Blow On Baby’s Face

Blow On Baby’s Face


From the moment a baby is born, they are exposed to a myriad of sensations and experiences. One of the fascinating phenomena that many new parents notice is the baby’s reaction when you gently blow on their face especially when the baby’s crying. It’s a common parenting trick that often yields surprising results.

Understanding the Diving Reflex

The diving reflex, also known as the bradycardic reflex, is a basic human instinct that is especially strong in babies. This reflex allows babies to hold their breath and slow their heart rate when their face comes into contact with water, a sudden breeze, or even when you blow air onto their face.

Why Do Babies Stop Crying When You Blow on Their Faces?

The Power of the Gentle Blow

Blowing on a baby’s face when babies cry causes a temporary change in air pressure. This sudden change can take the baby by surprise and often stops a crying baby in its tracks, giving them a short moment of pause.

A Calming Effect

This pause can often lead to a calming effect, which is why many parents use this trick when their babies are upset or fighting sleep. The brief distraction can help the baby forget why they were upset and focus on the new sensation instead.

Understanding the Baby’s Response

The Bradycardic Reflex

The bradycardic reflex is a survival instinct that allows babies to hold their breath underwater. The same reflex is triggered when you blow on a baby’s face when babies cry. This reflex can cause the hysterical baby to stop crying as they stop breathing and focus on the new sensation.

The Moment of Surprise

The sudden sensation of a gentle breeze on the baby’s face can cause them to stop crying out of surprise. This distraction gives parents a few precious seconds to soothe the baby and redirect their attention.

The Science Behind the Trick

Reflexes and Instincts

The baby’s response to blowing on their face stems from a combination of reflexes and instincts. The diving reflex, which initiates the baby’s breath-holding response, is a primitive survival instinct inherited from their evolutionary past. It serves as a protective mechanism, enabling them to adapt to potential threats or changes in their immediate environment.

The activation of reflexes is not limited to the diving reflex alone. Blowing on their face can also elicit responses from other reflexes, such as the startle reflex or the rooting reflex. These reflexes showcase the baby’s innate ability to react and respond to various stimuli in their surroundings.

The Role of Air Pressure

The role of air pressure in this phenomenon cannot be understated. As you blow gently on the baby’s face, the change in air pressure against their delicate skin triggers a cascade of sensory signals. Their skin, equipped with specialized nerve endings, detects the subtle shifts in pressure and transmits this information to their developing brain.

The brain, acting as a command center, receives and processes these sensory signals. It integrates the information from the skin receptors with other sensory inputs, such as visual and auditory cues. This multisensory processing allows the baby to construct a comprehensive understanding of the blowing sensation and its associated context.

While the precise mechanisms of how air pressure influences the baby’s response are not yet fully understood, the sensory experience and the subsequent activation of reflexes and cognitive processing contribute to the overall effect. The combination of these factors creates a momentary interruption in the baby’s distress, providing them with a brief respite and an opportunity for soothing and comfort.

The Common Parenting Trick of Blowing on a Baby’s Face

How Many Parents Use This Trick

This trick of blowing on a baby’s face is a common one, shared and passed down through generations. It’s one of those parenting secrets, not found in any manual, but often discovered by chance or shared by a seasoned parent. You’d be surprised how many parents, grandparents, and caregivers rely on this trick to soothe a fussy baby or simply to elicit that adorable look of surprise on their baby’s face.

The Right Way to Do It

As with all things concerning a baby, gentleness is key. When blowing on your baby’s face, make sure you’re at a safe distance and that your breath is soft and gentle. You’re aiming for a light breeze, not a gale-force wind. This isn’t a time for raspberry sounds or strong gusts of air. The idea is to surprise and distract your baby, not to frighten or discomfort them. Also, avoid blowing directly into your baby’s mouth or nose. This could lead to discomfort or even potential harm, such as transmitting germs or causing breathing issues.

The Effect of Blowing on a Baby’s Face

Reactions and Facial Expressions

The reactions of babies to having someone blow on their faces can vary widely. Some babies might blink rapidly or squint their eyes, while others may open their eyes wide in surprise. Some might stop breathing or make an “O” with their mouth, a clear sign of surprise. Others might even break into a baby laugh, finding the sensation ticklish or amusing. These reactions are not only cute but also offer a fascinating insight into the baby’s developing sensory and cognitive responses.

Is It Harmful to Blow on a Baby’s Face?

Potential Risks

While this is a common and generally safe trick, it’s important to keep in mind that every baby is unique. Some babies might not like the sensation of having air blown on their faces. Some might even get startled or upset. And, of course, there’s always the risk of transferring germs if you’re not careful. As with any technique involving your baby, it’s crucial to pay close attention to their reactions and feelings. If your baby doesn’t seem to enjoy it or appears distressed, it’s best to stop and try other soothing techniques. Do not blow directly into the baby’s mouth or nose at any time.

Is There Scientific Evidence?

Currently, there isn’t much scientific research conducted on this specific topic. While we do know that the diving reflex is a real physiological response, how it translates into a practical parenting trick isn’t thoroughly studied. It’s more of a shared knowledge among parents rather than a scientifically proven method. However, as long as it’s done gently and responsibly, it’s considered safe.

Alternatives to Blowing on a Baby’s Face

Baby Massage

If your baby doesn’t take well to having air blown on their face, there are plenty of other calming techniques to try. One such method is baby massage. Baby massage is a wonderful way to bond with your baby and has been shown to promote relaxation and better sleep. It involves gently rubbing and stroking the baby’s body with your hands. As with any new activity, it’s best to start slowly and watch for your baby’s cues that they’re enjoying the experience.

Cuddling and Soothing Sounds

Cuddling is another tried-and-true method for calming a fussy baby. Holding your baby close provides them with a sense of security and comfort. Combining this with soft, soothing sounds can be even more effective. This could be the sound of your voice humming or singing, or a calming piece of music. Different babies respond to different things, so it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your baby.

What happens if you blow into a baby’s mouth or nose Accidentally?

Blowing in a baby’s mouth or nose can have potential risks and should be avoided to ensure their safety and well-being. Babies have delicate respiratory systems that are still developing, and introducing a sudden burst of air directly into their airways can be harmful.

Blowing into a baby’s mouth can pose a risk of aspiration, where the baby may inhale the air forcefully, leading to choking or difficulty in breathing. Similarly, blowing into their nose can create discomfort and potentially cause nasal irritation or blockage. It’s important to remember that babies rely on their natural breathing patterns, and forcefully blowing air into their airways disrupts this natural rhythm.

If accidentally blowing into the baby’s mouth or nose instead of blowing in the baby’s face, it’s crucial to observe their reaction and seek immediate medical attention if they exhibit signs of distress, such as difficulty breathing, choking, or excessive coughing. While it may be an unintentional mistake, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek professional advice to ensure the baby’s health and safety.

Preventing accidental blowing into a baby’s mouth or nose involves maintaining a safe distance when engaging in any blowing technique near their face. Being mindful of your breath and its direction can significantly reduce the chances of unintended air entering their airways.

Remember, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment is of utmost importance when caring for a baby. Taking precautionary measures and being vigilant in your interactions can help safeguard their well-being and prevent any potential harm.


In conclusion, blowing gently on a baby’s face is a common trick used by many parents to soothe a crying baby or simply to engage their attention. This unique method taps into the baby’s natural reflexes and can often provide a moment of surprise or amusement that interrupts their crying or fussing. It’s an easy, no-tools-required technique that can be tried anywhere, anytime.

However, as with any parenting technique, it’s important to be observant and sensitive to your baby’s responses. Not all babies may enjoy this, and it’s important to never force the issue if your baby seems uncomfortable. Always remember to blow gently and never directly into the baby’s nose or mouth.

If this technique doesn’t work for you or your baby, don’t be disheartened. Each baby is different, and part of the journey of parenting is finding out what works best for your unique child. There are plenty of other calming techniques to try, such as baby massage or cuddling, coupled with soothing sounds.

The most important thing is to provide a safe, loving, and comforting presence for your baby. Your patience, care, and attention are the most effective soothers. So, whether you’re blowing on your baby’s face or simply holding them close, remember that your love and care are the best comforts you can provide for your baby.

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Does blowing on a baby’s face harm them?As long as you’re gentle and don’t blow directly into their nose or mouth, it’s generally safe. However, always observe your baby’s reaction and stop if they seem distressed.
  2. Why does my baby stop crying when I blow on their face?The sudden change in air pressure and the diving reflex can distract and surprise your baby, causing them to stop crying momentarily.
  3. Can I use this trick to help my baby sleep? Some parents find this trick useful for calming their baby before sleep, but it’s not a guaranteed solution for all babies .
  4. What other methods can I use to calm a crying baby?Other methods include cuddling, singing, using a pacifier, or giving a baby massage.
  5. Do all babies have the diving reflex?Yes, all babies have this reflex, which allows them to hold their breath underwater. This reflex is also triggered when you blow on their face.
  6. Is it okay to blow on a baby’s face?Yes, it’s generally okay to gently blow on a baby’s face as a soothing method. However, it’s important to observe your baby’s reaction and stop if they seem uncomfortable or distressed.
  7. What do you blow on babies’ faces to get them to swallow?The act of blowing on a baby’s face can sometimes cause them to swallow as part of their natural reflexes. However, it’s important to remember that this should be done gently and never directly into the baby’s mouth.
  8. Can I blow in my baby’s nose?It’s not recommended to blow directly into your baby’s nose. This could potentially cause discomfort or harm. If your baby has a blocked nose, it’s best to use a baby nasal aspirator or saline drops.
  9. What is the bradycardic response in infants?The bradycardic response, or diving reflex, is a survival instinct in infants that causes them to hold their breath and slow their heart rate when their face comes into contact with water or when they experience a sudden breeze, such as when you gently blow on their face.
  10. At what age does the wind stop taking a baby’s breath away?Typically, as babies mature and gain better control over their reflexes and breathing patterns, they become less susceptible to the sensation of wind taking their breath away. Around the age of 6 to 12 months, babies generally have better coordination and control over their breathing, which reduces the likelihood of feeling breathless or startled by gusts of wind.




This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.