Thumb Sucking: What it is and How to Stop it

Is Thumb Sucking Normal?

First, thumb sucking is totally normal for babies and toddlers. Babies can even be seen on ultrasounds sucking their thumbs. These tiny explorers discover their world with the help of their mouths, but that urge should start to subside around six months of age.

Thumb and finger sucking is a way for babies to self-soothe. The suction comforts them in the way that breastfeeding or bottle-feeding would. Once a child has figured out that thumb sucking calms them, they can be found with a finger in their mouth when they feel hungry, frightened, tired or bored.

For some children, sucking on their fingers or a pacifier can help with separation anxiety and helps little ones get to sleep. Plenty of parents use pacifiers and teething toys to help regulate the emotions of their children. Typically, though, children lose interest in this behavior in favor of more constructive ways to
handle their emotions, before they start preschool – and before their permanent teeth start to come in – but it’s not true for everyone.