Many babies suck their thumb in place of the pacifier, a movement that helps them relax.
Surely, at some point, you have seen a baby sucking his thumb . And it is that this behavior, something that shocks us so much to adults, is something totally common in babies, something that they do in an almost physiological way. Of course: it is a habit that should not be prolonged in time, since it could end up generating complications in the baby’s mouth.
But why do babies suck their thumb? Or why do they have the need to suck on the pacifier, or whatever object is within their reach? It is very easy to explain: this sucking reflex is something innate during the first months, and even up to two years. If you try to touch around a baby’s mouth (carefully, and with clean hands) you will see that he begins to suck almost instantly, because it is a reflex , it is not something he controls.
This suction makes them feel much more secure , it makes them understand the world around them in a different way. It is a kind of comfort, something that reassures them considerably, and has been doing practically since the womb. If the baby is scared, tired, bored … He will surely end up with his finger in his mouth to face that harsh outside world with more force. That sucking on their finger makes them feel much more relaxed , which is not something that we should worry too much about. Unless this takes longer than necessary, of course, because then it could end up causing the child to have mouth conditions. But we’re talking about six years old, which is when the permanent teeth will start to come in .
IS THUMB SUCKING ALWAYS HARMFUL?
As we have already pointed out, this gesture of sucking the thumb is common in babies. Ultrasound scans of fourteen-week-old fetuses have been seen sucking on their fingers, which is the most natural thing in the world. It is positive that they know how to suck, since it will be necessary for them when feeding. However, this urge to suck can be satisfied with a pacifier, and is even preferable. Especially because, by the time this is a habit, it will be much easier to get the baby to abandon it if we talk about a pacifier than if we talk about the finger. By the time the pacifier disappears, there won’t be much of a problem ( crying aside, of course), but it will be impossible to make the finger disappear.
According to the American Dental Association , babies can suck their thumb without any problems as a rule. Because sucking is not harmful per se; It depends a lot on the thrust you make with your tongue and the intensity with which you suck your finger. If it is done with great force, the teeth will probably be deformed. In this sense, the best thing you can do is start monitoring him , see how he sucks his thumb, and decide for yourself if it is a good idea to start to kick the habit. It will not be easy, but it is possible.
WHEN DO CHILDREN STOP THUMB SUCKING?
Children usually stop thumb sucking around the age of two and four or so. They usually do it without anyone forcing them, autonomously, and because they will get tired of doing it. In addition, when they see that the rest of the children do not suck their thumb, they will adapt to what they do.
The best thing you can do is let him do it, and correct him little by little if you see that the situation lasts longer than necessary . Because if you pressure him to stop, he probably wants to do it much more. There are techniques that are used to prevent the child from sucking his finger, but they will seem unfair punishments, and will make him look for other alternatives, with which the best thing is to let everything follow its natural rhythm.
Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.