Thumb Sucking

In a young baby, thumb sucking is a very strong reflex, and most babies suck their thumbs or fingers at some stage. Most will stop on their own after a few months, or perhaps after they begin toddling around and have more interesting activities to occupy them.

Some parents feel they should stop a baby sucking, but this is likely to do more harm than good, as the baby’s sucking reflex remains unsatisfied. If necessary, a dummy (pacifier) may be substituted for the thumb.

If a toddler of two or three is still sucking its thumb, a parent may wish to remove the thumb gently and distract the child with another activity, but to get cross or force the issue will frustrate and upset the child and usually be unsuccessful.

(Last modified: 3rd Nov 2014)

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