Soothing a baby: finger sucking and more

Soothing a baby: finger sucking and more

Our clever newborns quickly figure out that sucking on their fingers is soothing when they're upset. We can also help comfort our babies by rocking them, swinging them in a swing, or carrying them in a front pack.

Sucking is a healthy, self-comforting behavior for newborns. A three-week-old baby will resort to sucking her own fingers – or yours – as a way of calming herself when she's upset or trying to settle down. You can help your baby master this skill by leaving her hands bare (no mitts or covers), wrapping her up with her hands near her face, and putting a rolled-up hand towel or receiving blanket behind her shoulders to help round them forward when she's in her infant seat.

Baby carriers and swings to the rescue!
One thing babies this age have in common all over the world is the tendency to build up to an afternoon or evening crying session. This crying doesn't mean that your baby is missing something, or that you're doing anything wrong; it's caused by her maturing nervous system. Of course, knowing that may not help when you're listening to your baby wail. Try to stay calm. Rock, swaddle and sing to your baby. Carry her in a baby carrier during the day – it can reduce the duration of the crying later on – and try putting her in a swing; the motion can often help quiet a distressed baby.

FYI: At this age, babies are demanding, so it can be a particularly hard time for you. Lack of sleep and big changes in the old routine can hit parents very hard. Hang in there! Try to think of this as a brief extension of your pregnancy. Rest when your baby sleeps, and be sure to eat regularly.  


Leave a comment *Mandatory text
I confirm I have written the entirety of the content and agree to the community guidelines and terms and conditions
  • Show comments


sgerdts 1/31/2016

baby carriers are the best!

Good read

Jen 1/11/2016

rest when baby sleeps Yes and Amen

Pacifiers vs Thumb sucking


I was OK with my oldest self soothing with her thumb and my now middle child sacking on her fingers, I never even bought a pacifier for either of them, but before I gave birth to my third daughter I changed my mind about pacifiers, you see my oldest who is almost 14 yrs old still sucks her thumb. I've tried all sorts of things over the counter and nothing works, I put my trust into an object that I can throw away than trust that it will end on it's own.


KH 12/13/2015

My 4 month old twins sucks their hands and each other hands to sooth themselves!!

Soothing herself

GypsyRose 12/11/2015

From the day my daughter was born she has sucked on her hands, she's now 3 months old & continues to do so. When we go out& it's cold I put mittens on her hands to keep them warm & dry but she has figured I out how to bite on the mitten to pull it off in order to get to her hand to suck on it. My other 3 did not do this but as long as it soothes her & doesn't cause harm I'm guessing it's okay.

  1. Wipes

Pampers Baby Fresh Baby Wipes

A soft and strong wipe for a refreshing clean

How to Play With Your 2-Month-Old

Young babies spend a lot of time sleeping and eating, but they also enjoy stimulation and playtime. Learn more about infant development and how to engage your 2-month-old.

Read more

Playdates for Toddlers

Interacting with other children creates an ideal opportunity for your child to make friends and hone social skills. Here’s how to get the most out of toddler playdates.

Read more