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alot of babies/toddlers do it for exactly that reason, to feel the pain. they're getting used to sensations, and testing it.. Although, she can also just be doing it because she's throwing a fit and its what she thinks to do..
Wouldn't hurt to bring it up to your pedi though..and it shouldn't be the same as cutting because she is too little to know that what she is doing is bad for her.
Rachel just started doing this too...she'll bite her arm and leave teeth marks! She doesn't do it when shes' mad though, just randomly throughout the day...so I'm assuming it has something to do with teething maybe?
maybe they're trying to trick their brain by diverting their pain to another body part for a while because their teeth hurt so bad? or just need to apply pressure on those little swollen gums to help soothe themselves? poor babies...