7 Reasons Why Babies Chew on Their Hands
Babies have a natural tendency to explore their environment through their senses, including touch and taste. This is why many babies put their hands in their mouths, and why hand-chewing is a common behavior among infants. Hand-chewing can serve several purposes for babies which we gathered below in order to guide our parents during their journey with their little ones.
Reasons Why Babies Chew on Their Hands
If you have observed your baby chewing on their fingers, and sometimes toes, you might have wondered about the reasons why babies tend to enjoy this behavior. Primarily, babies have a tendency to chew on many objects, so there might not be a definite reason other than the fact that they are capable of doing so. Additionally, hand-chewing aids them in understanding their surroundings as babies gain knowledge by putting things in their mouths. Apart from exploration, there are seven other reasons why babies indulge in hand-chewing.
A baby chewing on hands is quite a natural phenomenon for a variety of reasons. Here are some possible reasons why babies chew on their hands:
- Teething: When a baby is teething, they may experience discomfort or pain in their gums, which can cause the baby chewing on fingers to relieve the pressure.
- Hunger: Babies often put their hands in their mouths when they're hungry, as it's a natural reflex that can help them find food.
- Self-soothing: Chewing on their hands can be a way for babies to self-soothe and calm themselves down, particularly when they're feeling anxious, stressed, or tired.
- Developmental milestones: Baby putting hands in mouth can be a developmental milestone for babies, as it helps them develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
- Overstimulation: Babies may chew on their hands as a way to cope with overstimulation or sensory overload, particularly when they're in a new environment or around unfamiliar people.
- Boredom: Babies may chew on their hands when they're bored or looking for something to do.
- Illness: In some cases, babies may chew on their hands as a symptom of illness, particularly if they're experiencing pain or discomfort in their mouth or throat.
It's essential to monitor your baby's hand-chewing behavior and look for any signs of discomfort, pain, or illness. If you're concerned about your baby's chewing behavior or notice any unusual symptoms, it's best to consult with your pediatrician to rule out any underlying health issues.
When your baby is sucking on their hand, there is not much that you need to do except feed them if they are showing signs of hunger. However, we mentioned earlier that this behavior is a way of nonverbal communication, so how you react to it depends on what message your baby is trying to convey.
After consulting your pediatrician, you might also introduce teethers. However, age plays an important role in this behavior. In cases where the child is older than four years and still shows a tendency to chew on their hands, it may be advisable to schedule a visit with a pediatric dentist to monitor your child's oral growth.