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3-Month Old Rubbing Eyes Frequently--even After Waking from a Nap

My 3-month old has started rubbing his eyes more frequently lately. It really worries me because he'll dig his fingers into his eyes, so I'm afraid he's going to scratch his eyeball! I've read that this means he could just be sleepy, but he does this soon after waking up from a nap and pretty much tries this whenever he can. Any ideas?

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Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your responses. It's funny because my husband swore up and down that it was allergies and I didn't listen to him because, well, he didn't really read about it and just guessed. I think it's a combination of possible allergies and sleepiness. I noticed that he scratches his eyes more when we have our cockatiel around and also in a specific room. So, I now make sure to keep the cockatiel away from the baby and to make sure the rooms are aired out AND that the air purifier does a quick clean in the beginning and end of the day. So far, this seems to work. I'll definitely mention this in our next checkup to see if anything else is going on. The baby is also discovering his hands (loves to suck on them), so this can contribute to the scratching as well.

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My pediatrician told me that it could also be because my lil one was teething. DS wud rub eyes and nose, sometimes also head..all these are the places where it irritates while teething.

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My pediatrician told me that it could also be because my lil one was teething. DS wud rub eyes and nose, sometimes also head..all these are the places where it irritates while teething.

Sounds like it may be allergies resulting in itchy eyes and or dryness in the eyes.

C., as a temporary relief you can try taking a clean, wet washcloth and wiping off his hands and face after he wakes up and you pick him up. There might be an allergen on the bed or the sheets that can be easily wiped off his face (dust, etc). Sometimes just washing the face like that can remove the irritants and he won't rub.

Hi! My daughter, now 12 months, rubbed her eyes from day one. We thought it was weird and dangerous with those untrained fingers poking into her eyes. She didn't mind, and still rubs her eyes - when she's tired, when she's hungry, whenever. She has no allergies or other troubles that we are aware of yet and now that she understands how to use her hands no more eye lid scratches or weary parents! Hope this helps.

First, discuss this with your pediatrician and have your child examined. If nothing comes of this, make an appt. with a pediatric opthamologist. There could be something wrong or it could just be an irritation. But do have it checked out.

Sounds like allergies. My baby will continue to rub his even after a nap when his allergies are kicking up again - also with all the smoke in the skies, it hasn't been helping, if it's a real problem you might have to ask the doc. Good luck and congrats on the little one!

Your son might have clogged tear ducts. Try a clean, warm compress (a wash cloth works well) in the corner of his eye and the area below his eye. Sometimes that works well...I've been dealing with my own personal clogged ducts for awhile now and I know how much they itch and feel funny. Good luck, J.

Dear C.,
It may be that your son is rubbing his eyes because he is tired. But, I would guess that something is maybe irritating them.
When he wakes up, try rinsing his eyes with cool water.
Try changing laundry soaps, fabric softener or the types of clothing you have him in.
I know that the first sign of allergies for me and my kids is that our eyes go itching like crazy. If I am outside when someone has mowed a lawn, I will wake myself up in the night scratching my eyes.
Check for any possible allergens. Wash his bedding and clothing in hot water. Try different shampoos or laundry detergents. Eliminate things one at a time and keep track.
Take him to the pediatrician or mention it at the next well baby check to see if it's an allergy.

Best of wishes.

Allergies, perhaps? Maybe to dust mites? Ask the doctor.

My 3-month old son does the same thing. He doesn't seem to have any problems with his eyes, it almost seems more like a discovery thing for him. I am planning on asking the pediatrician at his 3 month check-up.

It really sounds like an allergic reaction to me. My daughter is mildly allergic, and that's one of her symptoms. I too used to think it was sleepiness. Try paying more attention to when/where it happens, if she's in a dusty environment, etc. and consider allergies. Good luck!

Hi C.,

It sounds like your baby may have some allergies. Do you use non toxic cleaning products, laundry soap and soaps etc? That is a great start.

I am introduced to a Children's Wellness Expo this Sat Aug 2 in Sunnyvale. There will be doctors coming from around the country to put this event together. They will be talking about children's challenges and how important it is to put your children and families in a healthier environment to stay healthy.

If this is something you are interested in let me know and I will send you a flier and put you on the guest list as there is limited seating.

Wish you well.

N. Marie

Sounds like allergies. See the ped. (s)he will tell you for sure and help you decide what to do. Because my daughters allergies cause so many problems (ear and sinus infections) that kept her on antibiotics for most of her first year of life, we decided to put her Claratin liquid a 12 mo. It worked wonders. We couldn't move out of our house, which we suspected was the problem. When we did move all the allergies went away.


My daughter always does this when she is tired. He may be going through a growth spurt and needs more sleep. He could also be waking up from a nap and not be able to put himself back to sleep even though he is still tired. How long are his naps and overall sleep? I think babies sleep around 16 total hours or so at that age.

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