Five Reasons Why I Approve Of Thumb Sucking

May 22, 2017

When our babies are new and tiny and everything is uncertain for them we would give anything to keep them calm and the most common thing we give to them to help is a dummy. Babies love to suck, given the chance they will suckle on mummy’s boobies all day long, not because they’re hungry but because it is a comfort for them. It’s not realistic or practical though so we offer them a dummy instead to keep their little mouths and minds occupied.

From day one Amelia never wanted a dummy, we offered it to her but she would drop it or spit it out after only a couple of seconds. After days of putting it back in, trying to find ways to hold it in her mouth without actually strapping it to her face (that would be frowned upon) we eventually gave up and accepted she didn’t really want the dummy at all.

When she turned 8 weeks old she started to discover her hands and one nap time, her tiny little thumb found it’s own way to her mouth and just like that, we had a thumb sucker. In the first few days she was only able to put her thumb in her mouth if she was lying in a certain position, it was almost like she didn’t know it could be done any other way and she also used to lose her shit if her thumb fell out of her mouth. She would think it was gone, gone forever and we couldn’t put it back in fast enough. Much the same as it was when she was trying to use a dummy but she soon got the hang of it and learnt that her thumb was apart of her, it was attached to her hand and she could have it whenever she wanted.

She’s almost 7 months now and is an avid thumb sucker, in fact I think it is her favourite thing ever. Personally I love that she’s a thumb sucker, I was as a child too and whilst I can’t remember when I grew out of it I know that everyone does eventually. I know that there are so many reasons why thumb sucking isn’t loved by many parents but I am actually really pleased Amelia has found this method of soothing herself, here’s a few reasons why:

Choice – It was her choice to suck her thumb, we never encouraged it and never showed her how to do it. We just checked on her during one of her naps and there her little thumb was, in her mouth. It’s incredible how babies can learn to do things that you never teach them. I wasn’t sure it was going to catch on but over the never couple of days (she was 8 weeks old at the time) she started to do it every time we put her down for her naps. As I said above, to start with she could only put her thumb in when lying in a certain position so it was a sleep time only comfort to start with.

Hand to mouth co-ordination – Once she learnt to put her thumb in by herself she started to do it more and more, when in the pram, when lying on the floor to play, when she should have been having her milk. She learnt so quickly that she was in control of her own hand and I think it really helped her hand co-ordination and encouraged her to discover her hands more and more.

She can’t lose them – That probably sounds odd but what I mean is that dummies can be dropped, spat out, and thrown, they disappear under the sofa, under the bed, out of the pram but her thumbs are attached to her hands. No matter where we are I don’t have to worry about whether I have a clean or spare dummy with me.

Self soothing – Since she started sucking her thumb on a more constant basis she has been able to soothe herself when she is upset or unsettled. Of course if she is hungry her thumb is only going to pacify her for so long as it’s not giving her the milk she really wants but if she just wants soothing it does the trick. When she first started doing it in her sleep, she began to sleep for longer periods at night and by 12 weeks old she was sleeping through the night. I even asked my HV if she was using her thumb to soothe herself at night rather than crying out for her night feed, my HV assured me that if she was hungry she would let me know.

Longer sleep – Once she started to suck her thumb she began to sleep longer, during her naps and at night. We definitely saw a change in her behaviour as soon as she was able to soothe herself and keep herself calm and amused when she did wake up. Another thing I noticed about her sleeping was that there was always a little gap between her face and the side of her sleepyhead pillow. Even with her head turned to the side her little fist was always in front of her face allowing her thumb into her mouth. I felt less worried about her nose being too close to the side because I could see her little hand there creating a barrier.

As we approach 7 months old next week Amelia is still a huge fan of sucking her thumb, now I can see it as an indication that she is tired, restless, cranky or bored. Rather than being entirely dependant on the sucking motion like she was as a new born she is now quite happy to play with her toys instead although every single thing finds its way to her mouth eventually.

I am sure there are parents out there whose hair turns white at the thought of their child sucking their thumb but personally I like it, I am happy because my baby is happy and when you’re a new mum that’s ultimately all you want. A happy, calm baby.

Rachel xx

  • Reply
    May 22, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    Our babies are the same age and Stanley also loves his thumb!
    Totally agree with you on all 5 points 😊Great blog.

    • Rachel Ebuehi
      Rachel Ebuehi
      May 22, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Steph, thanks for your comment. Thumb suckers are just the best, unless you’re trying to feed them or take a photo 😂 I’m glad you like the blog thank you xx

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