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When Should Babies Stop Sucking Their Thumbs?

Posted on 5/15/2024 by Weo Admin
Smiling child sucking thumb. One of the most important early challenges of parenting is helping your baby self-soothe during naptime or bedtime. It is difficult for a parent not to rush in to help their children feel secure when they cry in their cribs. However, the sooner the baby can soothe themselves, the easier it will be for them to fall asleep quickly during naptime and bedtime.

Often, babies use their thumbs to latch onto and suck on as a way to self-soothe when they are upset, such as when mom or dad leaves the room at naptime. While sucking their thumbs is fine when babies do not have any teeth, once their teeth start to come in, you need to begin thinking about weaning your baby from thumb-sucking because it can lead to problems down the road.

Why Do Babies Have to Stop Sucking Their Thumbs?

Many babies suck their thumbs before they are born, while others do not begin to suck their thumbs until after they are born. Regardless of when they start sucking their thumbs, if your baby is still sucking their thumb after their teeth begin to erupt, it can become a problem.

The most important reason babies have to stop sucking their thumbs is because it affects their bite patterns over time. When babies continue to suck their thumbs after they start to get teeth, their mouths adjust to the thumb being in their mouths all the time. Their teeth and bite patterns will shift. This means your baby may experience cross bites or open bites, which are both malocclusions or bite issues that will need to be corrected by an orthodontist.

What Should I Do?

Many children will stop sucking their thumbs on their own, usually by age two. However, if your toddler is past the age of two and they are still sucking their thumbs, gently begin to distract them from thumb-sucking. You can reward them, such as a sticker, when they are not sucking their thumbs at bedtime or naptime.

Do you have questions about your baby and thumb-sucking? Why not reach out to us today to make an appointment?

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