Thumb Sucking

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Quite often, parents are faced with the fact that the child sucks his thumb. This activity gives a lot of pleasure to a kid. It is especially common among babies, although it is also found in children older than 4-5 years. But, if for some parents this is not a cause for concern, then for others, this picture is terrifying.

Indeed, many experts warn that a seemingly harmless child’s habit can cause a chain of unpleasant consequences, such as curvature of the bite, infection of the gums, destruction of enamel on the nail plate, etc.

Children can suck not only their fingers but other objects as well. Usually, these are the same items. By removing them from sight, as in the case of sucking a pacifier, a substitution reaction can be triggered – the child will simply switch to another thing. Along with thumb sucking, many babies make some other obsessive movements. For example, you can watch them stroking their ears, picking their noses, licking their lips, or sniffing. Habits of this kind help the child to calm down, escape from fears, occupy himself in the absence of attention from the parents, their affection, and communication.

Thumb Sucking Reasons

  • Psychological reasons. If the habit of sucking a finger or other objects does not disappear in the right period, being transferred from early childhood to preschool, or, having disappeared, reappears after three years, this is a signal that the child has mental discomfort. Sucking fingers indicates that something is bothering the baby, not all is well with him, and he cannot cope with it on his own.
  • An unsatisfied sucking reflex. When the mother is not breastfeeding the baby enough and at the same time does not give a pacifier, it may result in the baby pulling fingers, toys, pillow, or blanket corners into his mouth.
  • Hunger. Thumb sucking can also be caused by feeding the baby “on the clock” and hunger, which he may experience in between. This physiological habit can become permanent, obsessive if you do not change the child’s diet.
  • Teething. Teething becomes a completely natural physiological reason for sucking fingers or other objects in children after six months. The gums begin to itch, teeth form, and the child can begin to eliminate the source of anxiety in this way.

What is not recommended

Do not tie the baby’s hands, do not hide them in gloves, and do not smear with bitter substances. More often than not, if you have not eliminated the cause of the thumb sucking, the child will return to it again or will suck on a diaper, pillow, toy hare ear, or another object that is convenient for this. Watch your baby, try to understand the reason for thumb or fist sucking, try to take action and everything will gradually work out.

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