Baby Constantly Chewing on Hands: Why Does He Do It and How to Wean Him from Chewing?
Hand sucking is an innate instinct that appeared in the womb. He is most active at 3-5 months, when he already owns his body, and baby chewing on hands at 2 months or later purposefully. Until recently, thumb sucking was considered just a bad habit and nothing more.
Recently, pediatricians and psychologists agree that a finger in the mouth is, first, an unsatisfied sucking instinct. Let’s take a closer look at this issue and show you how to get rid of this habit for your baby.
Why Is Baby Constantly Chewing on Hands?
In baby chewing hands 4 months or younger, three very important nerves are involved in the work at once: the vagus, trigeminal and nasopharyngeal. Which part of the body has the most receptors and many nerve endings? This is the mouth.
And thanks to breastfeeding, all these receptors and nerves develop perfectly and become stronger. It is for this reason that it is important to breastfeed your baby during infancy.
But even so, there are situations when you need to replace breastfeeding with a bottle or other food. But of course, even the coolest and most expensive nipples, or the bread crumbs that our grandmothers used, cannot replace the warm and pleasant mother’s breasts. But even so, this will need to be done if you transfer the child to food with mixtures or purée.
Also, a good way to help your baby cope with the constant sucking reflex is with his own finger. This method is always effective, although not very useful. Almost every dentist and speech therapist can say that this can lead to possible further problems with occlusion, deformation of the palate, improper construction of teeth and their closing, and more. Accordingly, in order not to work on these problems in the future, the best option would be to simply fight the sucking reflex.
By the way, some mothers come across one unusual thing if they breastfeed their baby and from a bottle. Since breastfeeding takes a little longer, their babies may suck on their fingers after a meal with a bottle. This may show you once again that in this way the child is trying to satisfy his sucking reflex. If the child has been breastfeeding for a long time, then perhaps this habit may be absent altogether. But this may not always be the reason. There can be several reasons for baby chewing on hands:
- A breastfed baby may show before and after milk intake that he is hungry or not yet full. The baby usually spends up to about 10 minutes eating, and the rest of the time just enjoys sucking, while squeezing out some more milk. And if he sucks his thumb after eating, he may need to give him some more time to feed.
- The child’s teeth begin to cut. Here he can stick into his mouth not only his hands but also everything that appears to his eyes and can be easily taken in his hands.
- If a child sucks fingers at an older age, then most likely he simply doesn’t have enough of your attention, love, and pleasant emotions.
- Finger sucking can act as a “soothing” after stress or an unpleasant situation. In this way, he calms down.
- Perhaps the child simply has nothing to do and is bored.
What to do? On the one hand, this habit is natural and natural, but on the other hand, it is harmful, and you have to fight it.
Do You Need to Wean Baby Drooling and Chewing on Hands?
Many parents believe that if a 4-month-old chewing finger, then he can ruin his teeth and bite. A slight displacement of the teeth from the starting position is possible. But this only applies to milk teeth. The formation of permanent teeth occurs much later, therefore infant sucking of fingers doesn’t affect this process in any way.
Some parents for generations pass on some recommendations that supposedly “help” children. These include:
- smear the child’s fingers with something sharp (for example, mustard), or vice versa with aloe, or dip your fingers in something bitter and tasteless;
- let your child wear mittens at all times, even in summer;
- touch hands and fingers so that the child cannot reach the mouth.
These methods are quite aggressive for both a child and an adult, isn’t it? And it should be noted right away that such methods will really work until parents stop doing it to their children.
In addition, yelling at a child with a projection to stick out his fingers will also not help, especially if the child doesn’t yet understand the words. If you still constantly scream, then over time the child can get used to it and simply stop noticing your attitudes.
Also, if you punish, intimidate, and scold the child, everything will have a completely opposite effect. At the very least, consider that some babies may deliberately suck their thumb to calm down and relieve stress. That is, he can do it even more often than before your words and punishments.
To really wean a baby chewing hands teething, you need to correctly approach this issue, which we will now do with you.
Baby Bites Hand Tips
The following steps will help you and your baby to get rid of these conflicting behaviors. It is clear that when a 2-month-old baby is chewing on their hands and does it constantly and for a long time, he won’t be able to quickly move away from it. Therefore, of course, all this will work after a while and in combination.
- Don’t interrupt your child from this activity, especially if he is under 1-year-old. Alternatively, you can simply lengthen the breastfeeding time to satisfy the baby’s sucking reflex. If you are using a bottle for feeding, then you will need to choose a nipple that will be a little complex in structure and obtain milk from it. So the child will suck her more in order to get the amount of milk he needs, thereby being able to satisfy himself. At best, this can take about 15-20 minutes. If the child doesn’t have time to saturate his body during this time, just add another meal to your schedule.
- If your toddler is almost a year old or older, he or she can suck on his hands for comfort. In this case, it is better to try to calm him down. If he is in a bad mood, then try to teach him to express his emotions, and not to keep to himself. Don’t be afraid to caress, hug and say pleasant words to also provide him with moral support. In addition, sucking can be a habit in some situations, such as watching cartoons. Here, a silicone toy for hands or fine motor development can be a substitute.
- Take your child’s hands. Try to give your child something to play with all the time. Toys for the development of fine motor skills are especially suitable. These include plasticine, sand, a construction set (suitable for age), puzzles, or just a toy with small non-removable parts.
- If you have a little lady growing up, then paint her nails with baby varnish. It is unlikely that she wants to ruin all the beauty on her nails.
- Visit your dentist for a discussion of what constant finger sucking will lead to. Here you need to find a doctor who won’t intimidate the child but will explain everything clearly according to the facts.
- Emphasize that if the baby stops doing this, he will become very adult. Only small children have such a habit, and grown-up children don’t get carried away with it at all. You can also suggest that if he gets done with it, he will have the opportunity to do something new and interesting.
Now you know exactly everything about why a baby has been chewing on hands after eating and after other activities. We recommend that you try to wean your baby from this, all the same, listening to our prompts.
If everything is done gradually and without any pressure, then the child will quickly be able to remove this habit from his life. Just get started!
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