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thumb sucking v dummies

22 replies

kazzalou · 09/12/2002 18:08

my 10 week old daughter has begun to suck her thumb, it used to be only at bedtime but she has now started at other times. We sometimes take her thumb out of her mouth and she did not get upset but she is starting to. Should we make her stop and if so how?

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kazzalou · 09/12/2002 18:09

my 10 week old daughter has begun to suck her thumb, it used to be only at bedtime but she has now started at other times. We sometimes take her thumb out of her mouth and she did not get upset but she is starting to. Should we make her stop and if so how?

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chiarasmom · 09/12/2002 18:30

Great question! My 8 month old is still sucking her thumb - she started at 12 weeks. She now sucks her thumb raw - it is now very chapped and red. I have NEVER pulled her thumb out because I was told that I should be grateful that she is self-calming and doesn't need a dummy. But now, I am regretting that we didn't stop her. Kassalou, I think that you should let her suck her thumb now - at 10 weeks, but that there will come a point in time (when??) when you will want to try to get her to stop.

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SoupDragon · 09/12/2002 18:42

DS1 still sucks his thumb at 3y 10m. He too has made it sore on one occasion and when I said he'd have to stop sucking it or it wouldn't heal, he simply switched to the other thumb for the required length of time.

I used to suck my thumb too and stopped by myself so I'm not overly worried about DS1. We're encouraging him to only suck it at night but it's such a big comfort thing for him, it's difficult to stop him and I don't really want to. I'm just going to continue to ask him if he wants to go to bed every time I see him sucking, that generally makes him take it out. No use whatsoever for a 10 week old or a 8 month old though!! I'd say leave them for now. You can gently encourage them to stop later.

He does, however, seem to have slightly goofy front teeth. My thumbsucking didn't affect me this way though.

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chiarasmom · 09/12/2002 19:05

Thanks, Soupdragon. I do hope it stops eventually. Your DS2 sounds very clever.

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chiarasmom · 09/12/2002 19:05

sorry I meant DS1.

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jasper · 09/12/2002 23:53

wish my 9mo would suck his thumb and not my nipple in the night

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forest · 10/12/2002 16:13

Jasper, I too have thought that on a night!!

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Tillysmummy · 10/12/2002 16:15

DD has a dummy but literally only for sleep times. My dentist said dummies are better for the teeth but I've heard the same about thumbs elsewhere so who knows.

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aloha · 10/12/2002 18:46

Oh, don't make her stop! She probably sucked her thumb in the womb. It's fantastic that she has this wonderful self-calming mechanism to hand to help her deal with all the challenges of her little life. There is scientific evidence that children who learn to calm themselves with thumb-sucking, dummies, blankies etc are actually happier and calmer children than those who never learn those strategies. IMO it's perfectly natural and normal and there's no reason to interfere.

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elliott · 10/12/2002 21:38

but is there any way to actually encourage self calming, aloha?? ds has never sucked his thumb and never been keen on a dummy either. he has a blanket and teddy at sleep times but doesn't seem to use either to soothe himself to sleep (though teddy is rather revoltingly crusty so I know he is clutched tightly and dribbled on throughout the night!!) It would be nice if he could find a peaceful way to go to sleep....he is a bit better now though, usually stops crying by the time I reach the bottom of the stairs!

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aloha · 10/12/2002 22:13

Does he do any little rituals or twiddling or anything - they all count as self-soothing (though obviously not if they are excessive or obsessive). And anyway, that teddy sounds like a well used comfort object! I suspect the problems really arise when much needed and used comfort objects are taken away, rather than if they've never been used. I found the research really comforting as you never usually hear a good word for dummies or blankies at all!

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chiarasmom · 10/12/2002 22:50

Aloha - thanks for encouragement on the thumb-sucking. Don't you think though that there will come a time when dd should stop? At what age should I discourage it?

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megg · 11/12/2002 09:37

IME they usually stop by themselves because the other children at school laugh at them. Some carry on when they are tired. After saying that my Great Aunt was 92 when she died and she still sucked her thumb and no there wasn't anything wrong with her teeth (yes she did still have all her own teeth).

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mears · 11/12/2002 09:44

My dd age nine still sucksher thumb when she is tired. She does not do it in public but just in the comfort of her own home. I tried discouraging her when she was about5 and it upset her. Then I though, what does it matter? She is happy and her teeth are perfectly fine according to our dentist. Leave her alone

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aloha · 11/12/2002 10:58

I do know adults who sometimes suck their thumbs - it's up to them and doesn't harm anyone. Wouldn't recommend it in public though! I agree, peer pressure will eventually stop them doing in it in public. I think the danger to teeth is overstated.

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Enid · 11/12/2002 12:46

Dd1 is nearly 3 and still sucks her thumb, I couldn't care less and have no intention of making her give it up. I don't see how as a parent you could make them stop anyway, other than by giving your child a complex about it.

Not worried about the teeth issue, there's always orthodontics!

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kazzalou · 11/12/2002 13:58

Thanks for all the advice, I also sucked my thumb so I don't feel I should deprive her,. I'll let her carry on and see what happens

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honeybunny · 11/12/2002 14:36

I sucked my thumb until 10yrs (started boarding school, and worried about being teased). Didn't need orthodentistry either!! And no... don't think I look like a rabbit!

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bundle · 11/12/2002 14:53

an ex of mine sucked his thumb till he was 15, when he broke his wrist & his mum persuaded the A&E doc to plaster over his thumb too

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clucks · 11/12/2002 22:18

An old boyfriend of mine used to find goofey women very attractive. He said they looked like they were just coming up for air.

Now, I have a perfectly straight set of gnashers, so I really had to go..

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Bugsy · 12/12/2002 10:46

Kazzalou, leave her to it. I sucked my thumb until I was in my early 20s (not in public, I should add) and I have perfectly straight pearly whites. My brother & sister also sucked their thumbs although not for so long and they also have perfectly straight teeth.
If she persists as she gets older, just keep checking with her dentist that everything is OK.
A thumb is such a convenient source of comfort for a child - I wish my dd used her thumb rather than her horrible rubber dummy.

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sister · 12/12/2002 14:24

I think it is rather sad when parents force their children to stop sucking their thumbs. It is obviously a comfort for them and does not harm. If you try to stop someone doing something they will only want to do it more. I was a thumb sucker and I'm alright!!!

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