Finger Sucking Question

Updated on November 20, 2008
C.U. asks from Cleveland, TN
16 answers

I have a 1 year old daughter who has sucked her two middle fingers since she was only a few months old. It is her way to soothe herself when she is upset or tired. The other day I found a spot on one of her "sucking fingers" that looks kind of like a blister. It is clear and raised and is situated on the side of one of her finger joints. Has anyone had this happen with a little one? Is it from the sucking or could it be from something else? Should I try to break her of the sucking? Any ideas on how to treat it or should I just leave it alone?

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answers from Hickory on

I don't know what the blister-type thing is, or what you should do with it. I do think you should try to break her of sucking the 2 fingers. How you'll do that, I don't know. Good luck.

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answers from Raleigh on

I have couple friends who have kids what suck thumb/fingers and have the same issue. Unfortunaly kids do not just give up this habbit once permanent teeth come in.In those familys oldest kids are 7, 9 and in another 11 and they still do it. All of them have huge overbite. Our oldest actually tried to start sucking his thumb/fingers when he was 23 months (his baby brother was born and we moved to a different state)I just gave him a paci. Yes, sounds crazy but I knew that to take away a paci will be so much easier than a thumb/finger:).Surely enough when he turned 3 I said enough and it went buy buy, while my friends are still struggling.


answers from Jacksonville on

Hi C.,

I agree with the last person's response. It probably is from sucking her fingers. My daughter is a thumb-sucker and has gotten them too. It's from her teeth rubbing on the same spot all the time. The only thing I would caution you about is if you see any redness or red streaking, take her to the doctor right away. My daughter had this once and it turned out to be cellulitis. Scary word, I know, but it's just an infection from the open sore, probably from exposure to the usual germs in her mouth. They'll probably put her on antibiotics for 1-2 weeks to prevent it from getting into her bloodstream, and then she'll be just fine.

Hope this helps!



answers from Clarksville on

She is fine. My 3 year old still sucks his thumb and will occasionally get a little blister. He adjusts, it goes away, and all is right with the world. If it gets very red or irritated then you might ask your doctor for a topical ointment to make sure it doesn't become infected. Also, from what I have read, there is no need to stress about finger or thumb sucking until the permanent teeth start to come in. My son does a great job of calming himself with his thumb, and he will take "thumb breaks" if he needs to catch his breath or becomes a bit overwhelmed in a large group. It is also his way of finishing a conversation he is not enjoying. ( : Relax and enjoy your self soothing sweetie.



answers from Charlotte on

I was always so insistent about my kids not using pacifiers. My oldest never cared but my younger two did. My son sucked his middle two fingers and my daughter sucked her thumb. So much for my no paci stance! My son didn't break the habit totally until he was in 3rd grade and broke his arm so he couldn't get his fingers into his mouth anymore. Even with all that sucking (which caused problems in school with wet papers, etc.) he has PERFECT teeth and does not need braces. The dentist said that the fingers are actually much better than the thumb where they tend to push up and out causing buck teeth. That was true of my daughter who was a thumb sucker. That caused a triangular shaped palate which caused her face to look pinched. We got her braces before she hit puberty (very important for quick changes before the bones solidify) and got one of those wheels with the spikes in a permanent retainer. That forces the thumb out of their mouths when they try and suck. That kicked the habit and changed her whole look. The thumb sucking was becoming a problem because she did it unconsiously while she slept. Slumber parties caused stomach aches cuz she worried so much she would be found out. She was about 10 when the braces (the wheel) ended the habit for good.

I did think it was cute at first also but it is a pretty disgusting habit. I liked that they could soothe themselves but at the same time it became traumatic when they wanted to quit and struggled. Looking back, I'm not sure what I would have done differently...I'd probably just let them work it out on their own like they did. Oh, and yes, the blister is totally normal unless it gets infected or sore.

Good luck and enjoy these days...they will go quickly!




answers from Lexington on

I had the same from sucking my thumb when I was little. The spot went away after I stopped sucking my thumb, and you can see no marks from it.

As for trying to break her of the sucking, I say leave it alone. Vickie gave some good advice in her post. My mom tried everything to get me to quit (even hot sauce, which I just cried through while still sucking my thumb, LOL). My deal with her was that I would quit when I went to Kindergarten. And sure enough, right when I walked through the front doors I took out my thumb and never put it back in.

Now that I'm a mom, my baby girl likes to suck on two fingers. I just let her do it and don't worry about it. I think she'll stop when she gets good and ready. If she's anything like her mommy and daddy, she'll be stubborn and just do things her own way anyway, LOL. Good luck with your baby girl. I think she will be just fine. :O)



answers from Nashville on

My daughter is a thumb sucker and got something similar. Although we kept an eye on it and when it started changing colors we contacted our pediatrician. She ended up with a fungal infection and had to put ointment on it for a week. I would just keep on eye on it, but if you are concerned call your doctor.

I sucked the same fingers as your daughter does. My parents HATED it. Growing up they tried everything and were very persistent about it. I truly believe that I stopped doing as security and continued doing to upset my parents. I continued to suck my fingers WAY into my elementary years. This is why I have decided to take a more laid pack approach to my daughter. She now really only sucks her thumb when she is sad, bored or tired. If she is up doing being active, she never sticks her thumb in her mouth. This did not happen until she turned 3 though. Before than she spent a lot of time sucking her thumb. I think this is one of those debates that have been going on FOREVER :) Do what you feel is the right thing to do.



answers from Memphis on

My 4yr old still sucks his index finger. He has a callus on it from sucking it. That's probably what that "blister" spot is. I was grossed out when his appeared and tried to get him to stop but it did no good. We have to tape it when he plays sports to keep it out of his mouth and prevent possible injury. I'm hoping when he starts big kid school next year the habit will break itself.



answers from Louisville on

my daughter does the same thing! i have never seen a child do this before i had her. i have worked in day care and have seen the blisters you are talking about. most of the time its just from the moisture in the mouth and could be a small bacteria infection. i would give the doc a call and see what they recommend they may want her to have some cream for it. good luck!



answers from Memphis on

I would recoming that you attempt to break this habit as soon as possible. I have a daughter that is now 11 that started to suck the same two fingers very young. She continued to suck her fingers until she was almost 10. At this age I had to have a mouth piece put in at the dentist office. She continues at times to attempt to suck her fingers. There is now a permanent looking blister on the top of her middle finger.
When she was 5 or 6 and people began to comment on her sucking her fingers I did not attempt to stop her because my pediatrician felt that she would stop on her own when she was ready. My daughter does have some anxiety issues and she never attempted to stop sucking her fingers. I hope this helps you answer your questio



answers from Lexington on

It could be from her sucking on them. Most likely she has a tooth breaking through that is irritating them. I know alot of people will caution you to try and break her of it but I would suggest you not bother. She'll stop when she's ready and not before no matter what you try, to be quite honest. The good news is that as a finger sucker instead of thumb it typically wont last as long as a thumb sucker. As always, if you're concerned it's best to speak with her pediatrician.

Good luck!



answers from Wheeling on

If she has any teeth, this is probably just a little callous (like men get on their hands from rough work and we ladies get on our feet) that she's worn on the finger.

Now for my story> We raised 4 kids (now adults), and if our first one (daughter, now 31 w/3 little ones of her own) had needed any 'security' object or activity (blanket, pacifier, thumb, etc), I would've been mortified! Thankfully, she didn't.

Then the two boys both had colic and NEEDED pacifiers. They gave them up easily, though, as I only gave it to them when they indicated that they wanted it.

THEN came youngest daughter: She started sucking her thumb at 3 months and did it AVIDLY for 4 years! I'd read up on enough parenting stuff by then to realize that, if the child has something that makes them feel secure, and you (MEAN MAMA! LOL) are trying to TAKE AWAY that 'something', it only makes them feel MORE INSECURE, and their need for it becomes GREATER. Makes sense, huh? So, I simply started telling her (when she was about 2-1/2) that it was making her teeth crooked (it really was. Had braces later on). Then when she started pre-school at age 4, I think the kids teased her about it, and SHE decided to quit - on her own! It was so cute. She'd lay down to sleep -- conscientiously KEEPING her hand away from her mouth, then just as she'd be drifting off, the thumb would 'automatically' go into her mouth. She'd immediately jerk it out. Anyway, she absolutely BROKE HERSELF from it within a couple weeks.

I think the more we try to 'control' our kids (to meet OUR purposes), the worse it makes things (ESPECIALLY if they're very meek personalities -- makes them STUBBORN). I'm a steam-roller-type, and all my family aren't, so I still (at 51) really have to watch my 'control' tendencies. On the other hand, if you're a 'worrier', just DON'T! Don't sweat the small stuff (and it's mostly ALL 'small stuff')!



answers from Greensboro on

My son totally has the same little blister thing on his thumb!! he is now 4 1/2 and his thumb sucking has decreased so much that the little bump thing is almost completely gone!When he turned 4 is when I noticed the thumb sucking start to wain...hopefully soon he will be done with it! Braces are definitely in his future! Don't worry about the bump!



answers from Memphis on

Hello C.,
Yes the blister is from finger sucking. The teeth rub up against the skin on the finger and creates a blister. Just the same as shoes rubs toes.
The situation will go away once the finger sucking stops. There no harm done the blister will go away. However you will have a dental bill later! BRACES...
My bestfriend's son is a finger sucker and have been since age 2. Is now about to be 8. He has buck teeth and blisters on his fingers. He will be getting braces.
She has spoke to the dentist about it and was perscribed something to put on his finger so that the taste is bitter, not sure if she tried it as she was too a finger sucker. GOOD LUCK.



answers from Memphis on

My oldest, who is now 8, sucked her thumb. I would often see those on her thumb. They were never a problem and didn't seem to hurt her. My advice would be to try to stop the sucking, but, it's hard. It's not like a pacifier that you can take away. I still catch my daughter with her thumb in her mouth sometimes.



answers from Nashville on

My daughter sucked her two fingers upside down. She would thread them through her knit blanket and then suck them upside down. It was actually cute for a while. She did get raw areas on her fingers and a blister once or twice. When she was 2 1/2 we had to wrap her fingers in gauze at night to get her to stop sucking them. It was ruining her teeth. I waited to make her stop until my dentist recommended it.

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