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Oh No, My 5-Month-Old Started Sucking Her Thumb!

thumb sucking

Thumb sucking is bad, right? I had no idea until yesterday, when I was forced to acknowledge that Clementine is sucking her thumb on the regular. Ugh. I had just assumed that if she wasn’t born sucking her thumb it wasn’t going to happen. I was wrong. Off to research I went.

My first google pass resulted in all kinds of jolting photos of restrictive equipment designed to get older kids to stop sucking their thumb or fingers. There were also photos of children’s jacked-up teeth as a result of thumb sucking. So yeah, more research was required. Next stop was the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP). There, thumb sucking is interestingly categorized under “Crying and Colic” and not “Teething and Tooth Care”. I took that as a good sign. Sure thing, the AAP suggests that thumb sucking is not a big deal. Most kids will out-grow it.

The AAP recommends:

  • Praise and reward your child when she does not suck her thumb or use the pacifier. Star charts, daily rewards, and gentle reminders, especially during the day, are also very helpful.
  • If your child uses sucking to relieve boredom, keep her hands busy or distract her with things she finds fun.
  • If you see changes in the roof of your child’s mouth (palate) or in the way the teeth are lining up, talk with your pediatrician or or pediatric dentist. There are devices that can be put in the mouth that make it uncomfortable to suck on a finger or thumb.
  • No matter what method you try, be sure to explain it to your child. If it makes your child afraid or tense, stop it at once.

So, baby Clementine, suck on for now!

 

Also from Rebecca this month on Babble:

Will It Always Be Cheaper to Adopt Black Babies?

10 Tips for Photo Sharing With Your Foster Child’s Family

10 of My Foster Kids Favorite UNICEF Toys

11 More Reasons I Might Have to Sue My Kids a la China’s New ‘Visit Your Parents’ Law

The U.S. Bonding Epidemic That Wasn’t

And, you can follow her Fosterhood blog here.

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