What if a 3-month-old baby is crying and sucking their hand? Can it be teething? Hunger? Pain? Let’s take a look at a few different options!

3-month-old baby is crying sucking hand

Mom’s Question:

My 3 months old son has been crying off an on all day. He will only take 20-30min naps, wakes up and cries. He has been feed, changed and everything. He keeps sucking on his hand as if he is hungry but its not time… Could it be teething, ears, belly? How do I know? I’m getting frustrated.



Tips For Crying 3-Month-Old Baby

It is really hard to know what is going on sometimes when our babies are telling us something is wrong, but we can’t figure it out.

It is unlikely to be teething at three months, but not impossible. The sucking on his fist is more likely him trying to self sooth or hunger, but check his gums just in case he is an early teether.

If he has a tummy ache he may be pulling his knees up and his tummy will look bloated. I’m assuming you aren’t giving him solids yet, he is really too young, but assuming your are breast feeding, have you been eating something different? Sometimes seasonal food that we suddenly eat a lot of might cause problems. If you are formula feeding, have you changed his brand of formula?

Sometimes babies have headaches. So when they are upright or cuddled up with Mom they are less grizzley, but when they lie down the pressure builds up.

Similarly with ear-ache. He might not notice it so much when upright or getting lots of cuddles and comfort feeding with you but when on his own and asleep it is enough to wake him. I think it might pay to take him to a doctor and get him checked. At the least it will narrow the list of possibilities down!

The other thing, babies do go through growth spurts, so he might be going through a hungry phase and need extra feeding. The fist suckling can be a sign of hunger at this age.

From my own experience, my daughter rarely slept more than ten minutes in the day at this age, and woke every two hours at night to be fed! She always wanted to be carried around and be in on the action and hated being left on her own. I can tell you at the time I thought I’d never sleep the whole night again, but don’t worry they do grow out of each stage!

If the visit to the doctor doesn’t highlight anything, then just relax and go with the flow of what he needs – YOU! The most important thing is to give him lots of love and cuddles and extra feeds even if you think he shouldn’t be hungry. He is obviously uncomfortable or unhappy and if you can just tune into him he may well settle in a day or two.

Good luck!
Enjoy your lovely wee boy!


Find comments below.

Comments for “My 3 Month Baby Boy Is Crying”

Jul 17, 2013 baby boy is cryingby: sheri

Thanks so much for the information… I do believe it is a toss up between teething and still hungry. He takes 6-8 oz every feed… My husband started teething at 3mo..
I just keep feeding and checking his gums but not sure what i’m really looking for???? He was on similac soy but I felt it wasn’t doing much.. So he now is on emfamil ar for reflux that they think that he might have!!! But that’s what he started out on was the regular emfamil…so thanks anyways trial and error i guess

sheri from ohio

Baby Help Line: Thanks for the update, Sheri. You can find teething symptoms here.

Aug 04, 2013 Early Teethingby: Julia Bates

If your husband teethed early, your child may as well. Teeth begin as buds under the gums. They can move about a bit as the baby’s jaw strengthens from sucking as he nurses. That movement can be troubling and can upset sinus cavities in other parts of the head. So he may feel like you do if you have an allergy or cold coming on. Constant sucking can help relieve that feeling of pressure. Three months is major growth spurt time so the extra feedings won’t put on unwanted weight.

Your child is also changing cognitively. Interaction with you will stimulate his understanding of language and communication which is also part of his fussiness, learning how to get your attention and tell you what’s up. You might try some early hand signals.

what you will see on the gums are areas that are thicker or slightly swollen as the buds gain in size and take up position. Rubbing on these areas can feel good for the child. There are some topical gels that can be rubbed on the areas for a numbing affect. These taste pretty good.

Good luck. Stay calm. Rest when you can. Laugh when all else fails.

Aug 30, 2013 Growth spurtsby: Paula (Baby Help Line)

A young baby that sucks his hands and isn’t content despite eating, is often hungry. Since babies grow so rapidly and often in growth spurts, their appetite can vary greatly from one day to the next.

So if your baby acts hungry, feed him more!

A breastfed baby will want to eat very often during a growth spurt – that way mom’s breast milk supply will adjust to meet the bigger baby’s needs.

For formula fed babies, we as parents must make sure to adapt how much we feed them, otherwise we are highly likely to have a very unhappy and hungry baby.

At around 4 months, the growth rate slows down, and babies tend to be more stable and predictable in how much food they need. Some even eat less for a while. Then at 6 months, there is often a new growth period and many babies seem be more content if the breast milk or formula is completemented with the introduction on solid foods.

I hope this helps,


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