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You must have got tried of telling your friends and family that your baby is putting his or her fingers in the mouth continuously. And the reply must have been, ‘Oh! What do you expect from a baby!' You get a lot of such textbook replies from people who either don't have kids or their kids have grown up and they have forgotten how messy small babies can be. Your baby putting his or her fist in the mouth may be natural but it is certainly going to make your life difficult.
Firstly, if your baby is in between 2 to 6 months, then this is not a case of thumb-sucking. Your baby is too young to get into habitual thumb-sucking, so stop worrying. Newborn babies usually cannot focus their finger separately so they just put their entire hand into their mouth. When your baby is putting all fingers in the mouth, he/she is likely to choke on it and puke up milk. This is what is most irritating about your baby putting fist in the mouth.
The truth is that apart from increasing your work, this kind of behaviour from babies is totally natural. You have to understand that your baby is putting everything into his/her mouth for a reason. And when the reason doesn't exist, the baby will come out of the habit on his/her own. Meanwhile, you have be ready with wipes and bibs.
Here some reasons why your baby is putting his/her fingers in the mouth and also what you can do about it.
Getting To Know The World
Putting everything in the mouth is a way by which your baby discovers new things in the world. Your baby's vision and sense of sound is still fuzzy. So, the newborn depends on his/her sense of taste to experience the world.
In some cases, sucking on the fingers is a way the baby soothes himself or herself. Self soothing is a good thing; it is the first step towards self-dependence and you should encourage it.
When the baby is teething, he or she will look for the comfort of chewing on just about anything. His hand is just the most readily available option.
Some babies get into the habit of sucking their hand when they are hungry. Only you as the mother can pick up that hint. Remember that every baby is unique and have their own way of communicating.
Tie A Bib
When your baby puts the entire fist into mouth, he/she is likely to throw up, so be ready by tying a bib around the baby's neck.
Keep Wiping Fingers
Always keep wiping the baby's hands with wet wipes so that he or she does not pick up any serious infection.
Distract The Baby
If you have just changed your baby's clothes and don't want him/her to throw up right away, then keep the baby distracted. You can hold your baby's hands gently and do some animated gestures to keep him/her busy.
Teething rings can be very comforting for babies who are teething. They have the urge to chew on something urgently. Teething rings are harder compared to fingers and thus your baby will find more comfort in the teethers.
Feed The Baby
Sometimes, feeding can be a temporary way to keep your baby from chewing his or fingers. But it won't work for long.
Indulge The Baby Sometimes
You have to allow the baby to suck his or her fingers even if it is inconvenient for you. Every stage in your infant's growth has to be lived to the fullest. If you do not allow your baby to put fingers in his/her mouth now, he or she may have a thumb-sucking habit at a later age.