23 answers

When Should I Stop Baby from Sucking Fingers

My son is almost 5 months and for the past month and a half he has found comfort in sucking his two fingers (the middle and ring finger, which is really cute b/c he makes the longhorn sign when he does). I don't really see anything wrong with this and neither does my husband but everytime we see my mother in law she says that if we don't take his fingers out of his mouth now it's gonna be really hard to make him stop later and he'll be one of those older kids still sucking his fingers. My husband says she is just traumatized b/c she has a 19yr old grandchild who still sucks his thumb. We just let her know that he is teething and it feels good on his gums and it has actually been pretty helpful b/c when he is tired he just sucks on his fingers and has actually put himself to sleep plenty of times now. But since I have to hear it everytime I'm starting to wonder if I should, or at least at what age should I, start taking them out of his mouth. My instinct still tells me that there's nothing wrong with it now but should I start taking his fingers out when he gets teeth? Please if anyone has suggestions they will be greatly appreciated.

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Tell her there are many reasons why this is good/appropriate behavior for him including teething, and self consolation and you will not be stopping him but if it bothers her so much you can call her in a year or two when he is finished and get together for lunch! :o)

1 mom found this helpful

Please do not stop him from sucking his fingers. Some kids suck their fingers for years, but right now is not the time to stop him. He's only 5 months.

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Not to be rude, but m-in-law needs to myob! REALLY!? he is 5months old! He was probably sucking his fingers in the womb. That's like saying he needs to walk NOW, or he'll never walk. No one knows if he is going to be a sucker later, everyone is different & if he can comfort himself, more power to him.

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I have read that sucking fingers does not cause any damage until 4-5 years of age. My daughter sucks her thumb when she is sleepy and it helps her to calm down if she is upset. If she hasn't stopped on her own in a few years, then I will definitely help her stop doing it because I don't want her to have social issues about it, or any dental problems. By 4 or 5 years old, I think she should be mature enough to have developed other skills to calm down--with my guidance of course. I couldn't stop her from sucking her thumb. She started when she was 4 months and would spit out the pacifier and suck her thumb. Hope this helps. Follow your heart!

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Do not listen to your mother in law and politely ask her to stop making comments about your child. yes, she will be mad at you for a little but that will blow over. If you don't do it now then she will assume that she can comment on anything at any time the entire time you are raising that precious child. The 19 yr. old is a very very very unusual case and one which should have been addressed long ago by that parent and by the pediatric dentist. They have implants that are not painful and are placed in the mouth of children to help them to stop the habit if it goes too far for too long. Your baby has found a way of comforting himself and that is a developmental millestone. When he is older 4-5 if he doesn't stop on his own you can help him break the habit or you can visit with a pediatric dentist that will be able to help. I speak the words of wisdom as I was a thumb sucker and have one who is as well. I have 4 kids and each has given up their comfort crutch on their own just as our pediatrician said he/she would. My Mother in law was appalled that I allowed my oldest to use a paci until he was 4 but he gave it up on his own at 4 and 1/2 and I didn't have to traumatize him as she did her son (my husband) when she threw his paci out the window on his 2nd birthday. Remember they have had their turn raising their kids now it is yours- be strong and love that precious one that God gave to you!!

1 mom found this helpful

Babies and young children suck for comfort. It is totally normal and totally natural. It is also a good sign that your son can soothe himself.

My daughter is 2 and a half and still sucks on her finger for comfort. We have no problem with this at all. She is not in any danger of doing any damage right now and it would cause psychological damage to try to force her to quit. She will likely quit when she starts grade school, but if not, we will address it then with her dentist and pediatrician and NOT with any other relatives.

Your instincts are right on and you should do what you and your husband think is best. Your child is learning to self soothe which will help build his confidence. You are also lucky because he might drop a pacifier, but he can always find his fingers in the middle of the night. It is developmentally appropriate for babies and young children to suck and this should be allowed.

It is good that you and your husband are on the same page. Just politely tell your mother in law thank you for her concern, but that the two of you have agreed that the sucking behavior is normal and acceptable. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Tell her there are many reasons why this is good/appropriate behavior for him including teething, and self consolation and you will not be stopping him but if it bothers her so much you can call her in a year or two when he is finished and get together for lunch! :o)

1 mom found this helpful

I feel 5 months is a little early to be trying to stop this comfort action. My daughter is a two finger sucker as well and she is now 15 months old and does this now only when she is getting sleepy or for the occasional comfort. Don't stress about it.

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Go with your instincts. There is nothing wrong with it. If you make it an issue, there is a greater chance it will become one. The palate does not harden until the permanent teeth start coming in, so even if he sucks his fingers every day until he is 6 the palate won't be permanently affected. My brother sucked his fingers almost up until 2nd grade. He has gorgeous, perfect teeth, and never had to have braces. My mom's approach was to simply let it be - for my brother, that approach worked fine. He gave it up on his own when he saw his peers didn't do it.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, C.,
There's nothing wrong with a baby sucking his fingers. Our pediatrician said he preferred finger/hand sucking instead of pacifiers since pacifiers fall on the ground and get dirty. Since your son sucks his fingers it's a good way to soothe himself. My baby used to suck on fingers and hands, but stopped without my doing anything once my baby became more mobile (around 8 months old). I hope this helps!
P.S. That's cool about the longhorn sign when your son sucks his fingers! :)

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