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How To Stop Thumb Sucking In Babies?

Infants have a natural instinct to suck their thumbs and they’ve been doing it even before they were born, Literally. You might’ve even seen your child suck their thumb in the ultrasounds. But will your child ever grow out of this habit? What if he doesn’t? Read on to know more on this.

Why do babies do it?

Your child sucks thumb because it produces a calming and soothing effect. It brings comfort to your baby when they’re feeling hungry, afraid, restless, tired or trying to cope up with new challenges they’re facing. It tends to become a habit in many cases and this is totally normal.

As they grow out of infancy towards toddlerhood they will eventually stop sucking their thumb but in some cases, this might not happen. If your toddler is sucking his thumb after the age of 3 to 4 years then it might be time for you to take some measures to get rid of this habit.

What are the effects of thumb sucking?

When your baby sucks his/her thumb, it puts pressure on the tissue that exists on the roof of the mouth and also the sides of the upper jaw. This might misalign the teeth and cause dental problems when the permanent teeth are coming in. Some children also develop speech problems such as pronouncing words that have S in them.

It can also cause problems for the thumb or any other finger that your child is sucking. The finger can become dry and chapped or develop calluses or minor skin infections.

Apart from this, there are social problems your child might face if s/he’s sucking his thumb in a school environment or when s/he’s around kids of their own age.

Remedies to prevent Thumbsucking

1. Talk to your child about why it is essential that he gets rid of this habit. Tell him that he’s a ‘grown up’ now. You can even try giving references to his favorite superheroes or cartoon characters and telling him that he should follow their rule of ‘no thumb-sucking’.

2. You can wrap her thumb in tape, band aid or a tight cloth which will certainly not taste as good as her thumb does to her. There are also thumb guards available which are plastic moulds that fit over your child’s thumb and will stop her from sucking her thumb.

3. Apply lime juice or neem paste all over the thumb. The sourness or the bitterness will immediately make him take out his thumb every time he puts it in his mouth.

4. You can try giving her a lollipop, chocolate or something that can act as a substitute for your child.

5. Don’t forcefully make your child quit the habit of thumb sucking, it might affect him/her on an emotional level. You can ignore it for the most part. Sometimes the more attention you give, the more stubborn your child will become against quitting the habit. 

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