It is very common when a mother is breastfeeding that the baby puts his fingers in her mouth, but we did not know the reason for it… According to a professor of philosophy at Unicamp University, the infant perceives that his mother provides him with food and care, and, completely spontaneously, he wants to give her something else in return.
We read this theory on the page of the clinical psychologist Dimitrios I. Petrounias:
The entire post:
“Do you know why babies put their little fingers in their mothers’ mouths while nursing?
According to Zeljko Loparic (professor of philosophy at Unicamp University & scholar of Winnicott’s theory), a baby sitting on its mother’s lap, as long as everything develops normally, learns the concept of mutuality.
The baby realizes that his mother is doing something for him by offering him milk, affection, security, and relief. With the passage of time, the baby manifests the desire to offer something to its mother.
One of the first signs of mutuality is the following: as soon as the baby begins to breastfeed, it begins to put its fingers in its mother’s mouth. The baby is getting something from the mother and wants to spontaneously give something to her.
Professor Winnicott calls this “cross identification.” The baby identifies with the mother in this “give and receive.” And this, according to Winnicott, is fundamental to the beginning of a healthy social life.