Whether you choose to call it a raspberry, a strawberry, or a Bronx cheer, it all means the same thing. Putting your tongue between your lips and blowing to cause a humorous event and make others smile and giggle. How many parents and grandparents through the years have blown raspberries on a baby’s tummy, back, or even cheek just to hear the giggles that are produced. Just the memory of doing so can make millions of people smile to themselves. Is it only for fun? Is there some meaning behind it? Why do babies do this so much?
Yes, it is a milestone of development in a baby. I would not have guessed that. Many of us parents have raised a baby shirt to blow raspberries on our infant’s belly. Some of us still try to do so for toddlers. But, for a baby, it is helpful as they learn to use their voices. Blowing raspberries teach an infant how to regulate the volume, turn their voice on or off, and learn how to use their lips, mouth, diaphragm, and tongue. When a baby blows a raspberry using the lips only, this helps build up strength. The lips have an important part of a baby learning to drink from a cup and also to eat and chew foods.
These raspberries that your baby is blowing should not be hindered. As tempted as one may be, do not discourage your baby from performing this action. It is an important milestone in their short life. Rather than teaching your baby not to blow the raspberry, teach them that there is an appropriate time and place when they can do so. Then, lift their tiny little shirt and proceed to blow a berry on their tummy. We do not want the baby to do so in church or at the dinner table, but you know it is sure to happen. Luckily most people find it adorable.
Blowing raspberries can be considered a work out for the mouth. A type of exercise to build up the ability to drink from a cup. That noise, along with all the spit flying, is making the jaw stronger and using the muscles needed to move the lips separately from the jaw and also the tongue.
Never Let Someone Tell You Different
Admit it, blowing these raspberries is simply fun. Not only do you get the baby to giggle and laugh, but this also creates laughter for you. In a way, taking turns blowing raspberries with your baby is like a first lesson in having a two-way conversation. First, you speak, then they have a turn.
This is also the beginning of the bonding time between multiple children. The older toddlers or children have just realized that this noisy little cry baby does more than scream and cry. They may find that they can interact with and have fun with the baby.
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery there is. When you take the time to respond to your baby by blowing a raspberry back, they will surely giggle and then repeat. It is also one of many ways to show your baby that you are paying attention to what they are doing.
The action of blowing raspberries is like a precursor to the baby’s first words. After they seem to have mastered blowing spit bubbles and raspberries, other vocal sounds begin to emerge, and soon after, words begin to form. Then some parents will dream of the day when all they heard was the raspberries. Raspberries are nonverbal communication, along with this use of plenty of smiles, touching, and eye contact. This is a great time to begin repetitive words for your baby to hear. Let them see you as you say, Mama, Dada, or Baba slowly to them, so they see how to use their lips. Again, imitation is learning and is flattering when successful.
We all know that as we age, blowing raspberries towards other people is a way of taunting someone. In older children, it begins to become an insult or a way of disrespecting the parent or authority figure. However, while your baby is a baby, enjoy the time spent together blowing raspberries or fart sounds.
Responding in kind with raspberries or the other sounds that your baby is making is teaching them more than you could imagine. Repeating the sounds back to them encourages them to communicate. Hearing you repeat back the sounds they make and making other sounds that they can learn is teaching social interaction, as well as communication.
Time to Talk
If you find that your baby is not making sounds by the time they reach around eight months of age, you may want to consult with the pediatrician. Most babies will have started with noises of some sort by then. If they are not, it could be a sign of speech impediment or a delay in learning. It may even show that there is a hearing problem. The point is if you have any concerns speak with the pediatrician regarding those concerns. Some babies may skip right past the raspberry stage.
Always remember, even if it seems foolish, a baby enjoys any communication you give them. When you talk to them, they focus on and enjoy the sound of your voice. What you talk about does not even matter at this point. You can recite nursery rhymes, sing songs, have a talk about the show you watched last night. Hearing your voice is what the baby craves and wants to hear. To them, this is bonding; this is the time that they learn so much without you even realizing that you are teaching your baby. Most of all, remember that you do not need to stop the raspberries from happening. Loosen up and go with the flow. Raspberries are truly fun, no matter what age you are!