Understanding babies may be a near-impossible task. When your child is small, your parental instincts are strong, and it’s easy to become too concerned with everything your little one does. Therefore, in this article, we’ll help you understand more about drooling and chewing on hands in a 3-month-old baby.
Why Is Your 3-Month-Old Drooling and Chewing on Hands?
Even though most babies have no teeth until they are six to eight months old, the teething process begins at a young age. This is why, by the age of three months, most babies are drooling and chewing on their hands.
When teething begins, a baby’s saliva production increases, and they may drool excessively when a tooth pushes its way through the gums. The excess saliva helps soothe the tender gums.
Also, your child might try pressing something against the tender region on their gums to help reduce the pain. They will put their hands in their mouth as a result of this. Your infant feels so much better with their hands on those sore spots.
What Other Use Does Drooling Serve in a Baby’s Life?
- It keeps the mouth of your infant moist
- Once a baby’s diet includes solids, it softens and moistens the food.
- It makes food swallowing easier for your baby
- It helps in washing away food residue.
Ptyalin, a digestive enzyme that converts starch to sugar, is also found in saliva. Additionally, saliva acts as a natural antacid, neutralizing stomach acid and aiding digestion. Saliva also helps to prevent tooth decay.
What is Excessive Drooling in Babies?
Excessive drooling is defined as an involuntary flow of saliva from a baby’s mouth after they have passed the usual age of drooling. If your child drools excessively after the age of two, you should seek medical advice. Excessive drooling is caused by a lack of coordination between the mouth and tongue, even though it is generally attributed to excessive saliva production. This lack of coordination might make swallowing difficult.
What Else May Cause a 3-Month-Old Baby to Chew Their Hands?
Although many people assume that a three-month-old baby’s chewing of hands is only caused by teething, this is not the case. Other reasons why your three-month-old infant might chew on their hands are listed below.
A baby that chews their hands during the newborn months may be attempting to communicate that they are hungry. Consider this: babies get food every time they suck on a nipple or a bottle! So babies sticking their hands on the mouth is a natural sucking reflex, similar to rooting, that tells you when it’s time for your baby to eat again.
If your baby has just been fed and you know they are full, chewing on their hands could be a sign of self-soothing. Because young babies frequently fall asleep on the bottle or nipple, they may learn to equate the sucking reflex with the first phases of sleep and chew on their hands to relax and wind down.
It may sound strange that hands can be a source of entertainment, but they are to a young baby (2 to 3 months old). At this age, babies are only beginning to realize that they have these incredibly valuable instruments linked to their bodies that they may use to pick up objects, wave around, and stuff in their mouths.
They’re also figuring out their senses and discovering that different things have different tastes, temperatures, and textures. For small humans, this is all ridiculously fascinating.
Newborns have a demanding routine that includes crying, eating, pooping, and sleeping. However, when little ones start spending more time awake each day, they may develop a completely new sensation: boredom. As a result, some children may chew their hands to express boredom.
What are the Dangers of Babies Chewing on Hands?
There’s nothing wrong with your infant chewing on his hands. You should, however, double-check to make sure:
- Your baby’s hands are free of germs
- They’re not in any agony or discomfort
- The general environment is safe and comfortable for them
Some parents are concerned that their child’s hand chewing would interfere with their child’s oral development. The good news is that the American Dental Association assures parents that the habit is rarely problematic during the first few years of life.
According to specialists, you should begin gently discouraging the habit at the age of four to avoid future oral problems.
Do Babies Stop Chewing on Their Hands as They Become Older?
Yes. Babies go through phases rapidly, so it won’t be long before they’ve discovered something else to occupy their time. Additionally, when their language skills develop, they will be able to communicate their needs and desires through gestures and, eventually, words.
When Should You be Concerned About Your Baby Chewing on Their Hands?
If your child becomes a preschooler and is still chewing on their hands or fingers, you should consult a pediatrician. While forcing your child to quit before the age of four is often ineffective, there are always ways to refocus your baby to help break the habit.
If your child is older than four and still chewing on their hands, you should also schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist to monitor their oral growth.
If your newborn baby is continually chewing on their hands and you believe it is a hunger signal, you should consult your pediatrician. It’s likely that your baby isn’t receiving as much breast milk as you think, causing them to be constantly hungry or have a latch or sucking reflex issue.
The vast majority of the time, 3-month-old drooling and chewing on hands is nothing to be concerned about. There are various reasons for this, all of which are developmentally normal, and unless your child appears to be on his way to kindergarten with these behaviors, they are unlikely to cause dental problems.