Wondering why your baby’s eyebrows are red? It might have something to do with sleep! Here’s what you can do about your baby’s red eyebrows.

Sleepy baby in crib rubbing eye with her hand

Sometimes I wonder how people raised babies before the Internet!

It’s impossible to count the number of times I found myself seeking answers online, scrolling through Google as I nursed my daughter in the middle of the night.

The fact that we have people on the Internet to turn to for answers is both a blessing and a curse. When you’re a new parent, there’s all sorts of online advice to filter through.

With so much information at our fingertips, it can be tricky to wade through all of the fact and fiction. That’s why I try to help new parents determine facts from old wives tales, especially when it comes to baby’s sleep.

Have you ever heard or read something about babies that sounded so strange, but it actually had some truth behind it?

For me, that was learning the reasons behind why baby’s eyebrows turn red. Would you believe that it might have something to do with sleep?

Here’s what I’ve learned about babies and red eyebrows.

Want a realistic newborn sleep schedule? Download my free newborn sleep schedule to see what a day with your newborn might look like. Click here to grab it. It’ll be super helpful.
Baby's eyebrows red due to overheating and baby crying

Why Do Baby Eyebrows Turn Red?

There are multiple factors that can cause red eyebrows in babies, ranging from situational to medical.

The more common and most innocuous cause of red eyebrows in babies is that they are tired.

But there are a couple other factors that can contribute to redness on your baby’s face as well.

Here are some reasons why your baby’s eyebrows may be turning red.

Baby is Tired

Redness around the eyebrows is a common sleepy cue and a good sign that it’s time to start your nap time routine with your baby.

Other sleep cues I usually see babies display when tired include:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Decreased activity
  • Starts zoning out
  • Less vocal / Quieter
  • Less social
  • Calmer

If you see any of these sleepy cues with your newborn and you’re within your newborn’s wake window, it’s likely time for a nap.

Baby’s Face is Red Due to Overheating

Your baby may experience redness in their face and over their eyes if they are feeling too warm. 

Sleep can be very dangerous for an overheated baby, so it’s important to learn how to dress your baby for sleep.

You can also familiarize yourself with signs that your baby is too hot while sleeping.

Check out these helpful posts to keep your baby safe in the summer heat:

Keep in mind that a baby’s eyebrows looking red is not in itself a cause for concern for overheating. However, if you notice eyebrow redness and it’s accompanied by irritability, rash, or fever, it’s worth a conversation with your pediatrician.

Skin Conditions That Can Cause Baby’s Eyebrows to Turn Red

It’s also possible that your baby’s eyebrows are red due to skin irritation and inflammation. This type of redness can be caused by any of the following medical skin conditions:

  • Eczema is a common skin condition that can cause dry, red, itchy patches of skin anywhere on the body.
  • Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that can cause swelling, redness, and even pimples on the face, and is often triggered by stress, diet, and/or sun exposure.
  • Folliculitis can infect or inflame hair follicles in the eyebrows, and is caused by fungus or bacteria.

If the redness doesn’t go away for a prolonged period of time, it’s likely that you’re dealing with a skin condition that will need medical attention.

Do Babies Get Red Eyebrows When Tired or Hungry?

While red eyebrows due to tiredness isn’t a cut-and-dry rule, I certainly experienced this with my daughter.

Many parents have reported that their baby’s eyebrows turn red when they are tired. It’s a fairly common phenomenon.

It’s worth noting, though, that not all babies will experience redness in their eyebrows when they’re tired. Every baby is different.

The severity of the redness will also vary from baby to baby. If your baby is fair-skinned, for example, you might notice redness more easily or frequently.

Do Red Eyebrows Always Mean Baby is Tired?

Red eyebrows can sometimes be a sign that a baby is tired, but are not a definitive indicator.

Newborns need a lot of sleep, especially those first few months.

When you’re trying to determine if your baby may be tired, try to look at the bigger picture and ask yourself additional questions:

Watch out for other signs like yawning, eye rubbing, decreased activity, fussiness, or overall irritability. These are also indicators that your little one is feeling tired. If you notice red eyebrows alongside these other signs, then your baby is probably ready for sleep.

Why Are Baby’s Eyebrows Red When Tired?

Babies can’t really tell us when they’re tired, as much as we wish they could. What we can do is learn to read their emotional and physical cues that show us they’re getting sleepy.

When babies are tired or hungry, their bodies go through physiological changes. Their blood vessels dilate, resulting in skin redness. 

For example, when your baby is tired, their body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. The cortisol increases blood flow and makes their skin flush.

You might notice this redness more on places like the face, particularly above the eyes. That’s because there is less fat stored there, and skin is thinner and more transparent.

Aside from the hormonal changes happening when your baby is tired, there’s another reason their eyebrows might look red.

They’re rubbing their face.

You’ve probably noticed that one of your baby’s sleepy cues is that they will rub their eyes. If they’ve been rubbing their eyes quite a bit, it can cause skin irritation and redness in the eyebrow area.

What To Do If Baby’s Eyebrows Are Red

If you notice your baby’s eyebrows are red but it’s not paired with more serious medical symptoms, it’s pretty safe to say that the culprit for the redness is that they’re tired.

When your baby’s eyebrows are red due to tiredness, here are some things you can do to help:

1. Start watching for other sleep cues.

We definitely don’t get an instruction manual with our newborns. But if we watch them closely, they will find ways to communicate that they’re tired.

When babies are younger than three months, they actually have pretty predictable ways to show you that they’re ready to sleep.

Rubbing their eyes and eyebrows is just one of many sleep cues that babies can give you.

If you notice your baby’s eyebrows are red, start watching for other sleepy cues like zoning out or yawning.

2. Pay attention to your baby’s wake windows.

Young babies have very short wake windows. This means that the period of time that they can comfortably stay awake between sleep cycles is a relatively short amount of time.

When babies are young, they build up sleep pressure quickly. Your newborn can only be awake for a short amount of time before they need to sleep again.

Once you have a clear understanding of how long your baby can stand to be awake, their routine will click into place.

If you have a good grasp on how long your little one can stay awake without getting overtired, you can anticipate their tiredness and start their bedtime routine at the right time.

3. Start the bedtime or nap time routine.

Once you determine that your little one’s red eyebrows are a sign that they’re ready to sleep, start the process of getting them down.

I always tell the families that it’s never too early to start a bedtime routine with your baby. We started one the day that we came home from the hospital.

But keep in mind that it’s never too late to implement a bedtime routine, either. 

Keeping a consistent order of events before lights out helps you establish sleep associations for your baby. These sleep associations communicate to them that it’s time to start winding down.

It also sets them up for successful independent sleep habits down the line.

Keep in mind that bedtime routines aren’t just for night time. You should have a nap time routine as well.

newborn sleep program

Let’s Get Your Newborn to Sleep!

Red eyebrows are just one of the many things your sleepy newborn will throw at you! I’m here to help you navigate this cuddly but challenging time in your newborn’s sleep journey.

For more newborn sleep tips and tricks, check out my Newborn Sleep Program.

This info-packed course will take you less than an hour to complete. It contains eight short videos outlining my proven process for establishing newborn sleep routines.

It’s designed with sleep-deprived parents in mind, so you can get clear and easy sleep help even when you’re exhausted.

Check out the Newborn Sleep Program now and help your newborn and family get the sleep you need.

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