How to quickly wean a baby from sucking a finger

After the birth of the long-awaited first-born, all parents immediately find themselves under close supervision by grandmothers, aunts, and other relatives. And the generation that has already raised its children has its own personal opinion, and they constantly strive to give advice to young mothers and fathers. The tips are quite varied, but most often completely useless. And as soon as the all-knowing relatives notice that the baby sucks its finger, they immediately begin to give recommendations on how to rid the baby of this bad habit. But is there a need for this? What to do if the baby constantly pulls the handles in his mouth? And why is the baby sucking a finger?


Often a child begins to suck a finger when he wants to eat, especially if there is very little time left before feeding, and the baby is already hungry. In this case, you do not need to wait for the set time. Breastfeeding is best to feed the baby on demand. It happens that the infant, having already eaten, again stretches the arms of the chest. It means that he did not have enough, and there is no need to refuse him. It is recommended not to give both breasts to the baby in one feeding, the baby should drink from one breast both the front milk and the back. So he will be satisfied for a longer period.

Sucking reflex

The newborn initially has a sucking reflex, which is constantly required to be satisfied. By the way, babies begin to take fingers and fists into their mouths even in the womb. Most often, children who are breast-fed begin to suck their fingers. This is explained quite simply. With breastfeeding, the baby eats longer than from a bottle and fully satisfies the innate sucking reflex. But when eating a mixture of congenital reflex remains unsatisfied. Thus, if a newborn baby does not receive breasts, then he pulls the handles in his mouth, smacking it at the same time.


A newborn baby must constantly feel the presence of her mother nearby. It is pressed against the mother’s chest that he feels safe. That is, breast sucking calms the baby, relieves the feeling of anxiety. Therefore, if the child is nervous for some reason, he pulls the handles in his mouth. In such a situation, to get rid of a bad habit, it is enough just to pay more attention to the baby, play with him, talk.

First teeth

If, in addition to fingers or a fist, a child begins to take toys and objects falling into his hands, then the appearance of the first teeth is expected soon. Usually a similar process of sucking is accompanied by increased salivation. Moreover, this may be not just sucking, but biting objects. The child may get angry, show a feeling of irritation, get nervous.

Why is the baby sucking fingers

  • Satisfying the sucking reflex. From the moment of birth, the baby has a very strongly developed sucking reflex. This is a necessary instinct for the survival of the baby in the first months of life. A newborn unconsciously sucks everything that comes across: whether it is the mother’s breast, or his own finger. This is normal behavior. The child meets his basic needs. In addition, from the point of view of orthodontics, the sucking reflex contributes to the correct and harmonious development of the lower jaw. Therefore, answering the questions of young mothers how to wean a baby from sucking a finger, many pediatricians recommend not to focus on this at such an early age.
  • The manifestation of hunger. If a child sucks a finger at 2-3 months, he is hungry. In this case, the method of feeding the child does not matter.
  • Teething. This is not the most pleasant process in which the child feels soreness and itching in the gums. To distract from unpleasant sensations, the child pulls everything in his mouth that will be nearby. This also applies to fingers and rattles.
  • Psychological defense. Mother's breasts, warmth and care are associated with the baby's security and tranquility. Children unknowingly exhibit a lack of maternal attention. In addition, this is a way to calm down in a stressful situation and feel completely safe.


According to pediatricians, sucking a child’s fingers or cam has a number of negative consequences. When an infant takes pens in its mouth, it can infect the oral cavity and, accordingly, the stomach. A similar process directly leads to the development of dysbiosis. Signs of such a disease are diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, and colic. That is, treatment with drugs is required.

Often parents ask themselves: where do these dangerous bacteria come from? The fact is that the baby seeks to touch everything that he can reach. For example, furniture, any items, towels, adult clothing, mom's hair, plants.

Why sucking fingers is a bad habit

By the second year of life, the sucking reflex is gradually dying away. It can be concluded that finger sucking in the first years of life is more likely to be the norm than pathology, and does not require correction by parents and specialists. In addition, the child is interested in the world around him, and for this he drags fingers, children's toys and clothes into his mouth.

But the child grows, and the habit does not disappear. If after 4 years the baby is still sucking a finger, you need to think and, possibly, consult a specialist. Let's see why this is still a bad habit:

  • Injury A child can bite a finger, and constant contact with saliva and gums contributes to the deformation of the nail plate, the appearance of wounds and cracks. The skin that performs the barrier function loses its integrity: pathogenic bacteria that provoke inflammation enter the wounds.
  • Not hygienic. A huge number of living organisms, including worm eggs, live on the hands and under the nails. A bad habit promotes helminthic invasion, as well as the ingress of pathogenic microflora into the digestive system.
  • Orthodontists claim that sucking a finger provokes a change in the position of the tongue in the oral cavity, which leads to the formation of a malocclusion. Normally, the back of the tongue should be in contact with the hard palate. If the child sucks a finger, the tongue takes a lower position and does not exert the necessary pressure in certain areas of the jaws.

Improper jaw development

Sucking a finger can lead to its deformation in the future or incorrect tooth growth.

Some orthodontists, by the way, say that sucking fingers during tooth growth does not in any way affect the formation of occlusion. There is also an assumption that due to sucking fingers in infancy, difficulties in the development of speech may arise in the future. But this is only if the habit cannot be eliminated for a very long time.

Children under 2 years old

Prevention of a bad habit is worth doing in the first year of a baby's life. The following tips will be helpful for breast-fed babies:

  • The minimum feeding time is half an hour. By laying the baby on the chest for 30 minutes, you will fully satisfy its basic instincts, including the sucking reflex.
  • Do not be afraid to overfeed the baby. In fact, the child will take no more than the body needs. The feeding process can be divided into two stages. In the first (7-10 minutes) the baby eats “front” milk, and in the remaining time, the “back” milk is sucked out drop by drop.
  • If the baby is distracted, do not excommunicate him from the chest. Wait a bit, if the baby still needs breasts, he will continue to suck.
  • Complete excommunication gradually. Start with day feeds, then move on to night feeds. This will help simplify the task and make the weaning process minimally stressful.

For children on artificial feeding, these tips are suitable:

  • Reduce the intervals between feedings.
  • During sucking, the baby must exert certain efforts. Buy a stiff nipple with a small hole. This will increase the feeding time, which has a beneficial effect on the sucking reflex.
  • Get an orthodontic dummy. Due to the correct structure, it contributes to the normal position of the tongue.

What to do?

If it was noticed that the baby began to suck a finger, then you should not immediately use the numerous tips of relatives who know everything. Most often, they advise to spread children's fingers with bitter aloe juice or mustard. Such methods are effective, but not for long. As soon as the taste of bitterness evaporates, the fingers are again in the mouth. Moreover, such actions can lead to stress in the child.

Some parents begin to limit the actions of the baby, swaddle hands. But in such a situation, a child without problems finds a substitute for his fist - his lip.

Weaning from hand sucking must be approached very responsibly. First, pay attention to what time the baby pulls his fingers in his mouth. Alternatively, it can simply be applied more often to the chest as soon as the baby requires it.

Is it possible to increase the duration of feeding? Of course you can. This will have a positive impact on the current situation. A breastfeeding breast sucking as much as he sees fit, will never start to put fingers in his mouth. But in no case should you change the breast for one feeding, even if there is an assumption that the baby has eaten everything. The fact is that the baby can pump a few more tides of breast milk. Moreover, later milk will be more satisfying and nutritious.

If a child eats mixtures, then you can offer him a dummy. But children who are breast-feeding a pacifier, most likely, will not accept. Although, you can try to fool a baby by dipping a dummy in breast milk. Not for long, but the baby will try the pacifier. In no case should you use honey for such a procedure. This product can cause an allergy in a child.

When feeding mixtures from a bottle, it is recommended to choose a pacifier for an early age. In such nipples, a small pressure and the baby will have to make a lot of effort to get food. The sucking reflex will be completely satisfied.

You can try to distract the baby or simply take his hands. For example, play with a child, give him toys that develop motor skills. Usually, children are happy to play with clay or special bags filled with cereals.

In cases where the child pulls the handles in his mouth to scratch the gums, dental teethers will come to the rescue. In pharmacies and stores for children a wide range of such products is presented. They come in a variety of forms, from a variety of materials. Cool teethers that can relieve gum irritation are very popular.

Most mothers absolutely calmly react to the fact that the baby sucks the thumb, and are not going to prevent it. They quite correctly believe that if a child receives enough attention from parents, they will soon abandon this habit. In infancy, the child must communicate a lot with mom and dad. With him you need to play, talk, pick up. The baby should not lie alone in the crib.

Children from 2 to 4 years old

Stress is the main cause of finger sucking at the age of 2-4 years. To deal with this problem, it is important to understand the reasons behind the habit of sucking a finger. However, in most cases, finger sucking at this age is still considered the norm, although many children already forget this habit.

Among the most common stress causes are:

  • Deficit of parental attention.
  • Change of scenery and relocation.
  • Getting into a new team.
  • Phobias.
  • Excessively strict education.

To eliminate the cause, the following recommendations are suitable:

  • Spend more time with your child, participate in his games, show attention and care. Play finger games. They help develop motor skills and use fingers.
  • Do not overload young children with information. Postpone early learning until better times. Refuse from evening classes, it is better to do something calming, for example, start a bath ritual.
  • Find out if the baby has any phobias. Perhaps by sucking a finger, the child is trying to calm down.
  • Try not to use corporal punishment. Children in two or four years old are already able to understand adults and make contact with them. Better tell your kids that sucking your fingers is ugly and unhygienic.

Children 5 years and older

At this age, the habit of sucking a finger indicates a neurosis of obsessive states arising from stress and overload. Please note that if the child constantly wraps hair on his fingers and pulls out his hair, nibbles on a pen, pencil or nails, and also combs his skin.

  • Ask a specialist for help. The doctor will help to correct this habit and reduce it to "no." Follow these general guidelines:
  • Do not focus the child on the fact that he sucks a finger. Your task is to help the baby, and not scold him and shame. It will only distance you.
  • Prevent emotional and physical overload. Find relaxation methods suitable for your baby.
  • Provide a cozy and comfortable home environment.
  • Observe any changes in your child’s behavior.
  • Help your child learn how to bite nails and other objects by talking about the concepts of hygiene and germs.

Tips & Tricks

  • Not knowing what to do if the child sucks the thumb, some parents prefer to use the old methods: smear their fingers with mustard and pepper, and nails with bitter varnish. Do not do this, because if pepper or mustard gets into your eyes, for example, your child may receive, in addition to painful sensations, a chemical burn.
  • Do not scold the child, especially with strangers. You will only aggravate the situation and push the baby away from you. “If the child does not obey,” try to calmly talk with the baby.
  • Understand the reason for sucking your finger before trying to solve this problem.

How to wean a child from sucking fingers - video tips from Dr. Komarovsky

From this video you will learn about the reasons for sucking a finger. Dr. Komarovsky talks about the age when the habit of sucking a finger is the norm. In addition, the pediatrician answers common questions from mothers and debunks stereotypes and myths.

Finger sucking is a normal process in which the baby satisfies the sucking reflex and also explores the world. From two to four years, this habit gradually disappears and only occasionally needs some correction. However, if the baby continues to suck his finger, being older, parents need to pay attention to this.

Why do children suck their fingers?

The main reason a baby begins to suck a finger is the sucking reflex. It is this reflex that is most important for a newborn child.

If after the birth the child does not take the breast (does not open his mouth, trying to grab the nipple), neonatologists conduct an extended examination to identify serious neurological pathologies.

The baby first makes sucking movements during the period of intrauterine development. After birth, the need for sucking does not disappear - on the contrary, for the full satisfaction of the innate reflex, the baby needs at least 20 minutes of sucking (breast or dummy) every 2-3 hours.

Reasons for the habit

  • Short feeding.

Too active babies can eat the necessary portion of milk or mixture in 5-7 minutes. This time is not enough to satisfy the need for sucking.If the baby shoves a finger in his mouth immediately after feeding, and at the same time does not show signs of hunger, it is better to offer him a dummy. Breastfeeding just for this purpose is not recommended, as this can lead to overfeeding and the appearance of digestive problems.

  • If the baby is breast-fed, it is important to monitor the size of the nipple and select it based on the age of the baby.

Too high a flow rate will help the baby to eat up, but the feeding instinct after feeding will not go anywhere.

Another reason associated with feeding is hunger. If the baby does not eat up, he will signal this to parents by crying or sucking a finger. Such behavior for a hungry child is natural, so you should not rely solely on the recommendations of specialists when drawing up a feeding regimen. For example, artificial children are recommended to be fed every 4 hours, but if the baby is clearly hungry, you can reduce this interval to 3.5 or 3 hours.

If a child begins to shove a finger in his mouth at the age of 5-6 months, his teeth may be cut. This condition is very painful for the baby. The gums in the teething place swell and itch, so the child can shove everything that comes under his arm, including his finger, into his mouth.

If the child feels well, does not cry and is not capricious, but at the same time constantly sucks a finger, the reason may be a lack of attention and warmth.

Young children are very dependent on their mother or other close person who spends most of their time with them. If a mother devotes little time to communication and games with her child, he may feel insecure. Such children often continue to suck a finger, even at the age of 2.5-3 years.

To get rid of the habit in such a situation, it will take a lot of time and patience. In some cases, you may need to consult a child psychologist.

The psychologist and the author of the video advises young parents to find out the reasons for which the child has fingers in his mouth, and then eliminate them.

At what age do you need to wean from sucking?

Most pediatricians recommend weaning a child from sucking fingers for up to a year - at an older age it will be much more difficult to do. For the first time, the baby pulls his hands in his mouth at the age of 3-4 months. Until six months of age, such actions are considered the norm, but if the habit persists and does not pass to the child reaching the age of one year, urgent measures must be taken.

Can finger sucking hurt?

Weaning a child from sucking is necessary on time, not only because it is ugly, and in the future he may have problems with peers - prolonged sucking of fingers can adversely affect the health and development of the child.

  • When sucking a finger, the lower jaw is predominantly involved, so a lingering habit can end with deformation of the jaw bone. It will be possible to correct the situation only surgically, but it is better not to bring it to this.
  • A 2-3 year old baby sucking a finger may experience tooth enamel weakness, as well as curvature of the teeth. The habit is especially dangerous during the period of active tooth growth, that is, from 6 to 18 months.
  • The widespread assertion that a child can "suck a finger" is nothing more than a grandmother's superstition. But this does not mean that the habit does not harm children's fingers. Prolonged sucking can lead to thinning of the upper layer of the skin and the appearance of painful corns and cracks.
  • Do not forget that the hands are the dirtiest part of the child’s body. The constant presence of hands in the mouth is fraught with infectious diseases and poisoning, so it is better to wean the baby from sucking a finger at an early age.

3 to 6 months

If parents don’t like finger sucking at any age, you can try replacing your finger with a dummy. A pacifier is much more useful for a child, and to wean from it is many times easier.

It is necessary to offer the baby a pacifier every time he starts to make sucking movements (for example, suck the edge of the blanket), after making sure that the baby is not hungry.

In parallel, you need to devote more time to the crumbs, often pick them up, “walk” around the room with the baby, showing and naming surrounding objects. This will not only contribute to the calm and confidence of the baby, but also positively affect the overall development.

The baby's attention can be distracted by rustling objects. If the house does not have a suitable toy, you can use a candy wrapper. Children are willing to play with such items, so it will not be difficult to interest the baby.

Repeat the action every time as soon as the child pushes a finger into his mouth. This method is suitable not only for babies up to 6 months, but also for older children.

6 to 12 months

For babies older than 6 months, lip and gum massage helps. Increased blood circulation as a result of light stroking and rubbing helps to reduce pain and discomfort during teething, so finger sucking associated with this cause will gradually stop.

You can help cope with pain in other ways:

  • give a teether toy (pre-put in a bag and place in the refrigerator),
  • offer solid vegetables or fruits (apple, carrots),
  • smear the gums with a cooling gel with an anesthetic (for example, “Kalgel” special gel for babies).

If the baby does not feel discomfort, he will not need to suck his finger.

1 to 2 years

To wean a one-year-old baby from sucking a finger, the following techniques should be used:

  • provide a sufficient level of physical activity (outdoor games, dancing),
  • Talk and talk with your baby more often,
  • create a favorable emotional atmosphere at home,
  • to entertain the baby with modeling, drawing,
  • restrict watching cartoons and TV shows.

If a baby pulls a finger in his mouth, you must immediately turn his attention to something else, for example, suggest drawing or sticking stickers on an album. This method gives good results if you repeat it periodically for a certain period of time.

2 to 3 years

Children over 2 years old can smear their fingers with unpleasant taste products (sour or bitter). It is important not to use substances that can harm. These primarily include hot spices and seasonings (horseradish, pepper, mustard).

The taste of these spices, of course, will not please the baby, and it is unlikely that he will pull the finger, smeared with horseradish, into his mouth. But if the child accidentally rubs his eyes, you can get a corneal burn, so such funds are not suitable for use in childhood.

Aloe juice is perfect for weaning from sucking fingers. It has a very bitter, rich taste, it does not cause irritation and is completely safe when it enters the stomach or on the surface of the eyes.

Over 3 years old

A good option for three-year-old girls is a beautiful manicure. Girls of this age like to imitate adults (most often mom), so they are happy to agree to an “adult” procedure.

At the same time, it is necessary to explain that sucking fingers can adversely affect his health. You can even compose a fairy tale - the main thing is that it be interesting and reflect the essence of the problem in an accessible language.

Over 4 years old

Fingering in children older than 4 years is rare, but this situation is still possible. At this age, the baby needs the help of a child psychologist who will help to reveal the hidden fears of the child’s experiences and solve the problem in mild ways, without injuring the baby’s psyche.

From this video you can find out the opinion of foreign experts on why children have the habit of sucking a finger.

What can not be done?

The situation when a child sucks a finger (especially if the child is more than 2 years old and the action takes place in a public place) annoys and annoys the parents, but in no case should the kids be beaten with hands or other physical methods.

This will greatly aggravate the problem and increase fears and nervousness. Children who are beaten on the hands for such a habit can suck their fingers up to school age, while they will have serious problems with adaptation in the team.

To weaning from the habit was painless and invisible to the baby, you should not make typical mistakes.

What parents can not do when they wean the child from sucking fingers:

  • screaming and scolding the baby (especially in public),
  • laugh at the child and compare him with other children, making fun of his shortcomings,
  • sharply pull your hands away from your mouth (such actions can only scare the baby even more),
  • smear your fingers with soap, spices and other potentially dangerous substances,
  • use special bracelets, mittens and cuffs for fixing the thumb (this negatively affects the psyche of the child).

Are the parents to blame?

It happens that a mom or dad, seeing a child pull a finger in his mouth, immediately breaks away and runs to him to prevent unacceptable behavior. Although the baby might just want to sleep.

If such situations are repeated constantly, the child quickly concludes that finger sucking is a great way to attract the attention of parents who are always busy and to achieve their communication. As a result, instead of single cases of finger sucking, a bad habit is formed, which can take months or even years to fight.

So that the child does not have a need for sedation through sucking movements, it is important to spend a lot of time with him, even if for this you have to sacrifice your own affairs or interests. Not a single remedy will help to cope with the problem if the child feels unnecessary and unhappy.

Why is your baby sucking a finger?

  • In infancy, the child begins to suck his finger for two reasons: when he is hungry, and when he needs to satisfy the sucking instinct.
  • Older children, therefore, try to calm themselves.
  • And for some babies, sucking a finger is a sign that they lack parental attention, love, support.

Usually, the pean, after he reaches 3 years of age, gets rid of the habit of sucking a finger on his own. If this does not happen, parents should make some efforts to help him with this.

After all, there is nothing useful in such a childhood addiction. More likely, on the contrary.

The habit of sucking a finger in infants is more likely associated with errors in nutrition and daily routines. Psychological causes prevail among preschoolers and adolescents

Is it harmful?

  1. When the baby sucks his fingers, bacteria from the environment enter his digestive system. And these bacteria are not always harmless. Some of them can be causative agents of acute intestinal infections. It is clear that when the baby is still in its cradle, the likelihood of such a development of events is small. But the time comes when the little one begins to move independently and actively study the objects surrounding it. It was then very undesirable for his small fingers to constantly appear in his mouth. This is at least unhygienic.
  2. Child sucking a finger in infancy does not have a special effect on the growth of his teeth. But if the baby does not get rid of such addiction until he reaches 5 years of age, this is fraught with the formation of a malocclusion in the toddler. Often in such babies, the front upper teeth protrude forward, and the lower ones grow a little back.
  3. Among preschool children and children of primary school age there are not so many owners of this habit. But those little ones who have not had time to get rid of it, may experience problems in communicating with their peers.
  4. The fingers sucked by the baby also have a hard time. Cracks and corns may appear on them. And it is possible that experiencing pain, the baby will begin to suck his finger even more actively to calm down.

When the baby grows up, the habit of sucking fingers can cause him to form the wrong bite

Is the habit of sucking a finger harmful for a child? From the foregoing, we can conclude that, yes, of course, harmful.

It is necessary to rid the baby of her. But how? This directly depends on the reasons why the child sucks a finger and on his age.

Reasons for sucking a finger

With the birth of a baby, his reflexes and instincts are born. Many of them are quite understandable to mom: crying - wants to eat or it's time to change the diaper, rubs her eyes - it's time to sleep. Why does the baby suck a finger? There are several reasons for this:

  1. Hunger. One of the most obvious and frequent reasons. How to show mom what you want to eat? That's right, send a finger to her mouth, then mom will guess that it's time to eat. Watch your diet. If you use adaptive milk mixture when feeding, then prepare it according to the instructions, taking into account age-related characteristics, do not increase the intervals between meals. When breastfeeding, feeding on demand is considered a priority, because breast milk is less calorie, it is impossible to accurately calculate the amount of milk that the baby has sucked.
  2. Lack of contact with mom. Many specialists in the field of pediatrics note that up to a year a child needs 70% of mother’s love and care and only 30% of toys and toys. Breast sucking is not only a way to get food, but also soothing, the manifestation of feelings, the main sign of the nascent affection between mother and child. After 9 months inside, the next 9 months outside are called the period of “maturity”, when nothing is more reliable and desirable for the baby than mother’s arms and chest, if this contact is broken for any reason, if the time spent together is negligible, the feeling of discomfort accrues - the baby sucks a finger in response to this. This situation can be found in families where it was decided not to accustom the child to the hands, so as not to spoil. Only now “smart” adults do not understand that this is not pampering at all, but a vital necessity - to be caressed, confident that you are loved, that you are needed.
  3. Emotional discomfort, stress. As already mentioned, instincts govern the actions of a newborn. The instinct of self-preservation is the most important. Vision in menstruation-three-month-old children is fuzzy, they cannot distinguish between faces, but they perfectly recognize voices and smells. If scandals, conversations on high tones often occur at home - the child is stressed, if a stranger picks up his hands - stress, going to the clinic where they carefully examine you - again stress. Who will come to the rescue and get rid of worries? Either mother’s chest or thumb.
  4. Teething. This is a physiological process, accompanied by severe itching, profuse salivation. The kid seems too capricious. He can poke everything that comes under his arm into his mouth, suck on toys, the corners of the blanket, pillow, crib side. Most often, one can meet one’s own fist in the mouth: it certainly cannot be lost and no one can take it away. Help your baby, offer him safe silicone rodents or special chilled rings, they will not only help ease the suffering, but also serve as a good toy.

And in this short video pediatrician Julia Rogozina will tell you about the main reasons for sucking a finger and ways to get rid of this habit.

How to wean a child from a similar habit?

If you asked the older generation how to wean a child from sucking a finger, you probably would have heard from grandparents at least a dozen recipes, one another is more “effective”. The most popular in their ranking is to smear crumbs with mustard or something else, just as unpleasant.

Various restrictive means such as tires on the elbows of the baby or mittens on the hands, were also previously used in folklore. But they all only make the little one suffer.Is this your goal? And will the baby develop fully if it is constantly limited in movement?

Do not spread the fingers with mustard on the baby, sprinkle with pepper and other substances unpleasant for the baby. Have pity on the child. Do not cause him unnecessary suffering

How to save a child from this completely unhealthy habit painlessly? Without causing him suffering and inconvenience? The only true way is to eliminate the reason why the baby begins to suck his finger.

Up to a year

  • Take a close look at the circumstances in which your baby begins to suck a finger. If this happens shortly before feeding, then the reason for this behavior is simple to the point of banality. He was hungry, and that’s all. The amount of milk or mixture at one time should not be increased. The baby should suck its age norm. So, you need to increase the number of feedings per day for a while. If the baby ate once every 3 hours, try feeding him once every 2.5 hours. If you have already begun to feed the little one with four-hour breaks, go back again to the previous schedule, when he ate more often.
  • There is one more point that you should pay attention to. You probably know that children are born already having in their arsenal a set of unconditioned reflexes (some are also called instincts) that help them survive in their new environment until conditioned reflexes develop in their body. One of these reflexes is the sucking reflex. In the child, nature itself has programmed how much he needs to suck so as not to remain hungry. If for some reason the feeding time is shortened, the completely unsatisfied sucking reflex will force the baby to look for something to suck more. And your own finger is the best suited for this purpose. Moreover, it is always available.

When breastfeeding, try to increase the duration of feeding.

Toddlers under 1 year old

If the baby sucks the finger, then this is the effect of a still strong sucking reflex. It manifests itself more than usual, with stress and stressful situations. This habit may arise during excommunication.

A bad or disturbing dream gives rise to fatigue, which does not go away in order to help you at least somehow - the child calms himself by sucking. Take a closer look at your baby, check if he is sleeping the hours set for him. It is worth adjusting the regime of the day, as this habit will disappear on its own.

From 1 year to 3 years

At this age, if the child still pulls a finger in his mouth, then we can talk about psychological reasons. The catalysts can be: a tense situation in the house, strict upbringing, lack of tactile contact with parents.

Getting used to the garden is a moment that rarely passes without tears and fears; help your baby softly and painlessly adapt. Before weaning a child at this age from an already bad habit, it is worth getting to the bottom of its origins.

Children 3-5 years

The first fears appear - the darkness, dogs, cartoon heroes. A large amount of incoming information can cause emotional overload. Often, kids are either afraid to tell adults about their experiences, or suffer from something unknowingly.

In these cases, it is worth talking about obsessive behavior, which is expressed in sucking a finger. Learning from a bad habit will be difficult, you need to choose gentle methods of struggle.

Over 5 years old

If a five-year-old child is seen sucking a finger, then this is an occasion to be wary and turn to professionals for help. Often in such situations, you can observe winding hair on a finger, biting nails, combing the skin, and even an obsessive cough.

All this indicates the presence of neurological or psychological problems (for example, hidden aggression, sandwiched emotions of resentment or guilt), which need to be solved as quickly as possible, otherwise they can lead to the emergence of psychosomatic diseases.

When breastfeeding

According to statistics, infants are much less likely to suck a finger than children who are breast-fed. This is due to the fact that their mothers feed, mainly, on demand. And they are located on the mother’s breast as much as they need in order to be satisfied and satisfy the sucking reflex.

If, nevertheless, you notice that your baby periodically takes his fingers in his mouth and begins to suck them enthusiastically, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that you have properly set up breastfeeding.

What should I look for?

  1. Increase the duration of feeding. The baby should be at the maternal breast for 30-40 minutes. Then he will satisfy both hunger and sucking instinct.
  2. If you offer both breasts to the baby during one feeding, give the second one only after the baby sucks the first for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Do not worry that the peanut will overeat. This happens only when the child is very hungry. Being 40 minutes on one breast, the baby will receive the same amount of milk as in 20 minutes.
  4. If the baby, after some time after starting the meal, distracted from the chest, turned his attention to something else, do not rush to finish feeding.

When breastfeeding, pay attention to the stiffness of the nipples, and the size of the hole in it

When feeding mixtures

With artificial feeding, the specifics of dealing with the child’s habit of sucking a finger is somewhat different. After all, here you feed the baby strictly according to the schedule, and clearly dose the portions of the mixture that he sucks.

  1. But you can reduce the breaks between feedings if you see that the baby begins to feel hungry and, accordingly, pulls his hands in his mouth to suck, a little earlier than expected.
  2. To satisfy the sucking sucking reflex, buy a more rigid nipple with a smaller hole. Then the baby will take much more time to cope with his portion of the mixture.

And also, unlike an infant, an artificial child can be offered to suck a pacifier instead of a finger. And, it will not be amiss to repeat, do not rush to switch to a lower frequency of feedings. Four-hour breaks between meals can be done when the child is ripe for this.

Preschoolers suck their fingers when they experience psychological discomfort

At 4-8 years old

When the little one grows up, the reasons why he sucks his finger are no longer associated with the physiological processes in his body. They should seek, rather, an emotional and psychological subtext.

The kid is bored or scared. He is agitated, agitated, afflicted. The child feels uncomfortable or lacks parental attention. Then he uses the habit of sucking his finger, as a kind of lifeline in the world of his experiences. This becomes his personal sedative. And he uses it in certain cases.

If you understand why the baby is experiencing psychological discomfort, which makes him unbalanced, and eliminate this reason, the habit of sucking a finger will very soon disappear from the life of your baby due to its lack of demand.

In adolescence, finger sucking, along with other obsessive movements, can be a symptom of diseases of the central nervous system - the central nervous system

10 years or older

Most often, the addiction to their own fingers in children passes before their teeth begin to change. But each rule has a number of exceptions.

When in addition to the fact that the baby sucks his fingers, he has other obsessive movements, and these symptoms tend to worsen with age, it makes sense for parents to seek the advice of a specialist: neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist.

Scolding a child for his habits is not worth it. Better parents make every effort to help their child cope with them.

Having a baby suck a finger as a teenager can be more than just a bad habit. This, often, indicates disorders of the nervous system or psychological problems that require professional help. And the sooner the child provides such assistance, the faster and more successfully he will cope with his problem. Himself for the good, and, of course, to the delight of parents ...

Watch the video: Breaking the Thumb sucking Habit - Boys Town Pediatrics (April 2020).