Why Your Baby Sucks their Fingers

You may have noticed your baby has found her fingers and toes, and either one or the other has made their way into her mouth. While some parents might think their baby is sucking on their fingers too much and they may have concerns about whether this might affect their tooth and mouth development, it is actually completely normal for a baby between the ages of 2-6 months old to want to put things in their mouth. There is nothing out of the ordinary for a baby to be curious about their surroundings. In fact sucking on their fingers and toes is something that encourages development.

During their second month of life, babies will have developed a strong sucking impulse from breastfeeding and bottle feeding. They will begin to suck on their fingers, and maybe even their whole fist at times. This tends to be a comforting reaction for them, much like breastfeeding is also. However, finger sucking can turn into thumb sucking, and too much finger sucking may turn into a few difficulties. Today we are sharing why your baby sucks their fingers, the risks of finger sucking, and ways to control it.

There are plenty of reasons why your baby wants to suck her fingers. One could be to taste because as she explores her environment her sense of taste will help her distinguish items based on texture, smell, and what is tasty and what isn’t. Another could be to touch so they can feel and learn the quality and consistency of an object. However, most of the time when your baby puts her fingers in her mouth is because she is either hungry, teething, or because sucking on her fingers is soothing and relaxes her.

While sucking on her fingers can be a soothing, your baby may be at risk for some possible health conditions. Although it is normal in the beginning, if you notice the finger sucking continues after she has begun teething she might affect her tooth development. Not to mention the fingers can turn into thumb sucking, which can reshape the direction of her front teeth and the roof of her mouth. It can also be health hazardous if your baby is touching everything in her path and then puts her fingers in her mouth, which are covered in germs. This can lead to illness or even something far more serious. Sucking on her fingers too much can also cause her fingers to deform from the excess saliva soaking into the skin.

To prevent these possible health hazards, there are many ways to control your baby’s finger sucking. It’s important to know finger sucking is absolutely normal for a baby to do and it doesn’t necessarily need to be stopped unless it is becoming hazardous to their health. However, to prevent illness it’s a good idea to regularly wipe your baby’s hands and clean them after she touches objects that could be covered in bad germs. As they get older try to encourage them with other objects to suck on rather than their hands. Give them a pacifier or a teething toy to suck and chew on.

If the finger sucking is beginning to be a problem contact your doctor for further advice.