Babies are hard to figure out. If you are wondering why a baby aggressively eating hands and crying, read on!
It’s hard being a first-time mom. With postpartum hormones raging and caring for a newborn who cannot communicate yet, the smallest thing your baby does is worrisome. From making weird faces (frown, pout), banging their head on your shoulder, and constant screaming in gas pain, babies are impossible to figure out.
Among other weird things they do, a baby aggressively eating hands and crying can be more than enough to worry a mom.
This article talks about several reasons why a baby aggressively eats hands and what you can do to stop this behavior.
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4 Reasons why a Baby Aggressively Eating Hands and Crying
Baby aggressively chewing their hands can be concerning. But usually, their weird behavior means something. They are trying to give you clues about how they are feeling or in need of your attention. Here are 4 reasons why your baby is aggressively eating hands and crying.
1. The baby might be hungry
Newborns usually suck on their hands when they are hungry. So, your newborn aggressively eating hands and crying may be a signal that they are hungry.
If you have just fed your baby and he is still chewing his hands, you may want to breastfeed or bottle-feed him again and see if hand-sucking behavior stops.
It may feel like you are feeding them a lot, but that’s normal for newborns. They need to be fed every 2 hours, and during growth spurts, they demand feeding more often. Other cues of hunger in newborns include smacking lips, rooting, crying, and flailing their limbs.
2. They might be exploring themselves
Once babies start exploring themselves and their surroundings, they put everything in their mouths. A baby chewing on hands or sticking fingers down throat and gagging is their way of exploring their newly found hands.
As babies grow older, they become aware of their hands and realize that they can move their hands and do things with their hands.
So, your baby chewing their hands means that they have found their hands and exploring how they function.
And now that your baby has started putting their hands in their mouth and chewing, soon they will put toys and other objects in their mouth. So, it is time to baby-proof their surroundings and remove tiny objects they could grab and put in their mouth. Remove all the sharp, toxic, tiny things from the baby’s environment.
Related reading: 9 Clever ways to Baby Proof Electrical outlets
3. They may be Teething
If your baby aggressively chewing hands and crying at 5 or 6 months, it may be a sign that they are teething. Most babies start teething between 4 months and beyond. Teething is painful for babies. In addition, first teeth cutting through gum is not comfortable for babies. So, to relieve pressure on gum, baby chews on anything they get their hands on, including their hands.
In addition to chewing hands, other symptoms associated with teething include increased drooling, fussiness than usual, decreased appetite, swollen and tender gum, pulling their ears, raised temperature.
If you think your baby is chewing hands because of teething, try giving them a teething ring or wooden ring to chew on. The teething rings filled with water are especially helpful to relieve the pressure on gum as they can be frozen.
4. They might be bored
If non of the above reason applies to your baby, he might be chewing his hand out of boredom. So observe them for a few days and find out their pattern of chewing hands, like a specific time of the day.
If you think a baby is aggressively chewing hands out of boredom, try to engage them in an activity like music or sounds. You can also place them on a play mat with music and activity to keep them engaged. If they can hold on to stuff with their hands, give them something in their hands. Once you distract them with other activities, they won’t chew on their hands.
5. They might be self-soothing
Another potential reason for a baby chewing their hands can be their way of self-soothing. If they are aggressively chewing their hands and crying only when they are overstimulated or tired, you can say that chewing hand is their way of self-soothing. For some babies, hand chewing is the same as non-nutritive comfort nursing for others. They chew on hands when they are overwhelmed, tired, scared, or hurt.
Lots of noise, bright light projector, lots of people can overstimulate your baby. In this situation, you may want to take your baby to a quiet room and give them extra cuddles to calm them or feed them.
Should you worry if Baby Aggressively chewing their hands and crying?
Usually, baby chewing on hands is not harmful. It’s just a way for them to express themselves or self-soothe. As long as their hands are clean, you should not worry about your baby chewing their hands.
But as your baby grows older, you want to make sure that they are not chewing their hands as a habit because hand chewing is the potential source of catching an infection.
Also, habits like thumb sucking or nail biting can damage the mouth’s structure for older babies.
When should Baby stop Chewing their hands?
Baby chews on their hands for many reasons like hunger, teething, self-soothing, or boredom. So, for some babies, hand chewing behavior is the only way to express themselves, and once they get their demand to fulfill, i.e., food if they are hungry or teething toy if they are teething, this behavior stops. But, for other babies, hand chewing becomes a habit and continues in toddlerhood.
Most babies grow out of hand-sucking behavior by their first birthday, and again, every child is different. However, if your child hand sucking behavior continues in their beyond, they are 2, you want to talk to your doctor to rule out any other issues.
Baby Aggressively chewing on hands and crying – Conclusion
It is worrisome for first-time moms to see their baby’s weird behavior that appears out of the blue. Fortunately, baby sucking on hands is normal, and most babies grow out of it at some point.
A Baby chewing on hands and crying is mainly associated with hunger, teething, and self-soothing. As you start understanding cues your baby gives to communicate with you, you will better respond to their needs and ultimately stop this behavior. Before you go check out why babies pout, frown, and furrow to get to know your newborn a little better!
Good luck, mama!!
Do you know any other reasons for baby chewing their hands and crying? Please leave your comment below.
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