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Six Methods To Cope With Baby Sucking Fingers

When she feels tired, sleepy, nervous, lonely and before go to sleep, she puts her thumb into mouth naturally and sucks the thumb vigorously. She looks really intoxicated when sucking her fingers. Gradually, sucking fingers before sleep becomes her habit. If you don’t allow her to suck thumb, she cannot fall asleep and even burst into tears. She always sucks thumb, the thumb shed and the nail also deforms. Parents take her thumb out each time when see her sucking thumb, but soon she puts her thumb into mouth again and sucks sweetly.

Communicating with other mammies, mother found that a lot of babies loving to suck their fingers like Lanlan. Mother summarized while exchanging idea and summed up the rules of baby sucking fingers.

Rules for baby sucking fingers

When baby was born, it makes sucking action spontaneously when its lips touch mother's nipple, which is a physiological sucking reflex. When they are hungry, no matter what their lips met, the suckling reflex arose and even sucking action appears spontaneously when they sleep on both ears.

When baby becomes a little bigger, most of them (accounting for 90 percent of babies) put their fingers into mouths and sucking when they are hungry. This is a normal phenomenon and parents don’t need to be too concerned about.

After 2-3 years old, baby will ask for food when he feels hungry and this phenomenon of sucking thumb will disappear gradually.

If baby still eats his finger and even bites his nails, bed sheet and cuff when he is already 4 years old, this phenomenon may be the behavior problem and needs to be corrected.

Reasons for baby sucking fingers

Baby needs to suck. Newborn baby has an inborn demand of sucking. If this demand cannot be satisfied, he would find a way to satisfy himself—sucking fingers, which is a substitute and comfort.

Sucking fingers is a phenomenon that baby calls for love. Parents are not often dauting baby’s skin, or spend little time on talking and playing with baby. When baby is hungry or ill, he cannot receive any timely conciliation from his parents. Sucking fingers becomes a reluctant method for baby for pacify himself.

Sucking fingers is a method to eliminate pressure. If baby’s living environment and baby keeper are often changed, or parents request baby too strictly and often drop on and beat baby, or family tension etc. Under big psychological pressure, baby will eliminate the inner pressure by sucking fingers.

Sucking fingers is a method against loneliness. Nowadays, most family only has one child, and child cannot help feeling alone. If child often stays at home to play toys or watch TV alone, he cannot touch with other children of the same age and fresh things, he will feel lonely and stuffy. Thus child will dispel loneliness by sucking fingers.

The parents’ attitude will strengthen the behavior of baby sucking fingers. When baby feels anxiety, hungry, bored, or imitates other children to suck fingers occasionally. When parents saw it, they reprimanded baby for sucking fingers severely, which may make baby more nervous. On the contrary, it will strengthen baby sucking fingers. There are also some parents who allow their children to suck fingers and never stop it. Those parents don’t find out the reason and correct the behavior in time, which makes sucking fingers become an obstinate habit of baby.

Bad effects on baby sucking fingers

For Hands: Baby often sucking fingers makes fingers soaked in saliva squeezed by teeth. After a long time, fingers prone to exuviate, tumefy, infect and deform.

For Teeth: If baby puts his fingers into mouth that may affect his teething. After a long time, it may lead to irregular teeth arrangement and teeth malocclusion.

For Health: Baby likes to touch everything around with his hands and there are many dirty things stick to his hands. When he sucks his fingers, bacilli will enter into his mouth and cause diarrhea and parasitic infections easily.

For Psychology: If baby forms the bad habit of sucking fingers, which will not only affect baby’s health, but also cause tension, anxiety, low self-esteem and negative emotion easily. And therefore affect baby’s psychological health.

Methods to cope with baby sucking fingers

  1. Let baby enjoy the happiness of sucking.
  2. Mothers should breastfeed their babies as much as possible and let him enjoy the full happiness of sucking. If you want to ablactate baby, it is necessary to add complementary food and baby formula in time, make the transition gradually to allow baby a period of time to adapt. Avoid a sudden weaning because it will make your baby feel anxious and insecure.

  3. Spend more time to accompany baby.
  4. Parents should spend more time to hold baby in the arm and accompany baby, distinguish various kinds of baby requirements carefully and meet all his needs. Mothers can do touch massage to the baby if conditions allow, and tell happy and relax stories before babies go to bed, also, mothers can read rhythmic children’s song to babies before they fall asleep, so as to make babies always feel safe, happy and satisfied.

  5. Find something for baby little mouth to rely on.
  6. When baby is eating fingers, mother can give him a molar biscuit to gnaw. Or you can also give him a baby pacifier or teether to replace his fingers. (Tips: Baby pacifier and baby teether should be cleaned and disinfected)

  7. Create a relaxed and warm atmosphere for baby.
  8. Parents had better create a warm, comfortable, stable and relaxed atmosphere for baby to grow up happily.

  9. More friends, more activities.
  10. Parents can let baby to play with his friends more, encourage him to make more friends and contact with the fresh world outside; arrange rich and colorful activities for baby and try best to not let him stay alone, then he would not remember to eat hand.

  11. See a doctor for help.
  12. If baby still eat his fingers when he is already 4 years old, parents should bring him to consult the psychologists and analyze the reasons for baby sucking fingers together. And then rectify the behavior accordingly. For slight cause, parents may follow doctor’s instruction to satisfy baby’s emotional demand. For heavy cause, parents may adopt behavior correction methods:

  • Aversion therapy: Parents may daub some berberine or other nontoxic dose of bitterness on the fingers they often suck, or wrap the fingers with gauze, so that baby will have a sense of disgust when he sucks the fingers and will reduce or eliminate such misconduct.
  • Negative therapy: Let baby repeatedly sucking his fingers over a period of time until he feels uncomfortable and unpleasant, and urge him to give up this habit gradually.
  • Special Tip: In the process of treatment, parents’ attitude should be kind and their words and comportments should be gentle. Parents should encourage their baby, don’t berate baby or even beat baby. Give baby praise in time when he makes progress.
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