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Should I stop my 5mo DS sucking his thumb?

(14 Posts)
yumcha888 Mon 08-Aug-11 09:48:46

hi everyone,

My DS is 5mo and since he discovered his thumbs he has no interest in his dummy. He uses his thumbs to put himself to sleep but they have recently become red, dry and scaley. Should I try to stop him from sucking his thumbs? It would be such a shame as he likes it so much! Is there anything I can put on them while he is asleep that would be fairly safe if he started to suck them again?


kittensliveupstairs Mon 08-Aug-11 09:51:19

My DD loved her dummy and loathed her thumb. I am glad now, the dentist told me you can removed a dummy you can't chop a thumb off.

PrettyCandles Mon 08-Aug-11 09:58:23

Self-soothing behaviour is so important - don't break it. Yes, you can take away a dummy but not a thumb, but any habit can be changed eventually.

Both my elder dc sucked fingers or thumb to get to sleep. One gave up of his own accord age 6, the other needed help but also gave up eventually. Dc3, OTOH, sucked nothing except me. I was desperate for him to suck his thumb!

You could try Lansinoh on his thumbs. It's safe for breastfeeding nipples, so I should think would be fine for this purpose.

boognish Mon 08-Aug-11 12:06:23

My cranial osteopath told me that at around 6 months babies should be helped to drop dummies. She said it's much better if babies suck their thumbs. There's a recent thread round here from a mum who had to wake hourly through the night because whenever her baby dropped her dummy in her sleep she cried and cried until her mum gave it back to her. Thumbs are readily available!

cantmakecarrotcake Mon 08-Aug-11 12:28:40

Prettycandles is right, don't stop him. My DD started sucking her thumb at about 3 months and it was what meant she could self soothe and fall asleep by herself. It was an absolute godsend! I'll cross the bridge of stopping her at a later date (not at 5yr like her Dad though!)

Can you put something (Oilatum?) on his thumbs when he wakes up so it has time to work before he starts to suck it again.

Lanisoh is a great suggestion for nighttime. I might use that when DD has sore thumbs.

yumcha888 Mon 08-Aug-11 15:17:55

I totally agree about both sides of having a dummy - they are great because you can take them away but a real pain until DCs can put them in themselves. Either way, DS has no interest at all in his dummy any more, actually knocking it out to replace it with his thumb.

Is sucking the only way of self soothing?

PrettyCandles Mon 08-Aug-11 15:21:39

No, it's not, but once he's found it then it's very difficult to change without tears until they are old enough to cooperate willingly.

MumToTheBoy Mon 08-Aug-11 15:22:59

I'm going to disagree and say don't let him suck his thumb! My sister did and she pushed her teeth out of alignment and needed braces for most of her teens. She always says now that she wished she'd never sucked her thumb.

naturalbaby Mon 08-Aug-11 15:44:46

i sucked my thumb for years and my teeth are fine, but i did have braces at one point! i'm sure my dentist said it wasn't thumb sucking that caused a problem for my teeth though. i remember having a funny bit of skin from my teeth digging into my thumb overnight. lansinoh sounds like a good idea. i don't see how you can stop it to be honest.

my 3 all have/had dummies and a comforter. a friend who never used a dummy used a comforter as well. my 6.5month old cuddles up to it as well as having the dummy so you could try something like that. i put it against his cheek when he's falling asleep.

tostaky Mon 08-Aug-11 15:47:34

oh no, dont! he is such a small baby...
what harm is there with a little bit of self comfort?

PrettyCandles Mon 08-Aug-11 15:49:48

A perfectly valid point, but one which assumes that, once started, he will always suck his thumb. Most thumb suckers stop by about school age, and if they don't then there are easy and gentle ways of helping them to stop.

How should yumchaa stop it now? Stay up with him 24/7 and constantly remove it? Put his arms into loo-roll inners so that he can't bend his elbows? Why cause the LO unnecessary distress?

Until she was 3, our dentists were never concerned about dd's intense thumb-sucking habit, even though it was distorting her jaw. But from about 4, when he saw that she hd not cut down on her thumb-sucking, our dentist advised us to stop it. If it had been just her teeth distorting, he would have been less concerned because braces can sort it out, and in any case we would have had a few more years in which to deal with it. But because it was dd's jawbone which was distorting, he felt that it was much more urgent to stop it sooner rather than later.

It took us one month to stop the habit, with dd's full cooperation, plenty of bribery and rewards, and no tears whatsoever. Within a year her jaw had straightened out almost completely.

yumcha888 Mon 08-Aug-11 18:58:58

I'm not really so concerned about the habit, I agree with Pretty that the behaviour can be changed when my DS is a bit more with it. However I'm looking at his poor hands and wondering if it's possible to dissolve hands via sucking! I just popped out to buy some Lanisoh so will give it a go.... But I'm thinking I might try and introduce a comforter as I'm not sure how I feel about my DS basically eating lanolin....

Any other ideas gratefully welcomed!

naturalbaby Mon 08-Aug-11 20:59:54

if you really want to stop him then you could put mitts or socks on? i keep wondering about getting rid of my 6month olds' dummies but he does a lot of sucking at every sleep time so i know it'll be very upsetting and hard work (having just gone through it with my toddler!), and at the moment i can put him down to sleep and leave him to fall asleep with his dummy and comforter.

PrettyCandles Mon 08-Aug-11 21:14:57

Lansinoh is fine - often mothers of newborns put it on their nipples after every feed.

Vaseline is supposed to be fine on the nipples, too.

If you're breastfeeding you could rub some breastmilk on his thumbs. It's a bit of a cure-all!

Olive oil is also OK.

If the idea of him 'eating' this stuff bothers you, you could grease him up during the day and then mitten him when it's not sleeptimes.

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