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Why Does a Baby Blow Raspberries?

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

It's one of the many sounds a baby can make, and parents love to hear it: blowing raspberries.

Blowing little bubbles — or raspberries — isn't just another cute thing babies do. It's an important milestone in your child's physical, emotional, and cognitive development.

When Do Babies Start Blowing Raspberries?

The first year of your baby's life is filled with new experiences. You've celebrated the first smile and the first belly laugh, and you’ve watched with amazement as your child changed from a swaddled newborn to a wiggly, crawling baby.

Communicating is an important part of your baby's growth. As a parent, you learn to meet their immediate needs by identifying different types of crying. There's typically a hungry cry or a tired cry. As your baby grows, they’ll start to communicate in different ways like gurgling, giggling, and cooing.

Babies start blowing raspberries, which look like a cluster of tiny spit bubbles, between 4 and 7 months old. It's one of the ways they develop language skills. You may notice other typical behaviors like:

  • Drooling
  • Babbling and pronouncing consonants like "bah,” “dah,” and “gah"
  • Making gurgling sounds with you or when alone
  • Understanding certain words, like "bath" or "ball"
  • Using sounds to express feelings or get attention

Why Does Your Baby Blow Raspberries?

Babies listen to and watch the world around them. They hear the sounds you make and watch how you communicate. Newborns pay attention to the pitch and the volume of your voice. Soothing sounds are comforting, while loud and angry sounds tell a baby that something is wrong. Around 4 months, your baby will begin to notice the way you talk and pronounce vowels, consonants, words, and sentences.

What follows is the copycat stage. You may hear them starting to coo or babble. During this time, it's common for babies to drool and blow raspberries.

Drooling and blowing raspberries are also a result of increased saliva, which:

  • Makes solid food softer
  • Helps change starch into sugar with an enzyme called ptyalin
  • Helps keep their mouth moist
  • Makes swallowing easier
  • Washes away excess food
  • Protects baby teeth

Language Learning: How Parents Can Help

What should you do when your baby starts imitating sounds, babbling, and blowing raspberries? Repeat the behavior right back and encourage them to talk. Singing and reading together, as well as repeating simple words like "cat," "dog," "mama," and "dada," can help them understand new words.

It's also helpful to teach your little one to imitate physical actions like clapping, making animal sounds, or counting. Babies respond to positive reinforcement, so show them that you're excited to hear them speak. These steps encourage your baby's language and speech development.

My Baby Isn't Blowing Raspberries. Should I Be Concerned?

Behavioral milestones are one way your doctor can track your baby's development. Every child is different. Some may pick up skills earlier, while others take longer. This is normal.

Newborns are typically tested for hearing loss. If your baby isn't cooing or babbling by 7 or 8 months, it could mean they have trouble hearing and responding to sounds. This could be the result of excess fluid from frequent ear infections or another issue. Talk to your doctor to learn more.

If your baby isn't blowing raspberries by 6 months, it doesn't mean something is wrong. But you should tell your doctor if your child:

  • Doesn't make eye contact
  • Rarely smiles, babbles, or talks
  • Struggles to sit up without support
  • Seems to have weakness on one side of their body
  • Has trouble swallowing soft food and pushes it out of their mouth

As a parent, you know what's normal behavior and what isn't, so don't hesitate to get medical advice or ask questions about your baby's behavior.

Show Sources

SOURCES: 

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Drooling and Your Baby," "Language Development: 4 to 7 Months." 

KidsHealth from Nemours: "Your Child's Development: 6 Months." 

Mayo Clinic: "Language development: Speech milestone for babies." 

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