Thumb sucking is very common in babies. Babies suck their thumbs as they find comfort in it andfeel secure. Thumb sucking can be a signal for hunger. Thumb sucking can become a habit if notprevented early. Here's a guide on thumb sucking.Introduction
suck their thumbs more than others, but the fact remains that all babies do. This
seem much of a consolation for anxious
who worry that their baby has formed a nasty
that will make her the butt of jokes and may even result in displaced or damaged
. Theseparents should remember that thumb-sucking comes naturally to
whether it is because she ishungry, seeking comfort, or just exploring her body.
pull your baby's thumb out of her mouthevery
she puts it into her mouth
. This is definitely not the way to deal with thumb-sucking. Thisapproach could backfire and actually result in the development of a thumb-sucking habit. Parents shouldkeep in mind that thumb-sucking is a habit that disappears of its own volition, gradually petering outbetween the ages of three and six.
Hunger and thumb-sucking
One rationale behind thumb-sucking is that when a baby has not had its fill of sucking at the breast or bottle, it instinctively turns towards its
. Dr. David Levy found that babies who were fed every threehours did not suck their thumbs as avidly as those who were fed every four hours.However, some babies do not display this habit irrespective of their feeding schedule. On the other hand,some babies have been observed to suck their thumbs in the delivery room. Others start right from their days
in the womb
and may even be born with sucking blisters on their arms and hands.Thumb-sucking need not be cause for concern if your baby just sucks her thumb for a few minutes beforemealtimes. It is because she is hungry. However, if
reaches for her thumb immediately after feeding or snacks on her thumb constantly between meals, it is a sign that you need to distract her fromthumb-sucking. Let her have a surfeit of sucking at the breast, bottle or a pacifier. Remember that it isimportant that thumb-sucking be controlled right at the beginning, not after it has become a well-entrenched habit.
Thumb-sucking and breastfeeding
It has been observed that generally breastfed babies are less likely to suck their thumbs. This is becausebreastfeeding usually satisfies the baby's need to suck. It is the baby who decides when she is ready tolet go of the nipple. The mother cannot tell when her breasts are empty.Ordinarily, a baby sucks most of the milk from the mother's breast in a space of 5 or 6 minutes. Suckingbeyond this point is just to satisfy the craving to suck. If a breastfed baby sucks her thumb, allow her tonurse for a longer period of time. If a baby suckles at both the breasts while feeding and still sucks her thumb, the mother could try feeding her from only one breast the next time, allowing her to nurse to her heart's content. If this does not work, increase the duration for which the baby sucks at the first breast and