(Closed) Thumb Sucking

posted 9 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
1645 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I personally am very anti-thumb sucking. I sucked my thumb when I was a child, and continued to do it at night time into middle school. It messed up my speech and teeth. Even now, if I’m going through a particularly stressful or upsetting time, I’ve woken up sucking my thumb once in a while. It’s incredibly embarrasing and I’ve done everything to stop doing it, starting way back in elementary school. I know most kids eventually outgrow it for good without any problems, but after my experience I will do just about everything to prevent my kids from sucking their thumb or fingers. (My sister sucked her two middle fingers, as does my cousin’s 4 yr old daughter).

I just pulled DS’s fist/hand/thumb out of his mouth and gave him his pacifier. If he didn’t want ithe pacifier, I’d distract him or give him a toy. Thankfully it only took about 2-3 weeks for him to stop trying to suck on his thumb or hands.

I know the pacifier can be difficult to break, but at the same time at least you can take it away. Once DS is a year or so old, I’m not going to give it to him unless he asks for it or if he wakes in the middle of the night. Then hopefully we’ll wean by 2, if not earlier.

Post # 4
9024 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

My nephew was raised without a pacifier or thumb, he would always try to suck his thumb and his mom would pull his hand away from his mouth and give him one of his teething toys.  I plan to do some similar,  we will only use the pacifier for the the 1st month or less and then less and get rid of it before they get old enough to remember it and miss it

Post # 5
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Hmmm, I think there are two different schools of thought on the thumbsucking vs. pacifier issue.  Some parents believe that since pacifiers can be taken away, they are a better choice since you have the control to end the habitual sucking when you think it’s appropriate.  On the other hand, I’ve heard a lot of parents try to encourage thumbsucking over the pacifier because it encourages self-soothing, whereas babies often need help locating and using a pacifier until 6+ months.  I’ve also heard of kids who switch from pacifier use to thumbsucking when the pacifier gets taken away, so eliminating one now doesn’t always mean they won’t pick up on the other one later on.

Personally, I think whatever works for you and your child is the best method.  Thumsucking and pacifiers are generally acceptable until about the same point, and there are elimination methods for both that work. 

How old is your daughter?  Like 2 months? You could also start introducing alternative soothing options such as rocking/bouncing/walking, talking or singing, a little lovey for her to hold on to, etc… instead of relying on sucking.  She’s still young, but introducing her to other ways of being soothed now may help this be  a non-issue in the future.

Post # 6
714 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I think this is a personal decision.  I personally believe that children should be able to self sooth if necessary, therefore I am not anti paci or thumb.

How old is your LO?  My son is 3 months old and over the past month or so he has really been exploring his hands with his mouth and he has more recently been able to get his thumbs separated from his fist so he can suck on them.  I believe this behavior is developmentally appropriate and important.  Remember, your baby learns a lot about the world by putting things is his/her mouth, it is totally normal and does not mean LO will be a life long thumb sucker.

Post # 7
679 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

I would definitely encourage a pacifier over a thumb!  Both are habits that ned to be broken eventually and you can’t take away the thumb.  As a Speech Pathologist, I have seen and worked with the damage made by thumbsucking.  The right pacifier is orthodontic and appropriate for the oral cavity.  There is a difference between thumbsucking and “hand chewing”.  When children are teething, oftenthey will chew on fingers, fists, etc.  They are doing that to soothe their gums, not typically a habit that sticks around. 

I will also add, that not all thumbsucking is bad and not all children maintain the habit, which could lead to poor dentition or disordered speech.

Post # 8
4753 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Break the habit!

I was a thumbsucker in grade 7 it was aweful and obviously I tried to stop but like a crack addict, I couldn’t.

Post # 10
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

EmbarassedHello, I sucked my thumb as a kid, and I am AGAINST it. It was very hard for my parents to break me from the habit, I remember crying over and over at night time when my parents would try different things. such as putting socks and tape on my thumbs. I didnt stop sucking my thumb until I was 7 years old, after being made fun of by my cousins and friends.

Post # 11
1048 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

As the mom of a 10 year old previous thumsucker, do NOT do it!  I am now paying, literally paying, for this habit in the form of extensive orthodontia work over the past 3 years.  

Breaking the habit was near to impossible and she did not fully stop thumbsucking until about 5 1/2.  Her palate was so deep and her overbite is so large that it two years of various orthodontic contraptions to get her mouth into shape for braces, which she has now.  

At least a pacifier can be taken away and are developed with orthodontia in mind.  I plan on encouraging a pacifier (well, I plan on encouraging nothing but will go with a pacifier if need be) for my next one.  

Post # 12
2140 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

View original reply

Agreed. My niece and 2 nephews were all raised without a pacifier or thumb sucking. Perhaps my siblings got lucky but I personally do not plan on using a pacifier or allowing thumb sucking.

We’ll see how that works out.


Post # 13
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

id say keep the paci and break it when you think your child is ready..

as a dental hygienist i know what severe finger sucking can do to your teeth!!… also she could develope a lifelong habit.. i know that sounds weird. but there are 40 yo patients that still do it either in their sleep or on accident.. and cant keep their teeth in line!


Post # 14
1675 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I used to suck my fingers, and I’m also of the opinion that you should encourage the paci and discourage the thumb sucking at all costs.  I want to echo multiple issues that have already been raised in this thread. My mom was of the self-soothing camp, and this is what it got me:

(1) I sucked my fingers until I was 9 and was teased relentlessly for it.

(2)  I had terrible teeth that needed tons of very expensive orthodonture to fix,  This happened because I was still sucking my fingers when my adult teeth came in, and my finger sucking caused my teeth to not come in straight. 

(3) I had to go to speech therapy for years to fix my lisp, which was probably a result of the fact that my teeth weren’t straight…. which in turn was due to my finger sucking. 

Lol, I’m not bitter at all!  My kids will have pacifiers, which they will be weaned off of once they’re at an age when they can self soothe through methods other than thumb or finger sucking.

The topic ‘Thumb Sucking’ is closed to new replies.

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