My daughter is 8 months old. She puts her hand in her mouth a lot. Afraid of germs, my wife is trying to avoid this by removing her hands from her mouth. 2 minutes later she puts it again in her mouth! This is very exhausting for us, because we have to keep an eye on her 24 h/day. How to solve this?

  • 10
    Why are you trying to stop her from putting her hand in her mouth?
    – A E
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 21:13
  • 8
    It is developmentally important for your child to have her hands in her mouth, stop trying to stop her from doing if.
    – Mia Clarke
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 21:56
  • If you are curious, you could ask why it is important, or what risks are associated with the behavior. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 0:19
  • 1
    Afraid of germs .... Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 9:15
  • 3
    Unless there is some seriously nasty germ she's likely to get sick from in your area, it's actually better for her to suck on her hands. Just because you don't see them, it doesn't mean there aren't germs on every surface in your house. Read about toothbrushes sometime; they should make you sick, but they don't. :) Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 6:22

2 Answers 2


People haven't been aware of germs until only recently (what's a 100 years in the entire history of human race?). With all the medicine available to cure most common sicknesses you should encourage your child to familiarize its immune system with common bacteria.

The general idea behind this approach is related to the Hygiene hypothesis (lots of information in this link). For example, you trade more diarrheas at early age for better health later in life.

Eating feces or dangerous chemicals shouldn't happen, of course, but absorbing some home dust, some sand and dirt will, in the long term, make your child healthier and more resistant to disease.

In other words, be reasonable. Some dust, some sand, some germs are perfectly OK. Boil the pacifier once a week, not twice per day. Wash hands after coming back from outside and before meals, and not every hour.

Consider this: Since children are still putting their hands in their mouths, after hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, isn't it most likely the "good" thing to do?

Also, remember that newborns and infants discover the world largely with their mouth. As much as it seems unintuitive for us adults, that's the case. By removing their hands (and other things) from their mouth you actually reduce the amount of stimuli they experience.


We always put baby socks on our child's hands. This keeps them warm, keeps them from scratching themselves, and also the "hand-to-mouth" germ fear. Though I don't think there is much to worry about in at that age, they aren't touching much. :) You could also use a wipe and wipe baby down.

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