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Eating and Thumb-sucking

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 12:41 am | By Stephanie Woo

Today, I saw my nanny kept trying to keep Brooke’s hand out of her mouth while she was feeding her. So I asked her, “When Brooke eats food of thicker consistency, why does she suck on her fingers?”

Answer: Babies who are just starting to eat are learning HOW TO eat. Before they started eating, they got the milk from the front of the mouth to the back of the mouth and eventually down their throat by SUCKING. Now that they are learning to eat, they are using the help of sucking on their fingers, to move the food from the front of the mouth to the back and down the throat. This is especially apparent when the food has a thicker consistency because it’s harder to get the food down, whereas with thinner foods, they generally have little problem “drinking” the food from the spoon down their throat.

Even though it’s messy, do not try to stop your baby from sucking on their finger while eating. Sucking on their finger is helping them learn to eat. As they become more experienced eaters, they will stop this messy behavior, but give them time!

Reader Comments

  1. I didn’t realize this was written a decade ago. I was literally wondering why my eight-month-old was doing this today, and it makes perfect sense now. Thank you! This was so helpful to know!

    Saturday, May 1st, 2021 10:16 pm | Marilu

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