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Why does my baby chew on their hands?

        Image of baby sucking their hands

Babies suck and chew their hands for many different reasons. It is a normal behaviour and shouldn’t be anything to worry about unless they are gnawing excessively and/or causing themselves pain.

Sensory seeking

If you think about it, the only thing that babies can do independently and without help, is suck and chew on their hands. For some, it can be a self soothing action. For others, it could indicate boredom and a need to be entertained and engaged with.


Your baby could be hungry if they’re sucking or chewing their hands. Other behaviours that indicate hunger could be fussiness, crying, flailing their arms and legs around, smacking their lips and rooting - a natural reflex that babies have that helps them find your breast or a bottle to begin feeding.


Some health experts agree that the reason our little ones chew on their hands is simply because they have discovered them. It is a way of them learning very basic information about their bodies and how their body parts work.




Sticking their little hands into their mouths can also be a sign that your baby is teething. They could be trying to soothe irritable gums. Their first teeth breaking through the gums can cause pain and they want to soothe it, so make sure you keep their finger nails very short, to help prevent them from scratching their gums and injuring themselves.

Other teething symptoms to look out for can be:

  • Increased drooling
  • Crying
  • Fussing
  • Reduced or increased feeding
  • Swollen gums
  • Sleeping problems

 For more help with teething and for suggestions and tips on how to help them, check out home remedies for teething blog post, we wrote it to show you ways that you can help your baby, using every day items that you probably already have in your home.