Parenting Advice » Thumb Sucking Problems
While thumb sucking provides comfort to the baby, it can cause orthodontia problems, when not treated at the right time. Glance through this write-up to find solutions for thumb sucking problems.

Thumb Sucking Problems

It is highly memorable for any mother to hold her little baby in her hands, once it is out of the womb. Give the baby a few moments to analyze its surroundings and you’ll be surprised to see it completely flattered by the same. A few days and weeks later on, the baby begins observing itself, its hands, its feet, and its body. It is through this observation that the baby gives a try at its thumb by digging it right into its mouth. This is a general sight when the baby breaks off its first teeth, around the sixth month, and feels uneasy due to its swollen gums. Thumb sucking not just lets the baby find comfort in easing its irritation, but also assists in differentiating between what’s pleasant and what’s unpleasant. Say, for instance, when a baby gets its gums on an ice cube or cool teething ring, it finds it comfortable and good as its teeth are about to break, but when the same gums get hold on a hard plastic toy, it causes discomfort. As such, sucking becomes a feeling of comfort and reassurance with time, which helps the babies to relax and induce sleep. It is due to this reason why most of you notice your babies sucking their thumb while falling asleep. Besides, babies, who suck their thumb, fall asleep easily, and are able to put themselves back to sleep quicker. Also, such babies sleep earlier through the night, compared to their non-thumb sucking peers. Nevertheless, as long as that nasty and good-to-look thumb sucking habit subsides after your child’s permanent teeth come in, you can ensure that your baby will grow up fine. However, if your child does not stop his thumb sucking even after that, it can be a serious problem, interfering with proper mouth growth and teeth alignment, and causing changes in the roof of the mouth. With some encouragement from your side at the early age, you can get your child on track. Find ways to stop thumb sucking in your child, in the lines below.
Thumb Sucking Problems
Start Off Easy
Initially, start off with suggesting your child to stop his thumb sucking habit in public, or any other time when he is most likely to comply with this practice. Let him know how atrocious it looks while practicing such a habit amongst strangers, friends and relatives. After you have achieved success with this idea, you can move on with targeting the times when the habit is most ingrained, say during a nap or at bedtime. Offer to double the reward if he agrees to and stops his habit during the most challenging times.
Tell Him It’s a Problem
You know that it's a problem and want to stop your child from getting hooked to it but then attacking on the habit or forcing the child to stop the same will only irritate him and turn him fidgety. Instead, address the problem to the child when he is in the perfect mood to listen and understand your talk. Wait and look out for a strategy that will automatically induce the child to quit such a behavior. Bank on the time when your child himself comes up to say you that he was teased in school because of the habit. Since he is emotionally weak at this point, it would be best to make him understand that the teasing is likely to continue if he does not give up on his habit.
Never Pull
While dealing with thumb sucking problem of your child, avoid pulling your child’s thumb or finger from the mouth. Doing so can cause damage to the teeth or finger of your child, particularly if he has a strong suction or has teeth. As an alternative, it is better to ask and request your kid to stop this habit. Also, remember, by forcing the finger out, your child may get aggravated and may never give up on the habit.
Weaken the Habit
If you are unable to reduce his habit of sucking the thumb, try distracting him whenever you notice him in such a situation. Get him busy in an activity that requires the use of both his hands, particularly before his nap and bedtime. You can ask him to read a book or hug a stuffed animal with each arm.
Baby is Hungry
It is very much possible that your kid places his thumb in the mouth to display feelings of hunger. If you are able to notice this signal of your little one, you can feed him whenever he feels hungry. This will help your child to stop thumb sucking and increase his appetite as well.
Reward Your Child
Kids, who persist on their habit of sucking the thumb, can be encouraged to do so through a reward-based system. Game-playing has often been successful with eliminating bad habits within kids. Buy a calendar and paste it on the refrigerator. For every day that you do not spot your child sucking his thumb, put a smiley-face on that date on the calendar. After the end of a particular period, say one month, you can reward him modestly with a toy or dinner at his favorite restaurant.
Thumb sucking is not a serious issue, only if you learn how to help your child get over this distressing problem. With the above tips, you can easily handle this dilemma in the right manner. Good luck!

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