Why Do Babies Fake Cough

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Why Do Babies Fake Cough

Various reasons can bring about a cough. Mild irritation to a severe illness that needs immediate attention is one of the reasons. A coughing baby creates awareness to a parent or a caregiver as you will find them rushing to check the baby. Sometimes when they run to see, the little one will giggle and give a naughty face. That will be a fake cough. You can as well cough back, and it will be fun for the baby. But now why do babies fake cough? We are going to look at some of the reasons behind a baby’s phony cough.

It is essential to differentiate between a natural cough and so that you can attend to a baby’s needs within the shortest time possible. If you find out that your baby is faking a cough, you don’t have to worry about it as it is a way of socializing for them, and probably they are learning new skills. However, if your baby looks sick or unhealthy, you will notice this by a prolonged cough. After witnessing this, you will have to consult a doctor. Even though you are aware that your baby coughs, you have to monitor them so that nothing goes wrong with them.

Why Do Babies Fake Cough

Is it normal for babies to fake coughs?

In most cases, faking a cough is one way of seeking attention from caregivers. Most parents will rush and check their baby’s welfare as something might not be adding up. By doing so, the little one gets the attention they need. Others go to the extent of sneezing as a way of seeking attention.

At the age of six months, these fake coughs might begin; this is after the babies become more social as they learn to respond to sound and make some. As a baby’s brain develops, they will try curious things to seek attention from the parent.

Babies tend to cough, sneeze or make noises as they are learning how to make sounds and how the sound will impact their surroundings. They often consider coughing a better way of getting their parent’s attention. Now it is essential to know that a baby can fake cough, and you don’t have to worry.  They just  love to play and cough a lot.

Reasons behind a babies fake cough


Your baby would probably be developing new skills if you find them faking a cough. Babies do cough for these reasons.

  1. Seeking attention

Babies find coughing a fantastic way of seeking attention from their parents. It is the most important reason for their fake cough. When the baby coughs, the parent rushes and checks on them, cuddles the baby, and of course, the baby feels good and excited. After the attention the baby received, they will try it once more. The little attention you will offer the baby will inspire him to repeat it over and over again. Usually, when you have another baby and they receive attention after coughing, they will also try to receive the same attention.

Why Do Babies Fake Cough
  1. Learning to make noise

Faking a cough can be a non-verbal communication skill. The baby will perceive cough as a sound, and it will excite them. Babies tend to imitate the voices they hear before they start talking. The toddler can imitate the cough sound after hearing someone cough.

  1. Playing

Babies think that coughing is a way of playing with their caregivers. The reaction a parent will give when the baby coughs could make the baby feel it’s a fun game. When a baby starts to giggle or smile, they probably were craving and sought it better to fake a cough to create a play.

You should also note that it is vital to know if your baby has a fake cough. There are conditions such as asthma or airway irritants that could cause dry cough for a short time, and the baby will end up looking fine without you noticing.

How to differentiate between a real and fake cough

Babies stop faking cough when they get the attention they need, and they will giggle and smile. You will see the happiness in them when you respond to their fake cough, which usually sounds more like a dry cough than a wet cough. There are episodes of coughing in a fake cough. It is typically continuous, generally loud, and hacking.

Respiratory illness could differentiate between a natural cough, and such conditions include bacterial bronchitis or trespass of foreign particles into the baby’s respiratory tract. When you notice that it is a natural cough, you should seek medical attention immediately. Ignoring continuous coughing in a baby is not a wise thing because there might be a severe problem without your consent having in mind that babies can’t talk.

Many causes can result from coughing, and some of these related symptoms are the following.

  • Pale skin

You may know when your baby fakes a cough, but you should seek medical assistance if you see some of the symptoms highlighted here.

Note that it is a normal thing for babies to fake coughs for a longer duration without any visible severe illness. Babies who are sick will end up crying, and they don’t see it fit to cough as a means of communicating that they are sick.

How to stop babies from faking a cough


It can be fun if your baby fakes a cough two to three times. Nonetheless, it can be provoking if they persist and do it more often. If your baby is prone to faking a cough most of the time, you will have to develop a technique to eliminate this cumbersome behavior. It will be more professional to ask them what they want and in a gentle and loving tone. Don’t use a loud voice to scare the baby and make them not understand what you intend to say.

Why Do Babies Fake Cough

Suppose you have noticed that your baby fakes cough more often. It will be wise to ignore some coughs which you are sure that they are after attention. The baby will naturally stop faking a cough when the parents or caregivers ignore it.

When to see a doctor


If you see signs of respiratory illness in your baby’s cough, you will have to seek medical attention. A pediatrician’s attention is needed when a severe cough is constantly found in infants below three months old. You will have to see a doctor at times because you might have ignored some real coughs thinking they were fake.

Some coughs require medical attention. Some of them are wet cough, dry coughs, barking cough, nocturnal cough, whooping cough, and cough with sputum. Some coughs that accompany whistling sounds need medical care. Babies don’t tend to fake coughs for a long time, so you better see a pediatrician when you have noticed some symptoms and persistent cough.

Even if it would be lovely to see your little one faking a cough or even trying to, you need not encourage them to be idle. When you let the baby be passive, they will continue doing this over a long period, which would provoke the parents. They will often fake coughs when you pay close attention to them and play with them. It will be wise to encourage them to play with you rather than faking a cough.

Faking cough is a normal thing for babies, nevertheless you always have to be on a safer side. You should look for signs to know if your baby requires medical attention and consult a pediatrician to ensure that your baby is safe and sound.

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Hello Moms! I am Alice (Allie). Founder of HerScoop. I am Mom Blogger and Mom of 2 Boys.