in ,

When should you stop sucking your thumb?

© CBCK-Christine / iStock
When should you stop sucking your thumb?
5 (100%) 1 vote

If your baby prefers to suck their thumb rather than a dummy, there is no need to worry as this is a completely natural reflex. According to paediatric doctor Arnault Pfersdorff you shouldn’t try and prevent your child from suck their thumb to early as it can have its advantages. 

Sucking your thumb is a fetal reflex

The majority of babies start sucking their thumb while in the womb. On average, the fetus starts to put a finger into their month from the third month of pregnancy.  However the fetus can also suck on their foot or the umbilical chord.  This is why newborn babies keep up this reflex and don’t always take to a dummy to suck on.

According to paediatric doctors, sucking is on of the first ways a baby discovers their body.  If they stop this habit at the right time sucking their thumb won’t affect the normal development of the jaw or deform the palette of their mouth. 

According to Arnault Pfersdorff., “sucking is essential until babies are six months old.”  This habit allows babies to secrete endorphins which are pleasure and happiness hormones.

When should a child stop sucking their thumb?

From the age of 2 to 3 years old, parent can start to encourage their child to stop sucking their thumb by taking time to explain to them why it is better for them.  After 4 to 5 years the child will be aware that the pressure of their thumb in their mouth over the years can deform their palette.  As a result this could mean that the child requires a brace as a teenager.

According to paediatric doctors, there is no need to force a child to stop as there are able to stop on their own as they are aware that it is a babyish reflex.  However it is important that your child stops sucking their thumb before their adult teeth start to push through.  This is roughly from the age of seven years old.


Related articles:

Pregnancy: Protect you and your baby from the cold

Pregnancy: Five signs that you are expecting a baby girl

What is the ideal time and month to try for a baby?