Thumb Sucking Thumb sucking is a common concern for parents. All babies suck their thumbs but this does not seem much of a consolation for nervous parents who worry that their baby has formed a nasty habit and this habit will result in displaced teeth. Well here is a good news. Parents have to keep in mind that this habit disappears gradually on its own and there is absolutely no reason to worry.

Babies normally suck their thumb when they are hungry or when they are scared and thus seek comfort by sucking their thumb. Thus when a baby has not had her fill of sucking at the breast or bottle, it instinctively turns towards its thumb. It is normally observed that breastfed babies are less likely to suck their thumbs. This is because breastfeeding usually satisfies the baby's need to suck. Ordinarily, a baby sucks most of the milk from the mother's breast in about 5 to 6 minutes. Thus if your baby sucks beyond this point it is just to satisfy her craving to suck. If a breastfed baby sucks her thumb immediately after being fed, then allow her to nurse for a longer period of time. Bottle-fed babies start sucking their thumb when they can finish the bottle faster than their normal pace. Thus as the baby grows stronger she finishes her bottle faster and the nipples also become weaker. Thus her craving to suck is not fulfilled and she starts sucking her thumb. To tackle this problem what parents can do is fill the bottle with more vacuum and buy new nipples with smaller holes which will thus slower her down resulting into satisfying her craving to suck.

It is a fact that thumb-sucking can result in the baby's upper front teeth being pushed forward and the lower teeth back. Thus parents are absolutely justified if they worry about this habit of their kid. The extent to which the teeth are displaced or damaged will depend on how long the baby sucks her thumb and how she positions her thumb. However there is one consolation that this displacement of teeth is not permanent. Thumb-sucking only affects the baby's milk teeth. The child's permanent teeth come in around the age of six and thus if this thumb-sucking habit is stopped before the age of six, there will be no permanent damage to the child's teeth.


As mentioned earlier thumb-sucking habit vanishes before the appearance of your baby's permanent teeth. Children usually give up this habit between the age of 3 to 6 years. Initially it decreases rapidly but sometimes the child starts sucking its thumb when it feels lonely and scared and needs some comfort. If your child occasionally sucks her thumb, but generally seems happy and well adjusted, there is no cause for concern. However, thumb-sucking can be an indication of something being wrong. This is a sign for the parents to find out what is wrong and what is bothering your child. Thumb-sucking can also be an indication of loneliness and lack of love. It can also be that your child needs companionship, or may be you are being too restrictive or you are not able to give time and attention to your child. Thus there could be a number of reasons and what you must do is try to find out the reason and be patient and caring to your child.


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