Thumb sucking: Assist your baby break the behavior

Thumb sucking can be a difficult behavior for a baby to break. Understand what you can do to help your baby end sucking his or her thumb.

By Mayo Clinic Staff members

Thumb sucking is a prevalent behavior among youngsters. At some point, however, you may possibly feel, “Adequate is ample.” This is help encouraging your baby to end the behavior.

Why do some youngsters suck their thumbs?

Babies have pure rooting and sucking reflexes, which can induce them to place their thumbs or fingers into their mouths — often even right before start. Mainly because thumb sucking can make infants sense secure, some infants may possibly at some point create a behavior of thumb sucking when they are in want of comforting or heading to slumber.

How lengthy does thumb sucking usually very last?

Many youngsters end sucking their thumbs on their have, usually by age 6 or 7 months or between ages 2 and 4.

But even a baby who’s stopped sucking his or her thumb may possibly go back again to the behavior throughout times of stress.

When must I intervene?

Thumb sucking just isn’t usually a concern until finally a kid’s lasting teeth appear in. At this point, thumb sucking may possibly start off to affect the roof of the mouth (palate) or how the teeth line up. The possibility of dental issues is associated to how usually, how lengthy and how intensely your baby sucks on his or her thumb.

While some gurus recommend addressing sucking habits right before age 3, the American Academy of Pediatrics states cure is usually constrained to youngsters who proceed thumb sucking just after turning five.

What can I do to stimulate my baby to end thumb sucking?

Converse to your baby about thumb sucking. You happen to be extra probable to be successful in stopping the behavior if your baby would like to end and assists choose the technique concerned.

In some cases having to pay no focus to thumb sucking is ample to end the behavior — particularly if your baby employs thumb sucking to get focus. If ignoring it just isn’t powerful, check out a person of these methods:

  • Use good reinforcement. Praise your baby or deliver smaller benefits — these as an excess bedtime story or a excursion to the park — when he or she just isn’t thumb sucking. Established attainable goals, these as no thumb sucking an hour right before bed. Location stickers on a calendar to history the days when your baby properly avoids thumb sucking.
  • Determine triggers. If your baby sucks his or her thumb in reaction to stress, discover the serious issue and deliver comfort and ease in other techniques — these as with a hug or reassuring phrases. You may possibly also give your baby a pillow or stuffed animal to squeeze.
  • Give mild reminders. If your baby sucks his or her thumb with out assumed — rather than as a way to get focus — gently remind him or her to end. Will not scold, criticize or ridicule your baby.

Can the dentist help?

If you happen to be concerned about the impact of thumb sucking on your kid’s teeth, verify with the dentist. For some children, a chat with the dentist about why it is really important to end thumb sucking is extra powerful than a communicate with mom or father.

Rarely, some doctors recommend using uncomfortable methods, these as covering your kid’s thumbnail with a bitter material, bandaging the thumb or covering the hand with a sock at night.

What if nothing at all functions?

For some youngsters, thumb sucking is an very difficult behavior to break. Try not to stress. Placing far too significantly tension on your baby to end thumb sucking may possibly only delay the course of action.