Lately, my 2.5 month old has discovered a penchant for putting his hands in his mouth. At first we thought it was a sign that he was hungry, and we tried to feed him every time he did so. However, usually he isn't interested in being fed at such times. Quite often, he puts his hands in his mouth after being fed so that kind of rules out hunger.

What do other parents think? Have you seen your kids do something similar? Should I continue to let him do it, or try to stop him every time?

asked 14 Oct '09, 13:41

Umsd's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 15 Oct '09, 02:17

dreamerisme's gravatar image


At this age, he is discovering his hands (and maybe his mouth). A next step will be his feet. And after that the rest of his world will follow.


answered 14 Oct '09, 14:27

mouviciel's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

edited 14 Oct '09, 21:33

Can whomever voted this answer down please add a comment explaining why? In my experience, this is a very true statement. It is normal for all kids to want to put things (hands, feet, toys, etc) in their mouth.

(14 Oct '09, 16:10) Luke Foust

@Luke Its strange actually I had voted it up earlier on today, but I think it could be due to the "site maintenance works" lets wait and see?

(14 Oct '09, 16:27) Emi

it actually says I down voted it... but I thought I gave it an up vote. I can't change it now unless it is edited. I agree with this answer very much

(14 Oct '09, 19:51) Mommy trial and error

Thank you all for appreciating my answer. I have edited it if you want to cancel the downvote.

(14 Oct '09, 21:35) mouviciel

I changed it!! Sorry... not sure what happened!!

(14 Oct '09, 22:13) Mommy trial and error

Funny, yes, "the rest of the world will follow", babys will eat anything :-)

(15 Oct '09, 12:40) Huibert Gill

They would eat their own head if only they could get it in their mouth

(21 Oct '09, 23:22) Dinah
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

My son started doing the same, we consulted with our pediatrician and he suggested it could be anxiety, that is, it has nothing to do with being hungry.

I'd suggest introducing him to a pacifier if you didn't already, it helps calm them down and it's better to suck on it than the hands (worked for us)


answered 14 Oct '09, 13:44

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

TOTALLY NORMAL! He is discovering his hands right now. I doubt he is teething already but it might be a sign! Try to not let him suck on his thumb or fingers, a pacifier is much better!

NEW EDIT- I just read that it's all bad if they do it past 2 years old. Here is a link on why sucking on fingers is bad.


answered 14 Oct '09, 15:06

Mommy%20trial%20and%20error's gravatar image

Mommy trial and error
accept rate: 4%

edited 14 Oct '09, 22:11

I once heard. "when he is three years old, a pacifier will be easier to throw away then his thumb." YMMV

(15 Oct '09, 12:42) Huibert Gill

I would not worry too much because your baby is just discovering himself and the things that are immediately around him.

His hands are probably safest right now, for hygiene reasons! I agree with Juan regarding anxiety, we were told that it could be comforting for a baby to suck on his own fingers, by our doctor.

We used to watch our daughter in amazement as she studied her own fingers and turned her hand around looking at them. It was fasinating to watch, I hope you are able to spot that too.

Enjoy these days :)


answered 14 Oct '09, 17:02

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

As others have pointed out your baby is exploring the world. His hands are one of his first play toys. By sucking on them he is learning much- how to manipulate his hands by bringing them to his mouth, how to maneuver his tongue, the sensation of chewing and touch, and-one of the most important skills- self soothing. It is a pleasurable and positive experience for him. You may find that he will go at his hands more voraciously when he is tired, so that can be a good clue for when to put him down, too.


answered 21 Oct '09, 20:30

Tanisha's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

Hi Tanisha and welcome to moms4mom! Can you also add to your post to explain where you got this information from? Please see our Back It Up principle for more info: http://moms4mom.com/back-it-up

(21 Oct '09, 21:10) Scott ♦♦

Sure! My response is based on both anecdotal and empirical evidence. As an infant mental health specialist, I have 15+ years education and experience. As a mom, I've seen a marked difference in the self soothing abilities of my thumbsucker and non-thumbsucker!

The Happiest Baby on the Block has a chapter on the benefits of non-nutritive sucking. Connection between hand sucking & successful breastfeeding: http://breastcrawl.org/science.htm Benefits of NSS during painful procedures: http://www.cirp.org/library/pain/gunnar1984/ http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/01460869709026874

(22 Oct '09, 02:25) Tanisha

The idea that your son may attack his hands more voracious when tired comes from both personal experience (my daughter really stuffs them far into her mouth and looks tense) as well as information from the sleep consultant we used for my daughter.

(22 Oct '09, 02:28) Tanisha

my 3.5 month old is doing the same. I've noticed that there are times where he has managed to pull out the pacifier from his mouth and goes back to putting the fist in his mouth.
I feel that with the pacifier he is only able to suck but, he can bite, suck, lick his hands... so now I've decided to just let him enjoy his hands if he wants to.

Good to know that vigorous eating of hands means being tired. Good cue to look out for.


answered 16 Jul '10, 18:52

Amrita's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

Its most likely teething - all kids do it - don't worry at all


answered 14 Oct '09, 14:16

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 14 Oct '09, 13:41

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Last updated: 16 Jul '10, 18:52