Why Do Babies Put Their Hand In Mouth?

3 min read

Supriya Singh
Words hold immense power to change the world. I'm here to inspire and spread positivity.

With the arrival of a newborn baby, the life of the new mom and dad turns into a roller coaster ride filled with lots of tired and sleepless nights, days when you doubt yourself and the days when you can’t believe you have become responsible parents.

Although, before the due date, you may think you have covered everything that you need to know about raising a newborn baby, there will be a few things you may miss. So, today we will be covering why babies put their hand in mouth and the possible risks when babies put their hand in mouth.

Reasons why babies put their hand in mouth?

Investigation

Everything that babies see, hear, touch, and eat is totally brand-new information for them. In the initial phase, babies try to understand and find out what a particular thing is by putting it in their mouths. 

This explains a number of things that babies do. Almost all babies and even we as a baby have put something inedible in our mouths. Similarly, babies put their hand in mouth to investigate and understand the wonders about the hand.

Teething – milk teeth ready to come out

Teething occurs when the milk teeth are ready to emerge out of the gums of the baby. This can start in a baby of 6 months age up to 12 months. There are several signs to detect teething in babies – one of them is when babies put their put in mouth and chew or when a baby sucks their hands or thumb. 

During the teething phase, babies feel uneasy in their gums, hence they put hands in their mouths for some relief. 

Empty tummy

The biggest problem when you have become a mom for the first time is knowing when your baby is or will get hungry. At times, you will think when will my baby start to talk.

Commonly, babies with an empty tummy cry in a particular way to express and draw attention. But a newborn baby sucks their hands or thumb as well when hungry.

But why do babies put their hand in mouth if hungry? Well, it can be said newborn babies have their food by sucking, right? So, when they get hungry, babies naturally start to smack their lips or sucks their thumb or hand.

A way to relax

We all love to relax. Babies love to relax, as well. Like we engage in activities that soothe us, babies also do the same, helping them to fall asleep. One such way is when babies put their hand in mouth or thumb and suck. 

Overwhelmed or stressed out

Other than this, babies put their hand in mouth when they get bored or when they become overwhelmed by any situation at the moment. We barely keep this in mind but newborn babies can get confused as well just like us, although they are just a tiny person. To accommodate the situation, babies put their hands in mouth by reflex to get some soothing effect. 

Under extreme and rare situations, some kids who go through a traumatic or uneasy experience may also start putting their thumb or hand in their mouth to cope up with the anxiety. If you have seen the Netflix series- Mindhunter, you will know as they have depicted this particular issue.

Risks when babies put their hand in mouth

Generally speaking, there are no serious risks if babies put their hand in mouth whether to suck or chew. 

  • Germs get a chance to enter the body

However, there is the possibility of the germs entering their mouth through their hand. This is only possible if the hands of the baby are unclean. So, if you see your baby sucking his/her thumb or hand, be sure to keep those teeny weeny fingers and hands clean and tidy. 

  • They may get hurt

Although most babies stop sucking their thumbs or hands after a particular phase, some babies continue doing this. This can become a problem when they get their milk teeth.

Frequent sucking of the thumb or hand or simply putting their hands in the mouth may bruise their tiny fingers. So, look out for your baby, if the milk teeth are out, then try to distract or stop your baby from putting his/her hand in mouth.

  • The dentition may get disturbed

Dentition simply means the positioning of our teeth. So, after the development of the milk teeth, when a baby sucks his/her hands, it may cause disruption in the teeth positioning.

This means, even if the teeth have developed, the foundation is still not strong, so when babies keep putting hands in their mouth, it will hamper the proper positioning of the teeth.

How to stop babies from putting their hand in mouth

Like we said earlier, babies normally discontinue putting their hands in the mouth on reaching the age of 2, but in exceptional cases, some continue to do so. In such situations, you can try the following:

  • If your baby is in the teething phase, then you can distract his/her attention from the hand or thumb by offering a teething toy. 
  • Since babies cannot talk initially, to express their needs they try all sorts of actions. Hence, take a moment and check what your baby needs or if your baby is teething. 
  • It is said when newborn babies put their hands in mouth, it is, in fact, a positive sign of development. This indicates that your baby will slowly start to explore the nearby objects as well that are within his/her reach. So, be mindful of what you keep near your baby
  • If you notice, your child has gone back to sucking his/her thumb or hand, consult with the child specialist asap. Or, if your child is continuing to put hands in mouth after the age of 2, then a visit to the doctor is also necessary. 

So, these are some points on why babies put their hand in mouth that we think are important for a new mother-to-be to know. Raising a newborn is no simple task. There will always be some things that will get to learn on your own when you nurture your baby. It is indeed a beautiful experience to be a mother and raise a newborn baby!

All the best☺