Thumb Sucking in Infants

Thumb Sucking in Infants

Some babies are born thumbsuckers. Our youngest was seen sucking her thumb in an ultrasound photo, and had it happily stuck in her mouth within hours of birth. In many babies, the need to suck is not satisfied by bottle-feeding or breastfeeding alone, and they learn to suck on the ever- present thumb for comfort. 

"The seemingly insatiable desire to suck is there for a reason. Sucking mellows the fussy baby, helping to organize the otherwise disorganized bio-rhythms of a newborn. Some babies need more mellowing than others. A child who has gotten attached to her thumb will tell you she needs it to help her relax." - Dr. Sears

Ellie Ears positional support pillow thumb sucking

As our little thumb sucker grew it became increasingly obvious that she was a very tactile baby. Beyond soothing herself by sucking her thumb, she would rub her face against our bare skin when she was tired over over stimulated. As she grew this continued - even at 3 she would sit on the floor in the kitchen while I made dinner and rub her cheek against my bare leg. Or sit and rub my bare arm. Along with sucking her thumb whenever she was tired or upset.

Ellie Ears positional Support pillow thumb sucking

As babies grow into toddlers there are potential negative impacts to thimbsucking but you can cross that bridge when you come to it. At 4 our family dentist started to see shifting in Morgan's bite and we began the journey of helping her to stop sucking her thumb. We met with a dental hygienst, here in Calgary who specializes in helping children stop. Afterwards Morgan was able to verbally express that she wanted to stop sucking her thumb. We gave her a ton of positive reinforcement, and a special sock to wear on the hand that she favored for sucking. It took about 2 weeks with the sock at bedtime and on car rides (when she tended to suck), and she did it!

If you would like a post on how we helped our daughter stop sucking her thumb please let me know!