Finger Sucking Habits in Babies

Why do babies suck their hands? What are the harms of thumb sucking? Does thumb sucking cause dental disorders in children? What are the methods to stop thumb sucking? Let’s stop worrying, the answer to all your questions is in this article!

Why do babies suck their thumbs?

Babies’ hand sucking is largely the result of innate sucking reflexes. There is evidence that some babies suck their hands or fingers even during the prenatal period.

So how can I discourage my baby from sucking his thumb? Don’t worry. Thumbsucking reasons aren’t always dangerous. This is an extremely common habit. Since sucking is a normal reflex, you can also consider thumb sucking a natural behavior in babies.

In fact, habits such as thumb sucking allow children to calm down and rest when they feel nervous or tired.

However, in some babies who suck their thumbs, there may be an inability to feel safe, fear, shyness, and an incentive to seek support. That’s why thumb sucking babies should be observed.

How to prevent babies from thumb sucking?

Since thumb sucking is a very normal behavior in babies, it is best not to panic and take any action.

More than half of thumbsucking babies give up this habit by the time they are 6 or 7 months old. Until the age of 4-5, this situation of your child should not worry you.

Until what age does thumb sucking continue in children?

Young children may continue to suck their fingers for up to 8 years or a little longer, especially when they feel very vulnerable.

Thumb sucking in children is most common when the conflict between addiction and independence is intense. When the child feels bad, bored or in bad weather, he can cling to this habit.

What are the harms of thumb sucking in children?

The baby’s thumb sucking can cause disorders in the mouth structure and changes in the alignment of the teeth during the period when the permanent teeth begin to erupt. Therefore, “Does thumb sucking cause dental disorders?” The answer is unfortunately yes. For this reason, children need to stop thumb sucking after the age of 5 due to the eruption of permanent teeth.

If it’s a long-standing habit, it’s time to do something to get the child to stop thumb sucking. For this, you should start to take various precautions, especially during the 2-4 years of age of your little one.

What are the methods to stop thumb sucking?

Finger sucking therapy is usually applied to children over 5 years old. You should definitely consult your doctor to use products such as drugs that stop thumb sucking.

In order to stop thumb sucking, first of all, severe emotional or stress-related problems that may cause the child to continue this habit should be investigated. At the same time, the child should also want to quit this habit and participate directly in the chosen treatment.

You may hear advice from people around you to use pacifiers that stop thumb sucking. However, this simply replaces the sucking habit with another.

  • First of all, you should remind your little one during the day when they suck their thumbs. In order to get rid of this habit, it is important that you act as a team and talk nicely with him about his problem.
  • You can help your little one by preparing activities to prevent thumb sucking. Activities that require the use of two hands, such as finger painting, riding a rocking horse, playing catch, kneading bread dough, may work.
  • The thumb sucking child may think he is uninterested. Give him lots of love and attention. Make sure your child is getting enough rest and sleep.
  • If your speeches, reminders and activities are not working and your child is trying to quit this habit, some doctors recommend deterrent treatment methods as a last resort. Finger-sucking tape is one of them. In these methods, which are designed to serve as a reminder, the child’s finger is wrapped with a bandage or covered with a finger guard.
  • In the rare cases where there are serious dental problems and the techniques we mentioned fail, some dentists insert a thumb-sucking device inside the child’s mouth. This prevents fingers from putting pressure on the teeth or palate.
  • Other options include putting gloves on the child’s hands and using socks or duct tape to help the child stop blocking their finger. Whichever method you use, getting a successful result depends on how hard your child wants and tries to stop the thumb sucking habit.
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