My Baby Fake Coughs (Is It Normal and What Should You Do?)

Did your baby just let out a fake cough? You do everything possible to keep your baby happy and healthy. The little kiddo looks just fine setting there in their swing. But is your little one trying to manipulate you with that cough?

If you are a new parent, you may be surprised to learn that your baby can fake a cough. Occasionally it may sound real, but it is often clearly fake and sometimes even accompanied by a smile. Your little one has noticed that real coughs garner your attention and are either signaling they would like your attention or even playing a game with you.

Want to learn more about your baby’s fake cough? Keep reading!

Can a baby fake cough?

You’re walking around the house doing chores and cleaning up, then you hear it. Your baby begins coughing from the next room. The kiddo had been happy and did not seem sick at all earlier. You rush into your baby’s room to find the little stinker looking up at you with a giant grin on their face! Did your six-month-old baby just play you? Yes, they did!

Usually, around four to six months old, your baby will begin to copy the things they see you doing. What the little one sees is you responding when other people around you make that coughing noise. They want the same attention that you are giving to others. They can not jump up onto your keyboard or lap like a cat will to get your attention, so they copy the coughing noise. 

You do not have to worry, though. Your baby’s fake cough is entirely normal and is, in fact, a healthy sign. It shows they are becoming aware of what is going on around them and beginning to use cause and effect principles.

It is pretty obvious when you run into your baby’s room, and they are looking at you with a sly little grin that they are fake coughing. However, there are signs to look out for that may indicate something more is going on. If your baby has any of the following symptoms with a cough, it could not hurt to check in with your pediatrician:

  • Check your baby’s temperature. If their temperature is high, it could indicate an infection of some sort.
  • Shallow or difficulty breathing could indicate an upper respiratory issue. Be very aware if your baby is coughing and showing signs of distress that they may be choking!
  • Trouble sleeping due to the cough could point to something more than a fake cough.
  • Changes in bowel patterns.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Coughing and spitting up could mean your baby is developing acid reflux.
  • Having a runny nose could indicate your baby is getting a cold.

Fake coughing sounds

Fake coughing can be among the first verbal noises your baby will make.

The actual sound can be anything from what you think a normal cough would be, or it can sound fake and forced. Along with coughs, you may start to see and hear your little faker begin to sneeze and make gurgling sounds. 

Again, this is normal and should not be cause for concern in most cases. You will often run in panicked to check on your little angel only to find him with a mischievous little smile. The kid may even laugh at you as you burst into the room!

Why is my baby fake coughing?

It may initially be frustrating when your baby fake coughs because you are stressing yourself out over a non-existent illness, but your little one isn’t trying to frustrate you!

Very often your baby is fake coughing because they want your attention for themselves. Not that it is a bad thing, but the more attention you give your baby when he fake coughs, the more likely he is to do it again. It is just a game! And babies are all fun and games, right? There are other reasons they fake their coughs, though. 

Baby’s are drool machines and often just let it all run out of their mouths. But babies are curious little things and will start to play with the drool in their mouths and cough. It is just a game and fun for them to drool and play with the spit! That is actually another reason babies play cough; it is just fun for them. The cough is a new sound to them, and they just enjoy making and hearing the sound.

It is worth mentioning that if your baby is not fake coughing, you should not worry. Not all babies will fake cough. It does not point to any developmental issues; they simply just are not into it.

Baby is fake coughing while teething

Will your baby fake cough while teething? Yes, but maybe not.

Your little one can put out a lot of drool when they start teething. Your baby may just be playing around with the saliva and learning what they can and can’t do with it. 

You should keep an eye on your little slobber-box and make sure they are not choking on their drool. If the cough is causing your little guy to sound distressed, talk to your doctor about what you can do to help your little buddy out.

Baby fake coughs when hungry

There are a lot of cues your baby uses to show they are hungry.

You know the usual things, holding out their tongue, smacking lips, putting their hands into their mouths. Your little one can even cough to signal they are hungry.

They could be making themselves cough to get your attention and then adding in their other signals.

Do babies fake cough at 2 or 3 months?

Most often, if your baby is going to fake cough, they will do so around four to six months old.

This is the age range that your baby starts to explore their environment and how they can interact with it. It will begin to click in their little minds that making that noise will get mommy and daddy’s attention!

If your baby is coughing at around 2 to 3 months, they may simply need a little bit of help. Try sitting them up or patting their back to help clear everything out.

Should I stop my baby from fake coughing?

You do not have to stop your baby from fake coughing, but it may become a habit. The first few times your baby pulls this stunt, you will probably find it pretty funny and cute. However, it can become too much of a good thing.

If you come running or give them attention every time you hear the fake cough, it will only reinforce the habit. In your calmest and sweetest voice, you may need to let your little faker know that they should stop doing that. If reasoning with your 6-month old doesn’t work, you may have to ignore them.

It should not take long till they give this tactic up and try to find another way to get your attention.

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