Thumb Sucking – a Debatable Dilemma!

Being the mother of a 10-month-old, I can only talk from my experience. I’m no doctor to judge or offer solutions but I can surely share my observations. They say babies learn to suck their thumb from the mother’s womb itself. I never saw mine in any sonography. Neither did my child do it after birth in the first three months. It all started in the fourth month and went on for three long months. My child is 10 months old now and does not have the thumb sucking habit anymore.

It is indeed a matter of great concern for parents when their child falls into the habit of sucking their thumb or any other finger. It may lead to various issues in the future, physical and mental.

So what’s the solution?

Have you heard of the phrase ‘patience is a virtue’?

I guess this goes for all new parents. We have shown the utmost patience to get rid of this habit in our child. Giving an alternative whenever our child sucked his thumb was our method. Distraction techniques worked the best. We kept talking to the baby about the different thing our fingers are used for and our mouth is used for.

We observed that when anyone asked our child to remove his thumb forcefully, the more adamant and afraid the child was and continued to suck on his thumb. We also observed that whenever our baby wanted to sleep, he used to suck on the thumb. Very calmly and tactfully, we always tried and arranged for different things that would distract our child. Eg: a book with colourful pictures, toys that the baby could hold using, things that would make sounds, shadow puppet show using our fingers, etc.

The best part of this game was that we heard no voice when it came to thumb sucking by our child. It was a pacifier for the baby and we allowed it, as trust me, children go through various phases. And thumb sucking was just a phase.

The following were techniques that I didn’t agree with:

  • A big NO to neem juice on the thumb
  • A big NO to repetitively removing the thumb
  • A big NO to shaming the baby by giving other babies’ examples
  • A big NO to letting negative examples shake your patience

Be your own teacher! Learn to observe your child. He/she will help you to be a better parent always  ?

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