye infection especially if it is accompanied by a fever or eye discharge.
How To Make Them Stop: Go to the doctor immediately. They will be able to guide you on how to treat the infection and make your baby get better. While your baby is recovering, make sure to keep their hands away from their face.
3) Curious young mind
Your baby could simply be amazed by the world around them. Everything around them is still new and they are still getting used to it.
How To Make Them Stop: You can’t make them stop without making them cry but you can put soft mittens on their hands so that they don’t end up scratching their eyes. You could also pull their sleeves over their fists instead. If their hands are dirty, however, you should stop them and wash their hands and eyes right away (be prepared for the waterworks!).
4) Eyes are dry
If your baby has been up for quite some time and hasn’t really given their eyes a break, it can make their eyes dry. The rubbing of eyes will then cause their eyes to tear up and get moistened.
How To Make Them Stop: Avoid letting your baby keep their eyes open for too long. Distract them with something and make sure they keep blinking to keep their eyes healthy and clean. When they feel tired from being awake too long, put them to sleep.
5) Something in their eye
Often, the reason they are rubbing their eyes is that something actually went into their eyes. This could be dust, an eyelash or pollen.
How To Make Them Stop: Simply wash their eyes with a bit of warm water. You can ask someone to hold your baby while you wash their eyes. If you can see some visible dust particle in their eyes, remove it gently with the help of a soft cotton cloth. If you are unable to remove it, go see a doctor about it.