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baby sucking my finger for hours - help to stop

(22 Posts)
beanlet Sun 29-Aug-10 21:47:07

My 8-week-old has taken to crying inconsolably in bursts in the late afternoons/evenings (I understand this is fairly typical), and the only thing that comforts him is me or my DH putting a little finger in his mouth. Actually, he loves it (boy can he suck!), and I'm beginning to wonder whether he is now crying FOR the finger.

He's not hungry -- I'm feeding him on demand an average of every 2.5 hours. He's not a refluxy or particularly windy baby. And he doesn't cry all the time; he feeds, then has a quiet alert period, and then cries and latches onto the finger like a piranha. (And then sometimes goes to sleep.)

Neither of us mind, particularly, but we are beginning to spend hours in the evenings with a baby latched onto us and it's now impinging on necessary housework, etc. We can't keep this up forever, and we're also worried we're encouraging a bad habit that will be hard to break.

Should we give him a dummy (we're reluctant to go down this route)? Or is this just a phase that will end once he's worked out how to suck his own thumb (he tries desperately hard to do this too but hasn't quite worked it out yet)?

Wigeon Sun 29-Aug-10 21:51:41

Have you tried putting him in a sling (inside the house)? Might be that he wants to be held and sucking the finger is a way of achieving that? And a sling lets you get on with your life to some extent. At least lets you have two hands free!

Eg like this.

onepieceoflollipop Sun 29-Aug-10 21:59:03

Both of my dds (now aged 7 and 3) have been quite "sucky"

dd1 found out how to suck her own fingers at a few weeks old and has continued to do so.

dd2 had a dummy (she only has it for settling at night for a few minutes now)

Obviously it's up to you but in your position I would probably just try a dummy. I am sure your hands are clean but if you ever forgot to wash them before he sucks them then there is a slight hygiene risk too imo.

Kingsroadie Sun 29-Aug-10 22:00:27

I suppose giving a dummy or not (although you aren't terribly keen) depends on how much it impinges on your evening/housework and how fed up of it you are grin etc. I gave my daughter a dummy from a young age as she was very "sucky". I think some babies are and some aren't. She used to like to suck fingers so we went down the dummy route and it really helped calm her down (she did also have severe reflux). Can I ask why you are reluctant to try a dummy?

My daughter is now 9 months and barely uses her dummy at all - she has been using it at naptimes and bedtime since she was a few weeks old (very occasionally if tired in the day but wouldn't sleep so it calmed her down) and I never really gave it to her in the day. In the past few weeks she has actually pushed it out of her mouth every time I have given it to her at nap and bedtime, so she seems to have weaned herself off it.

TBH I am a little impatient(selfish?) so I would be inclined to give it a go (it might not work anyway) grin. However, totally up to you! I hope it gets better - my daughter cried non-stop for about 4/5 hours every night for about 2/3 weeks from 4 weeks - it's miserable...

ISNT Sun 29-Aug-10 22:03:20

I'd try a dummy. Sorry.

You're already in a position where he is sucking something all evening, so really what's the difference whether it is a finger or a dummy?

I know how you feel though - I don't like them particularly - but they're not the end of the world. DD1 wouldn't take one when I did crack and try, but ended up spending all her night-times sucking on the ear of her toy rabbit, DD2 has one but only at night, and also sucks on the corner of her book. They all find something sucky/comforty in the end I think.

Kingsroadie Sun 29-Aug-10 22:06:08

Also no quite sure why I put 2 grins in my post - didn't mean to put the second in - looks a bit odd/sickly.

Octaviapink Mon 30-Aug-10 15:08:50

My dd used to suck my little finger as well - she stopped wanting it at about 12 weeks. She wouldn't have any truck with a dummy, either. She was bfed and worn in a sling, too - she just liked sucking! Your DS will grow out of it - bear in mind that anything you give as a replacement will need to be taken away at some point anyway!

FRoyal Tue 23-Feb-16 13:16:45

I'm having the same issue with our LO. He is now 5 weeks and we have learned that the best night time method to sooth him to sleep is my or my husbands little finger in his mouth. It can feel like he's about to suck it off.
I'm now concerned however as he seems to be sucking my finger harder than when he feeds (exclusive bf) and I'm worried that 1. He won't ever settle without the finger 2. It will impinge on my milk supply. This is our second baby and the first would self sooth from birth. Any suggestions?

Jw35 Fri 26-Feb-16 16:38:40

Basically your finger is a dummy to the baby so either stop doing it or just buy one!

VagueIdeas Fri 26-Feb-16 16:42:14

Oh good lord just get a dummy.

I don't understand the snobbery at all. They're a lifesaver.

sandylion Fri 26-Feb-16 17:00:10

My god get a dummy! Some babies need to suck. You don't want LO finding their thumb and having to break that habit.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 26-Feb-16 17:05:27

I swore I'd never use a dummy until I had ds1.

They settle babies, what's not to like, really. Your baby has proved he is comforted by sucking. He will find his own fingers eventually but until that time you are stuck with being a human dummy or you buy one.

My mum wouldn't use a dummy, I'm still a thumb sucker the wrong side of 40blush

picklesauage Fri 26-Feb-16 17:06:40


I was a bit reluctant, but it was our saviour! My DD only ever had it for naps or when inconsolable (early teething). She dropped it for naps at 2 and altogether at 2 1/2.

Dentist said she was fine and had her bite checked at each appointment, she never tried to speak with it in, so no speech impediment.

Remember this NICU give dummies, that's where our DD started hers. They have 2 methods of soothing at this point, crying or sucking. So they give dummies to soothe.

My second DD won't take a dummy and so cries to soothe herself (monotone whinge type noise not proper crying) I know which i prefer!

ThereIsIron Fri 26-Feb-16 17:09:03

Dummy. DS sucked his thumb until it was raw and got infected - we gave him a dummy after that. He's 6 now, no dental or speech issues.

trixymalixy Fri 26-Feb-16 17:09:24

I was very anti dummies before having kids, but my god were they a lifesaver. Just get one.

ZiggyFartdust Fri 26-Feb-16 17:09:33

You have a baby that wants to suck the whole time (normal) but are unwilling to give him the thing specifically designed for babies to suck on?
Why? What possible reason could there be to deny a tiny baby the one thing that comforts them so, and make your life much easier at the same time?
It's bizarre.

ABetaDad1 Fri 26-Feb-16 17:21:55

Wigeon - I definitely second the idea of a sling or some sort of baby carrier you can strap on and get something else done.

DS1 used to insist on playing with DW's fingers and picking the cuticle on her thumb while he was half asleep. He would cry the instant she moved and actually it was just contact he wanted. so we shared carrying him around in a Baby Bjorn and he was very happy.

DS2 learned to suck his own thumb and was much more settled.

f1fan2015 Fri 26-Feb-16 18:27:26

Dummy - I was against them until I took my daughter for her first injections and the paediatrician asked me if I was going to spend all my time soothing my daughter with my finger in her mouth grin

ThePowerOfCake Sat 27-Feb-16 21:27:46

DD was a finger sucker. My whole extended family are vocal dummy haters so I avoided at first, then got fed up of being permanently sucked on at either hand or boob. We then tried giving her a dummy, which failed initially because apparently it wasn't as good as a knuckle. We eventually got her to accept a particular one and it was fabulous. It didn't affect breastfeeding and really helped soothe her. She decided she didn't like it anymore at 4 months when she started teething, which was frustrating at the time but at least meant we never had to take it off her!

helensburgh Sat 27-Feb-16 21:30:13

Don't worry about a dummy.
It will save your sanity.

byhec Sat 27-Feb-16 21:38:31

That could be classic cluster feeding behaviour, maybe needs to feed more in the evenings?

WanderingTrolley1 Sat 27-Feb-16 21:39:19

Try a dummy!

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