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When Do Babies Get Ticklish?


When Do Babies Get Ticklish?

One thing most newborn parents want is to see their baby smile or hear them laugh. This is the reason many parents have turned to tickling only to find out that their babies are not ticklish during their first few months on this earth.

The following will highlight everything you want to know regarding why babies are not ticklish during those first few months and when babies will get ticklish.

Why Are Babies Not Ticklish?

Well, babies experience things a little differently than adults do. Infants feel you tickling them, but they are not connecting that sensation to the person doing it.

Think about that for a moment; babies separate the experience from the sensations. It’s like being a pool and feeling you’re wet but not linking that to the water surrounding you.

A recent study focused on human being’s sensory experience at a young age. The researchers experimented on babies by tickling them using focused vibrations. The scientists crossed and uncrossed the baby’s feet to see if they are able to pinpoint where the tickling was coming from.

Babies younger than four months were able feel the tickle and identify it without much trouble because they were not relying on external cues, whereas babies who were older than six months had a little more trouble. External cues can sometimes deceive the brain, which is what was happening to the older babies during the experiment.

The experiment shows that the sensory experience babies have at that age is similar to the sensory experience that blind people have, excluding those who lost their sight at some point after birth. This is how researchers know that babies less than four months old separate their tactile experience from other sensory experiences.

Babies will get ticklish but not before they are able to connect you to the sensation of being tickled. The two need to be linked in order to bring about that smile or laughter you are hoping for.

When Will Babies Get Ticklish?

You know babies will get ticklish when their brains develop the language to connect the tickle with pleasure, but you may be wondering how long all this will take.

Most babies are not going to develop these skills until they are about four months old though there are some kids who may take up to six months to develop these skills.

Those who want to help babies get ticklish can do so. Babies get ticklish as they begin to understand their body and what surrounds it.

Part of the reason tickling works is because you know you are getting tickled, which explains why you can’t really tickle yourself. Tickling involves understanding social awareness, which is the reason you want to focus on this rather than just tickling your baby for no reason.

There are many things you can do to help develop these skills, such as the following:

  • Talk to your baby as much as possible
  • Allow your baby to feel everything
  • Expose your baby to various scents
  • Expose your baby to as many sounds as you can

In essence, you want to do your best to ensure that your baby is flexing all of his or her senses as early as possible.

Why is Tickling Important?

Those little toes, that little stomach, and those little ribs are irresistible to parents and anyone who loves babies. It is almost impossible for parents not to tickle their little bundle of joy.

Research revealing that your tickling means nothing to your baby may be disappointing, but that is not what you are being told. Sure, your baby may not be experiencing what you think he or she is experiencing, but that does not mean this experience is meaningless.

Your natural urge to tickle your baby could be quite important for him or her because this action helps your baby’s development. As mentioned earlier, babies do not have the mental skills to fully understand the complexities of their senses.

Tickling & Baby Senses

Tickling is a multisensory experience that allows toddlers to slowly begin to understand that one singular event could trigger all sorts of senses at once.

Your baby’s going to figure out that your movements are linked to what he or she is feeling. A baby may also begin to link joy to this experience since your laughter and sounds of joy are revealing that this is a joyful or fun experience.

How does tickling impact the brain?

A baby’s brain is going to take some time to make this connection, so it is okay that you continue to tickle, but your baby will get there soon enough, just be a little patient. Your baby is taking in a lot of information at once, so it is going to take a moment for your child to catch up.

It is important that you remember that part of what you are trying to achieve with tickling is helping your baby learn about his or her visual external space as it relates to the body. This means you should do your best to tickle your baby in different places all the time, not just your baby’s toes.

As crazy as this might sound, babies do get ticklish, and they do it with your help, even if they are unable to understand for some time.

Tickle Forethought

Now, you know that babies get ticklish at a certain point of their lives, and you are going to love those giggles when they come. You know that helping babies experience tickling is good for their development; it is also important to mention when tickling is not okay.

Babies get ticklish naturally when they are infants because it helps them understand how their bodies interact with the world, but this lesson will need to be reevaluated as time moves on. Once your baby learns how to speak and learns his or her body, then it is time to empower your child.

It may sound a little silly, but unwanted tickling is not cool, and it actually teaches your child that the invasion of personal space may be acceptable. This may be confusing, especially because tickling seems to be a fun experience because everyone is laughing, but that is not the case.

Do babies like being tickled?

Even though babies get ticklish at some point, some kids hate the experience and would rather not participate in it. What you want to do as a parent is allow your child to give you permission to be that tickle monster you want to be. This is a powerful lesson of consent that should help your baby be a better human being.

Teaching your child that consent is important in your home should help him or her apply this lesson later on. Your child should be able to stand up for him or herself better simply because you encouraged the value of his or her voice.


Do not fret because you are going to have a long time before you have to worry about this lesson, but there will come a time when this act is going to have to be redefined.

As strange as it may seem, tickling has been used as a form of torture in the past.

Some people hate this act so much that they may actually feel traumatized by it. You do not want to be the parent who tortures a child, especially if your little boy or girl is telling you he or she does not want to be tickled.

Final Thoughts

Some children love to be tickled, so you can definitely keep doing it as long as you practice responsible tickling.

As you can see, babies will understand your tickling at some point, which is a good sign of child development, but there will come a time when this act will evolve.

You can talk to your pediatrician a little more about when babies get ticklish because this is obviously a bigger subject that some of people might have imagined, but hopefully some of these points have cleared things up for you.

Now, you can tell other parents why babies get ticklish a little later in life and all the neat lessons you can pass on to your infant with tickling.

3 thoughts on “When Do Babies Get Ticklish?”

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