Wandering hands — The Bump
October 2012 Moms

Wandering hands

DD has always loved to have her hands right in front of her face, starting in the womb and it hasn't ever stopped. It was prohibitive for breastfeeding (I often had to have another person help me pin her arms down just to get her to try to latch) and it's still a problem with bottle feeding and sleeping at 4.5 months. It's like her hands have to constantly be reaching out and touching things, even as she's falling asleep, and each new touching sensation seems to wake her up.

Lately it's gotten bad enough that I've had to swaddle her just to get her to eat - otherwise she sticks her hands in her mouth while the bottle is there or knocks the bottle out of her mouth and starts wailing because she doesn't get why she can't eat anymore. Same thing with the pacifier at night - she rips it out and then can't figure out why it's gone.

The past few days she has really resisted swaddling and it's about the time to stop swaddling her anyway, but I'm at a loss as to how to get her hands under control so she can eat and/or fall asleep. Has anyone else conquered this problem? Swaddling was my only cure but she's so unhappy in the swaddle lately that I don't know what to do.

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Re: Wandering hands

  • Ashley has been the same way and especially over the last couple weeks she likes reaching out while we are walking to grab and touch everything. It might be a problem but I don't think it's something you can stop. She is more aware of her surroundings and her immediate world which is a good thing so I think it's just something you wait out until she is used to the "new" things around her. Does she like to suck on her fingers? Ashley weaned herself off her paci at about 1 month and now just sucks on her pointer and middle finger when she is falling asleep. Maybe try putting her fingers in her mouth? Sorry that's all I got.

  • We got our DS a small blanket so he can hold it while he eats or drifting to sleep. We also hold his hands sometimes until he drifts off. The blanket is an Anais and Aden lovey and it's tiny and very breathable no way it could strangle him or anything

    Every ultrasound he had his hands by his face and he was sucking his hand as I was delivering him. He actually had a little blister on his hand from where he used to suck so I totally empathize with having a tactile baby
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  • imageNineoceans:
    We got our DS a small blanket so he can hold it while he eats or drifting to sleep. We also hold his hands sometimes until he drifts off. The blanket is an Anais and Aden lovey and it's tiny and very breathable no way it could strangle him or anything Every ultrasound he had his hands by his face and he was sucking his hand as I was delivering him. He actually had a little blister on his hand from where he used to suck so I totally empathize with having a tactile baby

     I was going to say small blanket, and or, letting her hold your fingers while she eats. It's how I keep DS happy, focused, and feeding.  

  • I put my finger in her grip and rub her hand with my fingers when feeding her. If she feels like her hand "is doing something" it seems to distract her from the need of putting it in her mouth/face....


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  • She will sometimes suck on her fingers, but most of the time she just shoves her fingers in her mouth and licks her fist instead of comfort sucking so we still have to use a paci. That's one of the primary reasons why I'd like to stop swaddling though, I'd like for her to start learning to self-soothe with her fingers.

    I'll have to look into buying a small blanket for her. I try to let her hold my fingers while I'm giving her a bottle but she's got a strong grip and often knocks the bottle out of her mouth by pulling my hand in one direction. I had some success holding her hands down to help her sleep when she was a newborn, so I might just have to go back to that option again. 

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  • Or use burp cloth for her to hold.

  • My LO flails his arm back and forth, slapping me on the breastbone over and over. It's awesome. For a while he was scratching his head instead. He can't be coaxed into holding my hand or an object so we just deal. Sorry no advice!
    *E 10/2012, H 7/2014, F 2/2016*
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  • Try a small washcloth to busy her hands...large enough to hold, small enough it wont do any damage. 
    DS1: Wild Man born 11/28/07
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  • I am so glad that you posted this!! B sucks the back of his hand for comfort or when he is trying to go to sleep. He makes the loudest slurping noise haha. He also keeps his hands around the bottle when I feed him and it p!sses him off so bad when he knocks it out of his mouth. He has also taken to rubbing EVERYTHING, his blankets, the couch when i change him, his canopy on his car seat etc.
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