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Baby Fake Coughing: Should You Worry?

Babies tend to have weird habits overall, and many parents worry about them. Babies are babies and will do all kinds of things. So, I wouldn’t say you should worry too much about them.

Yet again, there is one thing babies do: the fake cough! Why do babies fake cough? Is there a hidden reason behind this habit?

In this article, we will break down in detail what the causes might be, why your baby does it, and what it means in general.

Main Points

  • Fake cough is one of the first things babies learn to do, and it is super common.
  • Attention, fun, imitation, and noise are the reasons why your baby may fake cough.
  • Fake coughing after becoming one or two years old may be too much for you; make sure to help your children get rid of this habit.
  • Temperature, fever, cold, refluxes, breathing difficulties, and allergies are what distinguish fake and real coughs.
  • If you notice that the cough is real, you should seek help from the pediatrician!

Why Do Babies Fake Cough? – Reasons

When your baby becomes six months old (most of the time), they start a new circle of life, and you will find them fake coughing.

Babies fake cough for many reasons such as attention, fun, imitation, too much saliva, and making sounds and noise.

Getting Attention

So, you know babies love attention, and it doesn’t matter how old they are. If you are in the same room with your baby and the baby is craving attention, they do two things: make noises and fake cough.

Babies are clever in some ways, especially when it comes to attention-seeking. Once babies notice that when coughing you are all about the baby, you should know that they will repeat it.

Fake coughing for attention is one of the normal-weird habits babies do! Once you get near them and start playing, they forget to do it.

Having Fun and Goofing

Besides the need for attention babies also love to have fun and goof around with their parents, their siblings, or whoever is in the room, someone they like.

When your baby starts coughing, you can be sure they are telling you they need to play. Well, typically they do it for attention, but to get the message through, they want to play or be busy with doing something.

Also Read: Is a Trampoline Safe for 2 Year Olds?

Imitating Somebody

Imitation is one of the first things babies older than three months do, and if you see that after somebody coughs or sneezes, your baby starts to cough, you should remember that it is the imitation that leads to fake coughing.

Dealing with Saliva

Interestingly, fake cough is also related to the amount of saliva the babies have. When the baby’s saliva glands are super active, with the help of fake cough, babies get rid of it. Besides that, they also love to play with their own saliva.

Learning to Get Noisy

Babies start to hear way before they start to see, and they tend to understand more from hearing than seeing in the early stages. That concludes the fact that fake coughing is a result of noise! They love noise and sound in general and fake coughing is the best and most interesting noise a baby can make.

Can I Stop My Baby’s Fake Coughing?

After you find the reasons for fake coughing in babies, you are relieved somehow, but still, I know that as a parent, you cannot listen to your baby’s fake coughing all the time. I know it needs to stop at some point because fake coughing for a baby older than one year is a bit extreme.

Once your baby is older than one year old, you can talk to them or show them other manners on how they can play or get attention from you.

The habit of fake coughing is weird sometimes, but still, babies are babies, and you, as a mom or dad, should remember that not everything that might look health-related in babies is truly so. Lucky enough for parents, these habits can change.

Also Read: Why Do Babies’ Feet Sweat?

When Should Parents Worry About Baby’s Coughing? – When is it real?

I know a parent worries a lot about their baby, and even if you know the reasons for fake coughing, you will worry about them. Yet again, there are a few ways you can distinguish between a fake cough and a real cough.

Temperature, fever, breathing difficulties, refluxes of any kind, and the loss of appetite are the main things to check out if you doubt real coughing.

Temperature, Fever, and Cold

Temperature and fever are two of the most common things babies may have, and they can cause coughing really quickly. Overall, having a cold is also one of the main reasons your baby may cough for real.

If you notice some signs of fever or high temperature, and if you think they had a cold, the cough is real, and your baby is not faking it.


You probably have seen some babies struggling when it comes to breathing. It is crucial for you to check out how your baby is breathing, and I’m sure you already do.

Still, when in doubt about fake or real coughs, a super-rapid breath of your baby brings out real coughing.


After you feed your baby, no matter whether you breastfeed them or they love the bottled milk, there are some refluxes that may make your baby cough, which indicates coughing whether it is fake or normal.

Refluxes tend to affect 40% of newborns.


As a parent, you will find out about your newborns’ allergies over time. Allergies will make your baby cough, but sometimes it might not be that serious, and sometimes it can be serious. What you can do is talk with an expert if you are suspecting that your baby has some kind of allergy.

Important: Everything mentioned above in noticing a real cough, is related to paying a visit to the pediatrician. If you see fever, temperature, too many refluxes, allergies, and breathing difficulties, make sure to ask for help from the doctor.

Also Read: At What Age Do Babies Become Ticklish?

Final Words

Babies have different habits of messing around with you, and fake coughing is the first thing they learn. Of course, babies do this by exploring the abilities they have.

You shouldn’t worry about fake coughing; it is super-normal and doesn’t cause anything to your babies, as long as they do it for attention.

Yet again, it is vital for parents to notice a fake cough when compared to a real cough. Baby fake cough is a typical habit, and you shouldn’t worry, but if you suspect that it’s not fake, then I recommend you talk to an expert!

All content and media on RaisingSmallSouls is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The information on this website is not meant to take the place of expert medical assistance, advice, or consultations. You should speak with a medical expert if you have any worries or inquiries while pregnant.