Thumb Sucking : What you should Know - MumsVillage

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Thumb Sucking : What you should Know

Is Thumb sucking Bad For Baby’s Sleep?

It is common for many babies to begin sucking their thumb as a way of self soothing and many parents are unsure as to whether they should encourage their child to continue the habit or do all they can to try and discourage it.

Excellent for Self Settling

The truth is, those babies who enjoy thumb sucking actually turn into excellent sleepers and there will be many who disagree with this. This is because they are able to self soothe and also able to use their thumb as they wish as it cannot become lost in the cot like it a dummy. It also means that the child is no longer relying on the mother to breastfeed him or her. Essentially their thumb is theirs and they are fully aware of this which is why they use it so well.

Essentially, those babies who do suck their thumbs do not use it for very long. It is a form of self soothing a strategy that many use but it only takes a few minutes of use before the baby goes from being awake to being asleep at which point the thumb will come out of their mouth. It is not possible for a baby to keep their thumb in their mouth throughout all of their sleep cycles and they may only opt to use it again if they wake during the night where again, they will use it for a couple of minutes to help them get back to sleep then that is it.

baby-sleeping on baby towels

Dealing with the Long Term

In some instances it can become a long-term problem but there are ways to deal with those children who still suck their thumb through the use of behaviour management. There is the method of using distraction where you can replace the thumb with something else that they can put in their mouth like a snack or a cup that they can drink from but still there is no need to fret over it too much.

Many parents believe that they can replace the thumb with a dummy and then take it away but in truth, many parents do not do this. As a result many parents still allow their children, even at the age of five, to sleep with their dummy because it is part of the child’ sleep strategy and is all part of teaching them to sleep.

Dummy or Thumb Sucking?

However, it can be an emotional time for both the child and the parent and therefore the parent avoids the situation of removing it. They begin to believe that it is fine for their child to continue using a dummy and this in itself is a problem. The child can lose it during the night which means they have to find it or in some cases the parents put a number of dummies in the bed or cot for them. This is not a good way of teaching the skill of sleep


sleeping baby


So if your baby likes thumb sucking don’t get in a sweat over it. Don’t let people tell you that you should do all you can to discourage it. In reality your baby is more than likely only sucking it for several minutes at a time and not all day. Let this sleeping and soothing strategy run its course because they will grow out of it .

I can create a customised sleep plan to help you and little one, our initial consultation we would discuss strategies, troubleshoot possible problems, and learn how to address bedtime, naptime, night-wakings, or any other specific issues you might be encountering. Our aim together is to teach your little one the skills necessary to enable them to happily sleep through the night (and take long, restful naps during the day).


Until next time, Sleep well

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