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7 Month old Sucking Thumb

I need some advice regarding my almost 7 month old who sucks his thumb and has a pacifier.   He has had a pacifier since birth and began sucking his thumb around 4 months old. At first we thought it was just a phase. When he sucks his thumb, I offer him his pacifier or distract him with toys.  At 6 months, we took the pacifier away at night and applied socks to avoid thumb sucking. The thumb sucking during the day really bothered me so I gave the paci back during the day. I just don't get why he continues to suck his thumb - especially when he has the soother in his mouth all the time. I really don't like him to have his paci all the time but it's the only option I have to try to stop the thumb sucking. What else can I do to discourage the thumb?

As I’m sure you have seen on my website that I am “pro-pacifier”. I do believe that pacifier use can prevent thumb sucking. We normally give our under 1 year olds their paci whenever they want it. Around one, we begin to limit and restrict their pacifier use to bedtime, long car rides, stressful situations and church. If children begin to suck their fingers or thumb, I recommend increasing a child’s pacifier use to prevent the development of bad habits. Part of the reason, we allow our children to have a pacifier until 2 years old is to discourage the development of other sucking behaviors during this “oral” phase of life.

Our third child did not initially take a pacifier. He simply was not interested. Around 4 months, he began to suck his thumb. In order to stop his new thumb sucking habit, we began to offer his paci. Every time he sucked his thumb, we pulled out his thumb and replaced it with a pacifier. Initially, he spit out the paci and tried to suck his thumb. We persisted and he learned to enjoy his pacifier. Eventually, with consistency he quit sucking his thumb.

Your son’s case is odd as most children won’t suck their thumb if they already have a pacifier. I agree that encouraging the paci is really your only option. For now, give him a pacifier and continue to discourage his thumb sucking. When he sucks his thumb, keep pulling it out and keep offering him a paci. He needs constant access to pacifiers. For this to succeed, you are going to have to be very persistent as your son has an established habit. I continue to believe that pacifiers can prevent thumb sucking - as in our son’s case. We were able to prevent his thumb sucking by encouraging a pacifier before his thumb habit really got started. You will have to let me know if you can use pacifiers to break a several month thumb sucking habit.

4 month old thumbsucking

Our son is 4 months old and constantly has his hands in his mouth. He seems to be chewing on them more than sucking them at this point but we are worried he is going to become a thumb sucker. (... more on thumbsucking)

 

Written January 2014
Gregory Gordon MD, Orlando Pediatrician

 

 

 

 

 

 

gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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