Thumb sucking: Assist your baby split the behavior

Thumb sucking can be a tricky behavior for a baby to split. Recognize what you can do to help your baby prevent sucking his or her thumb.

By Mayo Clinic Employees

Thumb sucking is a prevalent behavior between kids. At some position, although, you could possibly imagine, “Sufficient is adequate.” Here is help encouraging your baby to prevent the behavior.

Why do some kids suck their thumbs?

Toddlers have pure rooting and sucking reflexes, which can lead to them to set their thumbs or fingers into their mouths — occasionally even in advance of start. For the reason that thumb sucking would make toddlers really feel secure, some toddlers could possibly at some point develop a behavior of thumb sucking when they are in require of soothing or going to snooze.

How very long does thumb sucking typically final?

A lot of kids prevent sucking their thumbs on their possess, often by age 6 or seven months or in between ages 2 and 4.

But even a baby who’s stopped sucking his or her thumb could possibly go back to the behavior through occasions of anxiety.

When ought to I intervene?

Thumb sucking isn’t typically a issue till a kid’s permanent teeth occur in. At this position, thumb sucking could possibly start out to have an affect on the roof of the mouth (palate) or how the teeth line up. The chance of dental issues is similar to how often, how very long and how intensely your baby sucks on his or her thumb.

Whilst some experts advise addressing sucking practices in advance of age three, the American Academy of Pediatrics says remedy is typically limited to kids who keep on thumb sucking immediately after turning five.

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

Converse to your baby about thumb sucking. You are additional probably to be productive in halting the behavior if your baby desires to prevent and allows opt for the system involved.

In some cases paying out no awareness to thumb sucking is adequate to prevent the behavior — specially if your baby takes advantage of thumb sucking to get awareness. If disregarding it isn’t effective, consider just one of these tactics:

  • Use favourable reinforcement. Praise your baby or deliver small rewards — these as an extra bedtime tale or a excursion to the park — when he or she isn’t thumb sucking. Established attainable goals, these as no thumb sucking an hour in advance of mattress. Position stickers on a calendar to file the times when your baby productively avoids thumb sucking.
  • Identify triggers. If your baby sucks his or her thumb in response to anxiety, detect the authentic concern and deliver comfort and ease in other techniques — these as with a hug or reassuring words and phrases. You could possibly also give your baby a pillow or stuffed animal to squeeze.
  • Give gentle reminders. If your baby sucks his or her thumb without assumed — instead than as a way to get awareness — carefully remind him or her to prevent. Really don’t scold, criticize or ridicule your baby.

Can the dentist help?

If you might be worried about the effect of thumb sucking on your kid’s teeth, look at with the dentist. For some children, a chat with the dentist about why it really is vital to prevent thumb sucking is additional effective than a discuss with mother or father.

Seldom, some doctors advise utilizing unpleasant tactics, 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 is effective?

For some kids, thumb sucking is an exceptionally tricky behavior to split. Try out not to fret. Placing too a lot force on your baby to prevent thumb sucking could possibly only delay the system.