Thumb-sucking

Radhika - posted on 12/16/2008 ( 25 moms have responded )

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My 11 month old boy sucks his thumb - mostly when he is hungry, tired or sleepy. I am not worried really, but then you get to hear so many well-meaning warnings and tips about how kids should not be allowed to suck their thumbs. Thought I'd ask here for experiences.

25 Comments

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Tinus - posted on 09/02/2017

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Iam havibg a 1yr old boy he knormally suck hes thumb every time when ever he walks and hes chest got wet.whats the experience?

[deleted account]

I use to be a pediatric dental assistant and we weren't worried about kids that sucked their thumbs until their permanent teeth were coming in... That being said...If they are a really strong thumb sucker then yes it can change the shape of the upper pallet (jaw) and make the primary teeth (baby teeth) stick out. In that case they may try to do some intervention, but really I wouldn't worry about it until you see or hear from a dentist they need to stop. My youngest sucks his thumb only when he's holding his "nite-nite" (blanket), but he's starting to give that up and if he doesn't have the blanket...he doesn't suck his thumb, so maybe encourage him having a blanket when he's doing it and that way when he does it it's only with the blanket (our rule when he was younger he couldn't bring it in the car ). Then when he gives up the blanket (won't be cool bringing that out when he's 6 or 7) he will more than likely give up the thumb.
That's my 2 cents;-) Good luck.

Erica - posted on 12/26/2008

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My daughter started sucking her thumb in the womb. She won't take a pacifier. She also sucks her thumb when she's tired or hungry. My pediatrician told me that you just have to shame her later in life. There's no way of breaking a young baby of thumb sucking. (My daughter is 6.5 months.)

Patti - posted on 12/26/2008

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I sucked my thumb for years. I have perfect teeth, never needed braces and I stopped on my own. The only problem I see with it is if it stems from an actual problem. Some kids need a little more security. They are perfect the way they are!

[deleted account]

For all of you that say you haven't seen any problems and not to worry about it... it's a bunch of bull!! I personally struggled with sucking my thumb until I was around 14! I still to this day have the urge to do.. my sister on the other hand.. she only sucked her thumb until about 6 or 7 and she has permenant damage from it. Her palate is soo pressed up into her nasal cavity that it has caused breathing problem on top of her upper and lower teeth being pressed out!! It is a problem... BUT my 2 year old sucks her 2 middle fingers and I can not get her to stop! She is just dead set on them.

Megan - posted on 12/17/2008

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I have the same problem, only with my boyfriend's daughter. She is turning 6 this month and CONSTANTLY sucks her thumb. We try to tell her to stop and that it's going to make her teeth stick out but she says she doesn't care. My boyfriend sends her to her room and says if she wants to suck her thumb then she has to do it in there. Her teeth are already starting to stick out a little. We told her we were going to get that stuff to put on her nails and she threw a huge fit. My boyfriend tried to get it at wal-greens but they didn't have it, we don't know where to get it. I don't know if her mom cares at all about it. My concern is that I am pregnant with my first child and I don't want her picking up this bad habit from her older sister!

Emma - posted on 12/16/2008

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i dnt listen to all the miths, if a baby wants to suck his/her thumb then let them carry on,it is prob better then having a dummy. just carry on wot u are doing, it's how you feel best with your child not others.

Josie - posted on 12/16/2008

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4 out of 5 of my children suck their thumb. 3 of them gave it up on their own, they have perfect teeth. My 5 year old is trying but she'll out grow it on her own like the others. Too be honest w/ you it's not a big concern... :)

User - posted on 12/16/2008

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My 5 year old still sucks her thumb and we were concerned because her teeth were being affected because she was a constant thumb sucker until the age of 3...we limited it to bedtime and the dentist can't even tell that she sucks her thumb! The dentist also said to only use positive correction and eventually they will stop on their own.

Felicia - posted on 12/16/2008

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Thumb sucking prevents the palate to drop and expand laterally as the child skull is developing, thus causing anterior open bite. If you can help your child to stop before she/he turns four, there is still hope because as she/he is growing, the palate can still develop and still can have a chance to expand. If you wait too long, the jaw gets lock in, and it would be harder for the palate to expand and develop correctly, then you will need to seek professional help. If you have a hard time to help your kids stop thumb sucking by the age of four, you should ask your dentist to have your child wear an appliance that can help her stop. By the age of seven, if your child is still sucking thumb and is having severe malocclusion, she should be starting phase I ortho already, don't wait until all her permanent teeth to come in, becasue by then, it might be too late, and she/he might need surgery to help correct the malocclusion.

Nikki - posted on 12/16/2008

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My daughter sucked her thumb from the womb till she was 12! We tried everything when she was little but nothing worked, she learned real fast how to wash her hands. :) the cleanest thumb in the world... lol. Although it seemed to take forever she quit on her on, and rarely thinks about it anymore. All kids are different so just take it in stride, and time will be the deciding factor. I learned early if it didn't make her sick or caused any problems with her teeth, I would let her decide, and it worked.. Good luck.. Have a great Holiday Season...

Brittany - posted on 12/16/2008

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My daughter is 2 almost three and still sucks her thumb, I'm also not worried about it, when my hubby was little he sucked his thumb for ever as did his older cousin and older sister, and they all turned out fine. But if you want your son to stop a good thing to try is that bitter tasting nail polish for people who want to stop biting there nails.

Juliette - posted on 12/16/2008

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My oldest who is four sucks his thumb only when he has his blankie and is tired or needs self-soothing. I think it's fine and friends are jealous that he calms down so quickly when he does suck the thumb.

Valerie - posted on 12/16/2008

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Hi. My 6 year old sucks her thumb and we have tried everything from taping her thumb at night to using the nail polish. Nothing worked. Now, her pallat is malformed and she is going to need an orthodontist in a few years when all of her teeth come in. My older daughter never sucked her thumb and she has beautiful teeth. Thumb sucking can really mess their mouth up especially when their permanent teeth come in.

Michelle - posted on 12/16/2008

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Both my kids suck theirs (8 months and 3 years) I don't worry too bad about it, i have heard you don't need to worry until about 6 years

Cindi - posted on 12/16/2008

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oh, also, some people say, they will out grow it, and yes, most do... but my daughters friend, who is 11 still sucks her thumb... in public!

Wendy - posted on 12/16/2008

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My twin daughters both suck their thumbs. I thank God they never wanted a pacifier. I sucked my thumb until the 1st grade (and never needed braces), so I am not about to discourage them from doing it at 17 months. They will eventually stop on their own:)

[deleted account]

Push an orthopedic pacifier if possible!! I am a dental hygienist and have seen the ramifications of thumb/finger sucking! I have 3 girls and my youngest refused the pacifier and LOVED her fingers so I feel your pain! I tried gloves, nail polish, etc. and when she was tired she unconsciously did it-regardless. Eventually they should out grow it but it's best to nip it prior to the habit forming!

Eventually the thumb/fingers will move the teeth (upper and lower teeth!) and could cause issues with the roof of the mouth as well.

Laurie - posted on 12/16/2008

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One of my daughters sucked her fingers and there was not a thing we could do to keep her from it. Personally, I don't think you should worry about it. If the thumb sucking persists, the dentist can put an appliance on the back of their top teeth that helps them stop... I guess because it changes the feel and makes them more aware of what they're doing. My daughter had one put on when she was five and stopped sucking her fingers within a week, with no pain at all... and no dental corrections needed either.

Cindi - posted on 12/16/2008

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My daughter is 7 1/2, she just stopped sucking her thumb... she was the same, hungry or sleepy... It did mess up her teeth... what we did was a batting glove, too big for your little one... I tried when she was smaller, but it was so traumatizing to her, I decided it was not worth it. When she was around 3 she and I made a rule that she could not suck her thumb during the daytime... only in bed at night. It worked for the most part. But now after the batting glove, she is thumb free! And her teeth have moved so much! You can barely tell that she was a thumb sucker!

Sharon - posted on 12/16/2008

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this a tough 1 my nephew is 17 and still sucks his thumb when he's tired and doesn't even realise he's doing it, my son is 8 and still sucks his thumb i tried him with a dummy when he was little but he wasn't interested in it my son on occasions has sucked his thumb in school and has been told off in front of the class for doing it much to my horror i have tried the nail biting stuff and it didn't work i have tried telling him every time he puts it in his mouth doesn't work within seconds it back in more so when he's tired or relaxing so it is mainly at home now, my son's teeth aren't to bad from it because he rests it in his mouth more than propper sucking if i had my time again with him i would have nipped it in the bud a lot sooner the nail biting stuff might work better on a 11 month old because he can't go and wash his hands on his own and believe me he may grow out of it but he could be 20 before he does and will endure a lot of bullying in that time

[deleted account]

try to break the habbit in winter and put mitten on his hands wool as lond as there is no allergies the feel and taste will stop them, just make sure its the all in one mitten

Stephanie - posted on 12/16/2008

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I wish I could help. I have a 6 year old who sucks his fingers. I wants to stop, but he has such a hard time. I hate to make him. We kept thinking he'll stop when he is ready. Now, we have to see the orthodontist! :( I'll see what others have to say. I just wanted to say that I feel your pain.

User - posted on 12/16/2008

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My daughter sucks her thumb too, she as 3, she asked me the week b4 her 3rd birthday if she could stop..so i went to the chemist with her and we bought the nail polish u put on ur nails to stop u biting them.. was great for a couple of weeks, she would remind me and everything, until i realised that after a couple of hours the taste would wear off ans she would start sucking her thumb at night while she was asleep. I have stopped worrying about it..her teeth r a little stuck out..but not too much !

Heather - posted on 12/16/2008

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Hi, My little girl is 3 and sucks her thumb. To me its for comfort as she does it when she is tired. I know all the books say they shouldn't do it but to be truthful I sucked my thumb till I was 9 and my husband was the same and it didn't do any harm.

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