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.

LifeofPo Mon 13-May-13 14:27:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EvidenceBasedMum Mon 13-May-13 14:28:36

I think you have very little control over it and lots of dummy-suckers will promptly replace their dummy with a thumb once the dummy is taken away.

I am delighted my 7 month old sucks her thumb as it has made a huge difference to her sleep and am not planning on worrying about it until she is much older (and can be bribed to stop!). As far as I am aware there is no association with speech issues either (unlike dummies)

And, although no form of evidence and purely my own experience, I sucked my thumb until my late teens / early 20s (obviously only in secret) and have lovely teeth and never needed braces...

SoupDragon Mon 13-May-13 14:29:13

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

Good luck with that.

LifeofPo Mon 13-May-13 14:32:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MsCellophane Mon 13-May-13 14:44:07

Thumbsucking very often (nearly always) changes the shape of the jaw and pallate - as as the child grows the face grows around the thumb which causes the buck tooth look but it's the jaw that is mishapen

Dummies are softer so don't cause such bad issues and most dummies are stopped age 2-4, long before growing has finished

One of mine was a thumb sucker, so I would remove the thumb and replace with a dummy. We removed the dummies when she was 2 but she started to suck her finger. Which has caused her huge problems. Her upper jaw is narrow, and her teeth don't sit together, she has a perfect finger shaped hole between her teeth. We tried to fix it with braces but had to wait until she stopped sucking as no brace is stronger than a thumb or a finger. The treatment was so painful she didn't complete it. She hates her teeth and still wakes up some mornings with the finger in her mouth - she is early twenties. She is saving up for very expensive orthodontist work. She is also having a terrible time with her wisdom teeth, already having one removed and it's likely she will need the others taken out too

The others were all content with dummies. They had slightly mishapen teeth whist using but they straightened out once the dummy was stopped. We only used it for sleeping so in bed and the car/buggy occasionally and no one had it older than 3. No teeth/jaw issues, all adult now

If we could go back, we would have tried much harder to stop the finger sucking, maybe keeping the dummy for a little bit longer.

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.

It did for me - it has clearly altered the shape of my palate which is VERY rounded, and my thumb fits perfectly in it. It fact my palate is so round that it pushes against my nasal passages, making them slightly smaller.

I was a thumbsucker for 17 years (was born with it in my mouth apparently!), I had four years of permanant braces, 4 perfectly healthy teeth removed and a further two years of removable retainers.

(and can be bribed to stop!)

Yeah. Cos my mum didn't try bribing me. Chocolate, treats, etc, plus nasty tasting stuff on my thumb never made a blind bit of difference.

RandomMess Mon 13-May-13 19:58:29

We did the sock with tape wrapped around them - with dds agreement I hasten to add!

raisinggirls Mon 13-May-13 20:01:09

DD1 never a thumb sucker, DD2 had a dummy until she found her thumb, then only wanted her thumb. Stopped sucking her thumb at 5 months when her first 2 teeth came through.

They are all different, but I totally take everyone's point about dental work. My brother and sister were both thumb suckers, I wasn't, and they both had traintrack braces with headgear. I didn't.

sneezecakesmum Mon 13-May-13 20:07:21

Extended thumbsucking can sometimes have a detrimental affect on teeth but so can dummies if left too long (but at least you have the dummy fairy on your side grin )

However if a 15 week old baby has never had a dummy before, especially a bf one, you dont have a cat in hells chance of her taking to it.

surely as long as the child stops sucking the thumb by the time the adult teeth come through there will be no problems?
so whats the big deal?

HandMini Mon 13-May-13 20:10:37

OP, I have DD2 a similar age to yours and I have pushed dummy on her in place of thumb. She started going for the thumb from birth, but I am really wary about thumb sucking. My sister had terrible orthodontic issues from thumb sucking.

trixymalixy Mon 13-May-13 20:18:08

I would try to replace with a dummy. It is much harder to stop them sucking a thumb than getting rid of a dummy.

I still suck my fingers and my parents tried everything to stop me. Thankfully (and luckily) I don't have problems with my teeth.

My two had dummies. DD gave hers up herself at about 1 and DS has his until 5 as he would suck his thumb when we took it away so we gave it back as I really didn't want him to be a thumb sucker.

Piemother Mon 13-May-13 20:28:21

Exh and I both thumb sucked as kids. No tooth issues.
Dd1 thumb sucked as soon as she was able but at 3 almost never does it during the day only going to sleep with no intervention from me.
Dd2 seems to have stopped finger sucking at 6 months. Pain in the arse she has stopped self settling!
I would never give a dummy though.

dyslexicdespot Mon 13-May-13 20:31:17

The big deal is that it is many people find it very hard to stop sucking their thumbs/fingers, even if they want to. I was desperate to stop once it became incredibly embarrassing, but to no avail.

abigboydidit Mon 13-May-13 21:00:55

Wow. This has been a total eye opener. I had no idea quite how much damage thumb sucking could cause and I really never appreciated how hard people who want to stop find it to give up. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply.

SoupDragon Tue 14-May-13 07:27:24

surely as long as the child stops sucking the thumb by the time the adult teeth come through there will be no problems?
so whats the big deal?

The big deal is that you are wrong.

meglet Tue 14-May-13 09:24:52

whiteandyellow because by that age they aint taking that thumb out for love nor money, or Lego minifigures, or warnings about crooked teeth and braces.

maybe i was just lucky with dd, as she sucked her thumb as a baby and small toddler and it was very handy, she used to get herself of to sleep as a baby sucking it, she was also sucking it in the womb too

then when she was about preschool age, we started putting plasters on it and telling her not to do it anymore
we also used stop and grow and gloves at night time

now she does not do it, her teeth are lovely

i know people that have had nightmare with dummys, when it comews to taking them away, and when they fall out in the night and babies cant find them
and speech problems

but maybe we are just lucky dd stopped at quite a good age

it was dds dentist that told mre as long as thumb suckers stop it before the adult teeth come through it doesnt cause any problems

Weegiemum Tue 14-May-13 09:49:21

My older dc (dd1 and ds) had dummies. Dd2 was sucking before she was born, and still sucks her thumb age 9. We're facing extensive orthodontic input fr her.

Ds, though he's pat the dummy out at about 7 mo, still is going to need a brace because of his crowded mouth/small jaw.

*surely as long as the child stops sucking the thumb by the time the adult teeth come through there will be no problems?
so whats the big deal?*

It is the PALATE that changes shape too - not just the teeth. Like I said before, my own palate is perfectly formed to the shape of my thumb, it's pushed very high in the middle.

10storeylovesong Tue 14-May-13 14:18:47

I know a lot of people don't like dummies for various reasons, but my ds was encouraged to take one in SCBU as there is new evidence that having a dummy prevents SIDS. Since then I have no issues with him having one.

abigboydidit Tue 14-May-13 21:55:18

Thanks again. I've always been a bit sniffy about dummies but soupdragon the link you gave at the start and everyone's stories have made me realise how serious the issue is. Bought a dummy today so any time DD has sucked her thumb I've tried just distracting her first but if she's kept trying I've popped the dummy in smile

MiaowTheCat Wed 15-May-13 08:33:39

I'm a compulsive nail biter - my mother has tried EVERY trick in the book to get me to stop it - a deeply ingrained habit, plus a very determined child can often overcome bribery/being firm or whatever else.

I've gone the dummy route with our kids - I'd rather have the sucking habit controlled and removable at an appropriate point in time - you can bung a dummy in the steriliser, you can restrict when they have a dummy, you can take one away - short of amputation - you can't do that with a thumb. DD1's dummy is attached to a sleepytot toy and gradually the actual toy is taking over the comfort role from the dummy - when we finally remove the dummy (no point doing it at the moment since she'd just mug her little sister for hers!) she'll still have the bunny toy as a comforter anyway (and yes, we have about three of them, all nicely pre-snuggled by her while she was a bit too young to notice the difference - ready as understudy bunnies). She only has it for sleeps now anyway.

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