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Old 02-27-2008, 01:06 PM   #1
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5 mo. suddenly thumb sucking

My BF girl started full time at nursery in January (at 4 months). She's getting pumped milk at nursery, but now 3 bottles per day instead of everything direct from the source. She's still BF in the mornings, evenings, and on weekends, and I try to give her as much gratuitous nipple time as she will take to make up for a lack of it during the weekday.

After she'd been at nursery for about 2 weeks, she started sucking her thumb when tired - also self soothing if she gets worked up, which isn't often. She didn't ever suck her thumb or fingers before this. She can fall asleep without it. If she falls asleep while sucking, the thumb comes out right away and she doesn't wake up again.

So am I finally at the thumb vs. paci decision point? Anyone else's child start thumb sucking either around this age or in conjunction with starting nursery who might have advice?

I've looked at other thumb sucking threads but most seem to be geared toward older kids.

Many thanks.

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Old 02-27-2008, 05:16 PM   #2
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Re: 5 mo. suddenly thumb sucking

My DD rejected the paci and started thumb sucking at around that age. She's 27 months old, and still does it when she is tired or injured. I had no problem with it then, and I still have no problem with it. I don't have to buy her replacement thumbs, and I don't have to go searching for it either. You can certainly try to get her to take a paci if you prefer it, but my guess is, you may not get any say in the decision between paci or thumb.
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:13 PM   #3
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Re: 5 mo. suddenly thumb sucking

We started DS on a pacifier at birth. My son, however, recently started sucking his thumb and isn't as attached to the pacifier as my daughter was. I try hard to give him a pacifier when I catch him sucking his thumb. Thumb sucking is cute when it's a baby, but disgusting when it's an 8-year-old (We had a second grader at our school who still sucked her thumb frequently on the playground and in the classroom). I easily "weaned" my daughter off her pacifier at 18 months when we threw the "yuckis" in the garbage .
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:33 PM   #4
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Re: 5 mo. suddenly thumb sucking

We started with a pacifier and now are an exclusive thumb sucker at 6 months (left thumb only!!) DD started at about 3 months and according to my ped, thumb is better for teeth than paci. To prevent crooked teeth from the thumb you have to get them to stop by the time their adult teeth come. The paci does damnage earlier than that. So we let DD suck away, its a great self sooth that we never have to find!
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:49 PM   #5
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Re: 5 mo. suddenly thumb sucking

My oldest was split pretty even between paci and thumb until she was about 9 months. At that point, she didn't really suck her thumb any more, and unless she was hurt, she didn't really want the paci, either, unless she could see. Was a classic case of out-of-sight/out-of-mind. My son never sucked his thumb, but did suck on his paci until he was just over 2. And my youngest would take a paci to calm herself down until she was about 4 months, then would only take it to go to sleep if she was really tired until abut 6 months, then would only go to sleep with the bottle for a few months, and around 10 months started to suck her thumb to self soothe and fall asleep. I never had a problem with getting rid of the pacifier with my older two. Honestly, I'm more concerned with my youngest sucking her thumb. At least the pacifier can be gotten rid of when it starts to be a problem, but the thumb is attached. Can't just toss it in the garbage.
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:09 PM   #6
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Re: 5 mo. suddenly thumb sucking

Same thing happened with our LO. I offered the paci from birth and had to hold it in at first, but she never really liked it that well.... so around 5 - 6 months I just stopped giving it to her and she didn't miss it... then she started sucking her thumb when she was tired..... and didn't want the paci anymore. I didn't want her to be a thumb sucker or attached to a paci, but it was really her choice... can't take her thumb away, but yet it's nice because she can always find it.

She really only seems to need it when she's really tired (she's 13 months old now) and if I catch her sucking it when it seems she's just bored, I try to distract her with something else... or play a game with her by pulling it out and saying, " I want it" "Let me have that thumb"... she thinks it's funny and will pull it out.

I'm not too worried about the thumb sucking until she gets older.... I'll continue to discourage her from sucking her thumb during the day and when she's older I'll have to figure out a way to discourage it at night. (A friend of mine had a five year old that she had to put gloves on his hands at night to keep him from sucking his thumb... and she explained to him why it wasn't good for him to do anymore.)

You can try offering the paci, but you might not have much luck with it now if your LO prefers the thumb.
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