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when did your little one find their thumb?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hello all, I am new here and have a question about my three month old. She is a very clingy cuddly girl who would love to nurse NON-STOP.  The only time she stops nursing is if she's too full, which doesn't happen very often. (Proven by the fact she already weighs 19 pounds...) 


I did the pacifier route with daughter number 1. She is 22 months and we have worked the pacifier down only for naps and bedtime (or occasionally when she goes through a really moody spell).  Because of my experience with the pacifier with her, I am wanting to avoid that route this time!  Even now she sometimes loses her pacifier at night and I end up having to turn on the light and pull out the crib trying to find it. Plus all those days of frantically searching for it, running late because we couldn't leave until we found the pacifier, losing it and dealing with traumatizing screaming events.. never again!  I was a thumb sucker along with all the rest of my siblings, and none of us suffered severely from it.


Daughter 2 is definitely finding her hands lately, but she hasn't figured out the thumb yet. Does anyone know if it's possible to teach a baby to suck their thumb? When she cries she clenches her fists so it is really hard for her to find anything, and she ends up sucking on the back of her hand or her arm. Yesterday she actually gave herself blisters on the back of her wrist :(  I spent some time with her today trying to coax her thumb in, but she just doesn't have the hang of it.  She just turned 3 months a couple of days ago, so should I just give it more time? Am I wasting my time trying to teach her?  Or should I just not worry about it? Cave in and go the pacifier route?  Any help is appreciated :D

post #2 of 20

My baby girl found her thumb between 2 and 3 months, and got very good at popping it in.  At first it was more of hitting herself in the head and then dragging her hand down the side of her face until the thumb reached the mouth.  She is 11 months old today and she uses her thumb to self-soothe - when she's tired, when she's in a crowded place and overwhelmed, or when she's hurt.  I think its both adorable and useful; I'll worry about breaking the habit down the road.


thumb suck action sequence 3.jpg

post #3 of 20

Mine never did, in the sucking-thumb sense. I would probably go the paci route if you are really concerned and want her to suck on something. But mine never wanted a paci either; some babies really only want mama milkies!


post #4 of 20

Julia found her thumb about 2 weeks ago - so somewhere around 2.5 months. She's pretty good at getting just her thumb in her mouth now with the rest of her hand closed. Before that she was trying to get her thumb in her mouth but her other fingers were in her way. She would just suck on her hand after trying.


Now she has begun to suck on her bib. I bought some that are pvc, bpa and phthalate free.

post #5 of 20
So glad you asked this question as my son is doing the same thing (sucking his whole hand urgently)... I don’t know what’s best either - whether I should help him find his thumb or encourage the paci... I am definitely waiting & hoping some moms can join this discussion and share some mommy advice on this topic. smile.gif
post #6 of 20

My first child never sucked her thumb, although she did go through a phase of sucking on her wrist or her hand.  My second child found her thumb pretty by 2 weeks, by my memory, but she didn't really get good at it for a few months.  I have memories of her pulling off the breast to her thumb in the early days, though.  


Here's a pic of her at 15 days.




And then at 3 months.



post #7 of 20

DS will be six months old next week, and only recently did he find his thumb.  The first night in the hospital, one of the nurses announced to us "You've got yourselves a sucker!"  (Which led DH to reply about there being one born every minute... ha ha).  Anyway, he (son, not husband) has always had a strong sucking instinct, and has taken a pacifier since day one, and has switched easily from pacifier to breast to bottle and back again. 


Even with that though, it has taken him (what seems to me as) a long time to figure out that he can suck on his own thumb.  He often will try to shove multiple fingers in his mouth - and would happily fit his whole hand in there if he could manage it - but only at about five and a half months has he started thumb-sucking.


Like some of the previous posters, I'm not really sure how I feel about this.  Part of me thinks it's great - no need to futz around for a pacifier!  He always has his thumb on him!  But the other part of me worries already about how long that habit will last, and how difficult it may be to break him of later on.  Any more experienced mamas out there who have gone through this?

post #8 of 20

My DS is 5 mths old and although he sticks his hand and fingers in his mouth, he has not found his thumb or began sucking it like he does his other fingers sometimes.  But he takes a paci.

post #9 of 20
Originally Posted by scotia View Post

son, not husband


post #10 of 20

My son is 3 and a half (will be 4 months on April 18th).  He has occasionally sucked his thumb since birth, but it always seemed like more of an accident than a planned move.  He has been pretty good at getting his thumb in his mouth when he wants to since 3 months, but still can't use it consistently to self soothe because his arms flail and he can't keep his thumb in his mouth when he's worked up.  We give him a pacifier because he has a very strong urge to suck and now he will occasionally spit out the paci to suck his thumb instead.  I'm not sure if/when he'll perfect sucking his thumb for comfort, but it seems like he's getting close!

post #11 of 20
Out of my three kids, only one sucked her thumb. She was maybe 6 weeks old? She alternated between her thumb itself and the side of her hand under her thumb. She sucked it until she got teeth at 12 months, and then gave it up on her own (I guess she didn't like how it felt.). Probably not coincidentally, she was the only one of the three who was a "good" sleeper - the only one who put herself to sleep from a very young age, the only one that didn't want to nurse all night long. None of my kids wanted anything to do with pacifiers, though.
post #12 of 20

DS found his at 3 months nearly exactly, despite trying from birth. Now he is a dedicated thumbsucker. I would give it more time.

post #13 of 20

hello, I think this is how it goes with all of them, sucking the back of the hand because I believe they are not ready to open their hands yet and then when they do, they go for the htumb on their own right away. Mine used to suck even 4 fingers on both hands and gurgle from it :)))

I think u should let the nature takes it course till they suck the thumb, u r giving a beautiful opportunity to your little girl to suck as much as she wants and nurture herself, n not being pushed to something she s not ready for...no worries, u sound like a wonderful mom and she s doing fine...

post #14 of 20
Originally Posted by Cecilia's Mama View Post

Mine never did, in the sucking-thumb sense. I would probably go the paci route if you are really concerned and want her to suck on something. But mine never wanted a paci either; some babies really only want mama milkies!


This happened exactly. dd #1 never took thumb or pacifier. In fact she never put anything in her mouth except boob, which was great, I never had to be careful about her picking stuff off the floor. #2 won't take a pacifier and hasn't found her thumb, except for one time when she was 2 weeks old. She just turned 3 months. She doesn't seem to be one to nurse more than needed though, DD #1 I nursed every 2 hours until she was like a year, that was the only thing she wanted to suck. By the way, she was a HUGE baby too, off the charts in weight until she was a year.


post #15 of 20

DD isn't really into sucking any finger. She chews on her index finger if she's teething (I think, that's the correlation).

post #16 of 20

My 20 month old still hasn't.. but he nurses on demand which is pretty often so I think I am his thumb :)


post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone, I guess I will give it more time. She is pretty good about going to sleep on her own, but just in the past few days she has been putting herself to sleep by sucking on her arm.  She will even latch on the part that still has blisters, so I have to keep checking on her to make her stop.. and then she gets upset. I just don't want her to continue hurting herself. The last time I tried to coax her thumb in she grabbed her gum with it and I think she might have scratched herself :( so I am not trying that anymore.  I live in a very warm climate and our a/c isn't working at the moment, so I can't really put her in long sleeves to protect her arms, either!


ETA: these thumb-sucking pictures are SO cute, everyone!  :D

post #18 of 20

I was frustrated like you because dd seemed to WANT to suck her fingers/thumb, but just couldn't get it organized to do so and SHE was so frustrated. I would try to help her, and it would make her even madder! FINALLY, at 4 1/2 months she was able to consistently get her two fingers in her mouth and wow!!! what a happy baby!!!!She is now 7 months old and sucks them a lot...when she is done nursing, tired, and cranky. She would NOT take a pacifier, so I am so grateful she finally figured it out!! 

post #19 of 20
Grace is almost 4 months and she's been adeptly sucking her hands and fingers. She found her thumb accidentally a couple of times. She will take a paci but prefers her fingers. She's really cute with drooly fingers and I haven't thought too much about a preference for thumbs vs fingers vs paci just that she has something besides my breast to make her happy!
post #20 of 20

She started sucking her hands / fingers before 7 weeks, because I wrote down that she started trying to touch her feet while sitting in her swing at that point. She doesn't seem to care much for her thumb or anything. I just stopped giving her a binky when we moved when she was 3 months and she hasn't had one since. She is mostly chewing her fingers, more than anything.

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