Drool is to babies as perspiration is to an adult on a hot day. It’s inevitable and normal! But excessive drooling in babies isn’t normal. It can be a sign of a birth injury.
If you notice your baby drooling a lot, don’t automatically assume they’re sick. But do contact your doctor. They can evaluate your child and rule out the possibility of a birth injury.
Is your baby drooling a lot? (How Much is Too Much)
Drooling is a normal and natural part of a baby’s development. But when you’re constantly dabbing a miniature Niagara Falls from your child’s chin, you might wonder if it’s too much.
Why do babies drool? The primary reason is their salivary glands aren’t fully developed. Also, they haven’t yet mastered the muscle control necessary to swallow or manage their saliva. The result is excess saliva building up in their mouths.
Excessive drooling in babies is more than an occasional wet stain on your shirt or carpet. It goes beyond a typical amount. The baby’s chin and clothes will be constantly soaked with saliva.
Signs of excessive drooling in babies include:
- Constant dampness
- Chin rash or irritation
- Difficulty feeding
- Excessive coughing and gagging
- Constant mouth irritation and infections
- Unusual behavior (fussy and uncomfortable because of the drool)
If you’re dealing with constant dampness, rashes, or other symptoms of drooling, it’s worth checking with your doctor to see if your baby has an underlying health condition.
Should I worry about my baby drooling at three months?
This is a common question that parents have, because it seems like their child’s saliva glands start working overtime around this age. But there’s a good reason why babies drool a lot at three months: teething.
Teething is a common cause of increased drooling around the three-month mark. Teeth start arriving between 3 to 7 months of age. The discomfort of teeth pushing through the gums can lead to excessive saliva production and drooling.
Reasons for Excessive Drooling in Babies
Why is your baby drooling a lot? That’s a question that you’ll need help from a pediatrician to answer. But here are some of the possibilities:
- Teething. As new teeth start to emerge through the gums, the irritation and discomfort can stimulate increased saliva production. Remember, a baby drooling at three months in excess could be due to teething.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD). GERD is a condition in which stomach contents flow back into the esophagus. Babies with GERD might produce more saliva in response to the reflux
- Infections and illnesses. Infections can cause an increase in saliva production and drooling as the body’s immune response kicks in.
- Medications. Some medications can cause excessive drooling in babies as a side effect.
- Anatomical Issues. Certain anatomical issues, such as a tongue tie or lip tie, can affect a baby’s ability to swallow properly and lead to increased drooling.
Remember, treatment for excessive drooling in babies will depend on what’s causing it. In some cases, reducing drooling will be as simple as healing an infection or correcting a tongue tie.
Can Birth Injuries Cause Excessive Drooling in Babies?
It’s rare, but birth injuries can also be the reason why a baby drools a lot. Excessive drooling is a common symptom for birth injuries that affect muscle control, such as cerebral palsy or bell’s palsy.
In addition, autism and other neurological conditions can affect the baby’s ability to control their facial muscles and swallow properly.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these conditions:
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, muscle tone, and motor skills. Muscle control and coordination issues are common characteristics of CP. This lack of oral muscle control is one reason why babies with CP might drool a lot.
Bell’s palsy is a condition that causes sudden, temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. This is why babies with Bell’s palsy might drool in excess.
But don’t assume that Bell’s palsy is the culprit, just because you see your baby drooling a lot. If they have this condition, there will be other signs. For example, they might have one droopy eyelid.
Excessive drooling in babies can also be a sign of autism. But a baby with autism will have other symptoms as well, such as:
- Developmental delays
- Muscle control issues
- Social challenges (such as lack of eye contact with caregivers)
Birth Injury Legal Help
Some birth injuries are the direct result of a doctor’s negligence. If you believe negligence was involved in your child’s injury, we’re all ears. Contact us to find out how Hampton & King may be able to help you obtain justice and compensation via a birth injury lawsuit.