Baby Likes to Eat Her Hand

Baby Likes to Eat Her HandMy baby likes to eat her hand.

She tries to stick her entire hand in her mouth and chomps down on her own hand with her gums. Thankfully she has no teeth yet, but it still looks like she is happily munching on her hand.

Arya started eating her hand a few weeks ago, but in the past few days she has been eating her hand constantly.

It’s not necessarily a problem that baby likes to eat her hand. But it will be a problem if Arya eventually wants to suck her thumb. Thumb-sucking is bad for jaw development and dentist Mommy absolutely does not want baby sucking her thumb. It’s likely that Arya’s current hand eating is a primitive form of self-soothing thumb-sucking.

Other parents have noted that hand eating leads to thumb-sucking. Our daughter doesn’t like her pacifier, but we are considering encouraging her to use the the pacifier instead of her hand.

Baby Likes to Eat Her Hand - ChewingAt first we thought her hand chewing was a sign of hunger. But now we’ve learned that baby will suck on her hand even after she is completely full. She will burp up excess milk because she ate too much and then she will eat her hand to calm herself down from the disturbing burp.

Unfortunately when she is actually hungry she will also put her hand in her mouth. Eating her hand is now her primary method of showing hunger, but she also puts her hand in her mouth for soothing throughout the day.

Babies around Arya’s age (14-weeks) are not particularly coordinated with the hands and definitely not coordinated enough to separate their thumbs from the rest of their fingers. However as even newborn babies show hand-to-mouth coordination, it’s hard for us to separate our daughter’s “I’m hungry” hand eating from her “I’m self-soothing” hand eating.

We looked for more definitive information about babies putting their hands in their mouths, but most resources seem to gloss over the difference between hunger cues and calming behavior. Hopefully our baby will grow out of eating her hand and, more importantly not grow into sucking her thumb.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Charlee

    After the post you referenced, I should definitely give you a follow up on that. :) TS did indeed suck her thumb…for a week. After that, she started to do a funny little “imaginary thumb suck” on the heel of her hand whenever she’s tired – and now, at 20 months, she just twiddled her hair and sucks her own tongue when she’s sleepy. So, not a pacifier-addict or a thumb sucker – RESULT! I think either route is completely fine though; they will always grow out of habits in the end. Thanks for the linky – reminded me to write an updated post on this, which I’ll do today if I get a chance.

    Have a lovely weekend! x

    1. Nolan Kido

      Thanks for your comment and the update. Glad to hear your little one only sucked her thumb for a week. Hopefully ours will be as easy too!

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