If your baby started to suck their thumb, would you replace it with a dummy?

(75 Posts)
abigboydidit Mon 13-May-13 09:12:34

Just that really! DD (15 weeks) has suddenly became very sucky and discovered her thumb. A friend was visiting at the weekend and was horrified that I was letting her do so and went on to describe horror stories of her own DCs teeth being damaged by thumb sucking and how at least with a dummy you control when they have it.

This had never occurred to meblush I was just pleased she was soothing herself but I do see her point.. Any thoughts or experiences welcomed, thanks.

nowgotosleep Mon 13-May-13 09:53:02

My DD is a thumbsucker, she sucked her thumb in utero as we saw it on a scan. She didnt initially suck her thumb once born, but started again at 3 months. I have discouraged it as much as possible during the day, she generally only does it when going to sleep or if she gets hurt. I tried a dummy but she was not keen. However, my DS never sucked his thumb or had a dummy and he has a huge overbite anyway as it runs in my DH family. So I think I'm stuffed either way really!

Blatherskite Mon 13-May-13 10:03:48

My nephew is having to have lots of dental work done to repair damage done by 14 years of thumb sucking. His parents have tried everything from nasty tasting nail varnish to reminding him constantly in an effort to get him to stop and nothing has worked. He was in tears when he learned he had to have a brace sad but even that didn't stop him!

I would have definitely given a dummy to mine if they'd shown any interest in their thumbs - especially once the fSIDS guidance showing them to reduce the risk of cot death came in like it did when DD was born. I actively tried to get her to have one but she wanted none of it.

rootypig Mon 13-May-13 10:11:22

My aunt is an orthodontist, trained and practises in north America, where they're generally ahead of us on all matters teeth. She has advised me to give DD (finger sucker) an orthodontic dummy getting her to take it is another matter. I sucked my thumb til I was 14 blush, have had two rounds of orthodontics, and still not keen on the shape of my mouth.

lydiajones Mon 13-May-13 10:20:45

I wish I had given my oldest a dummy as he still sucks his thumb at night now (age 8) and his teeth are sticking forward. I usually go in and pull it out when he is sleeping! We have tried all sorts to help him stop (stop n grow, rewards etc.) but he just can't get to sleep without it now!

I gave my youngest a dummy and managed to get rid of it when he was 3.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 13-May-13 10:26:14

DS sucked this thumb, I didn't replace with a dummy and he gave it up about 2 or 3 - no impact on his teeth. Dd sucks her fingers, she's now 5, I can't get her to stop and her teeth are crooked. Dentist already flagged that she may need a referral to an orthodontist. I wish I'd given her a dummy.

If I had had any more DCs I would have given them a dummy at the first sign of any finger or thumb sucking.

WillSantaComeAgain Mon 13-May-13 10:29:13

Really not convinced that thumbsucking causes dental problems - having been an avid finger sucker till I was 13, and DH was a thumbsucker for years. Neither of us have had a day's worth of ortho treatment.

I can't imagine depriving my 2 year old of a comfort mechanism. Seems cruel to me.

LifeofPo Mon 13-May-13 10:34:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

abigboydidit Mon 13-May-13 10:34:37

sad WillSantaComeAgain. I honestly don't intend to be cruel to DD or deprive her of a comfort mechanism! I just wondered if I should switch the comfort of her thumb for a similar comforter which would be less likely to cause her harm. Glad to hear not all thumb suckers end up with wonky teeth though!

mawbroon Mon 13-May-13 10:40:08

Are you breastfeeding OP?

DS2 started sucking his thumb when he was a few weeks old and I managed to stop him by offering him a breastfeed every time he did it.

RandomMess Mon 13-May-13 10:49:35

Whether or not it causes issues depends on how you suck and on genetics too but it is a risk of it.

I'm 30, and I still suck my thumb. blush My bottom teeth are awful, but thankfully my top ones aren't bad. I had braces, plates, gunk painted on my thumb, gloves, and I still automatically try to suck my thumb when I'm tired. My thumb nail is awful too.

DD is 3, she had a dummy, but gave it up several months ago, without any problems (we were very lucky!) If DC2 starts sucking it's thumb once it's here, I will be getting dummies in asap.

SoupDragon Mon 13-May-13 10:56:28

WillSantaComeAgain It causes changes to the shape of the face as well.

DSs orthodontist looked at my face, not my teeth, and said "You were a thumbsucker". My teeth were fine (until my wisdom teeth came in) with absolutely no orthodontic treatment.

I'm sure there are lots of people who smoked 40 a day and lived to 99. That doesn't mean smoking doesn't kill.

I find your comment about depriving a 2 year old a comfort object being cruel rather offensive. With hindsight, I wish I'd been that cruel rather than have to deal with the tears of this orthodontic treatment and the hours I've had to spend being firm and harsh and insisting they put the brace back in.

SoupDragon Mon 13-May-13 10:58:32

The only thing that stopped DS1 sucking his thumb was when the brace and orthodontic treatment got to the point where he could no longer get his thumb in his mouth. Even then I used to find him with his thumb touching his lips in a sucking position when I went to kiss him good night.

WillSantaComeAgain Mon 13-May-13 10:59:30

Sorry OP, I didn't mean to suggest you were cruel! I just can't imagine DD not sucking her thumb now! It also lets me know when she's feeling tired/insecure and so I know she needs a hug. If she didn't have her comforter on her (i.e. she used a dummy and was only allowed it at sleepy time) then I'd worry I'd miss out on a crucial tell!

I've just always been intrigued as to HOW it causes problems, particularly when I was the worst finger sucker in the family and the only one not to need braces!!

RandomMess Mon 13-May-13 10:59:44

Mine also had comfort cuddlies as well as dummies/thumbs and they still have them. Also converting them to dummies when they are young isn't depriving them you are replacing a potential comfort item with a substitute.

RandomMess Mon 13-May-13 11:02:11

X-posts you just learn other clues Will.

I used to think mine looked so cute sucking their thumbs and snuggling their bunnies <<bashes head on nearest wall>>

polkadotsrock Mon 13-May-13 11:13:22

My ds sucked his thumb but stopped himself pretty much as soon as he could find his mouth immediately and stopped poking himself in the eye en route confused. He was maybe 3/4 months, he's 18 months now and it's never reappeared

Blatherskite Mon 13-May-13 11:37:13

A swap from thumb to dummy is painless. You're not depriving them of a comfort mechanism, you're just swapping one to the other.

Years worth of braces and orthodontic treatment are much more uncomfortable and even painful sometimes. I had a brace even without being a thumb sucker and that thing hurt sometimes!

I know which I'd rather.

MaryPoppinsBag Mon 13-May-13 13:29:31

My 2 had dummies, we got rid if them they were 3. Painlessly and with no damage to their mouths or teeth.

I look after a 3.5 year old mindee who sucks his thumb. Apart from being unhygienic when he holds my hand, it cannot help his speech delay/ problem forming words properly and I can see how his teeth already stick out and his mouth shape is different to my son's.

He sucks it during quiet times where as if he had a dummy that was restricted to bedtimes only he wouldn't be able to. I have started telling him to take his thumb out, to encourage not do it.

I'd go for a dummy any day!

gourd Mon 13-May-13 13:40:21

Ours sucked her thumb around 12/13 weeks - basically this was around the time she noticed she had them and could put them in her mouth but she only did it for about a week before realising she could hold and suck on other things that were more interesting! Babies put things in their mouths to explore them. I don’t think this means your child will be a thumb sucker in later life. I don’t see how you can force a BABY to not suck their thumb either! If it becomes a problem in later years there are techniques and horrible tasting anti-nail-bite stuff you put on nails to try to stop nail-biting or thumb sucking, but for now just let your baby explore things.

gourd Mon 13-May-13 13:44:09

I also think you will find removing a dummy from your child very hard to do if your child takes to it. I would have thought that telling them as soon as they are old enough to understand (toddler up) that sucking thumb will damage their teeth and/or using rewards for not sucking and/or horrid tasting goo etc would be better than deliberately introducing a dummy then removing it.. But none of this may be necessary anyway.

shufflehopstep Mon 13-May-13 13:50:56

I sucked my thumb until I was about 5 or 6 and had no dental problems as a result of it. My mum and dad maintain that I still do it now when I'm really tired, but I have no awareness of this! hmm DD started sucking her thumb at around 2 months but tends to only do it when she's tired. I really don't understand why some people make such a big deal over it. If your child is a bit older and their teeth are suffering then obviously you will need to try some techniques to wean them off it but otherwise, if it offers them comfort, leave them to it. Most children stop themselves once they get to school anyway.

Longdistance Mon 13-May-13 13:58:39

I have a 22mo thumb sucker. She only does it when she's tired or upset ie; dd1 takes a toy off her.

I was very happy when she started sucking her thumb, as dd1 didn't like any soothers and was a nightmare to get to sleep, nap and comfort her.

I won't discourage her, as it comforts her.

I wouldn't offer a dummy myself.

meglet Mon 13-May-13 14:06:29

I'd try and persuade them to use a dummy instead of their thumb.

You can bin a dummy but you can't bin a thumb.

DS is in his 6th year of thumb sucking (he refused a dummy) and I'm buggered if I know how we're going to crack it. If he's sleeping with it in then I try and take it out, but it's stuck tight like a limpet.

SoupDragon Mon 13-May-13 14:25:12

DSs orthodontist recommends long rugby type socks, put on both arms under PJs. I reckon a pair of tights worn like a shrug would be more effective. He believes that if you crack night time sucking, daytime will follow.

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