Baby Sucking On Hand – Causes and Tips to Deal With It

Baby Putting Hands in Mouth – Causes and Tips to Deal With It

Many children stuff their thumbs into their mouths and keep sucking on them all day. And if you pull it away, you’ll get the angriest look ever, followed by incessant crying. Between the ages of two and four, baby sucking on hand stops. See a paediatrician if a child is still licking their hands in kindergarten because this can obstruct secondary or permanent teething. Read ahead to know why baby sucks on hand and what can you do about it? We’ll tell you.

Video: Baby Putting Hands in Mouth – Reasons & How to Deal with It

Also Read: How To Stop Your Baby From Putting Everything In His Mouth?

Is It Common for Babies to Put Their Hands in Mouth?

Infants frequently put their hands in their mouths, which may signify boredom. Most of the time, it’s natural, and your baby will outgrow it in due course. It’s nothing to worry about if you notice that your infant enjoys biting on their hand. Generally speaking, it’s something that your child enjoys and finds reassuring.

Why Does Your Baby Keep Putting His Fingers in His Mouth?

Why Does Your Baby Keep Putting His Fingers in His Mouth?

There are many reasons why little ones suck on their thumbs and fingers. Some of them are:

  • Usually, sucking on fingers is a baby’s way of handling a lot of stimulation. These could be new people, noise, and anything else that can overwhelm him. Sucking on something reminds him that he’s safe. This is usually accompanied by yawning or moving the head from one side to another.
  • Another popular reason why babies suck on their fingers is hunger. They don’t understand that only the breasts hold milk and think sucking on their thumb will give them milk. This may also be a way of communicating that he is hungry. When babies go through growth spurts, During growth spurts, even after feeding, they may suck on their fingers.
  • It may also be that your baby is bored, so he is putting his hands inside his mouth. This can happen when he wants to play, but everyone is asleep. At other times, your child might want to play with hanging toys. If they’re kept out of reach, he may suck his fingers instead.
  • If your baby doesn’t spot you in the same room, is struggling to pass a fart or has a wet diaper, he may not start crying immediately. Your baby might try to soothe himself by sucking his thumb with utmost focus.
  • Many babies tend to sleep while feeding and develop the habit of having a nipple in their mouth when they fall asleep. Your child could be using his fingers to put himself to sleep if he doesn’t find a breast or nipple.
  • As your baby gets older, teething causes pain and irritation in the gums and a lot of drooling. Your baby might feel like chewing on something to relieve the pain. Putting fingers in their mouth and pressing on them is the quickest way he handles the trouble.
  • This may also be your baby’s way of exploring the world around him. As his vision and hearing haven’t developed fully, he may depend on his sense of taste to get to know the things around him.

Risks of Baby Putting Hands in Mouth

The American Dental Association (ADA) claims that hand or thumb sucking does not result in problems with mouth development throughout the first few years of life. After the age of four, hand sucking might harm permanent teeth. You must consult a paediatrician to eliminate a preschooler’s thumb or hand-sucking habit.

How Long Does This Last?

The habit of thumb and finger sucking usually lasts till a baby turns 6 or 7 months old and sometimes may continue till the age of 2. However, even a child who has stopped sucking may regress to it if he feels under stress. 

How Can You Stop Your Baby From Putting His Hands/Fingers in His Mouth?

  • If your baby is sucking on his finger, he might be hungry, especially if he is in a growth spurt. Breastfeed him right away if possible, or feed him with bottled breastmilk or formula milk, if you need some rest. Do keep your doctor in the loop about his progress.
  • If your baby shoves his fist into his mouth, you can entice him to remove his hand by giving him a toy. This will make him want to grab it, for which he must bring his hand out. There is a good chance he will stuff the toy instead, so opt for a soft toy or something clean and chewable. Some babies also keep sucking one hand and use the other hand to grab the toy.
  • This might come as a surprise, but it is best to let your baby be himself is a good sign of his development and means that he is gradually getting independent. Do check whether his diaper is wet or he’s facing any discomfort.
  • Teething pain can get out of hand for your little one. A quick home remedy is to use a cold teething ring. The low temperature can alleviate much of the pain he can chew on the ring without any worries.
  • Some babies want to suckle even after they’ve had their fill. In such cases, you can give him a pacifier after every feed to break this habit.
  • Spend time with your little one. Talk to him, sing, or play with his favourite toy. With some stimulation, he can be distracted from sucking his fingers.

When Should I Be Worried?

Thumb and finger sucking isn’t a cause of concern till your baby’s teeth erupt. If your child’s teeth are in place and he still puts his hands inside his mouth, it can affect the positioning of the teeth. And this will increase the chances of dental problems. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, only children above the age of 5 who have this habit need treatment.

Babies put their hands in their mouths for various reasons – from the most obvious to surprising ones. Be alert, and regularly opt for ways to stop your baby from doing that. Soon, he will either learn to distract himself or let go of the habit completely.


1. Why Is Your Baby Aggressively Eating Their Hands and Crying?

Baby chewing on their hands and crying could be because they may be experiencing oral discomfort or under stress, according to Dr Wiener. Even though your baby seems to be eating enough, it might not get enough calories. In such situations, looking at their nutritional health can be necessary.

2. Should I Allow My Baby to Put Their Hands in Their Mouth?

Many call babies putting their hands in their ‘baby eating hands’, which is pretty common as they generally do it to calm themselves. They might soon break the habit. Thus there is nothing wrong with that. Yet, dangers present themselves when a newborn puts a dirty hand in their mouth. Hence, ensure the baby’s hands and the surrounding areas are clean. But if your infant displays other pain symptoms when placing their hands in their mouths, let your paediatrician know immediately.

Also Read:

The Importance of Letting Your Baby Play on the Floor
How Babies Use Touch to Explore The New World
Baby Sleeping on The Floor: Pros and Cons

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