Lisa

Nurse. Mummy. Wife. Life.

Finger sucking

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When Jensen was born I honestly had no idea what I was doing. You have a feeling, and you do your homework before the baby comes, but it pretty much all goes out the window as soon as the baby comes. All you want is to make sure the baby doesn’t cry, and you do things you never thought you would to help calm and settle the baby. Walking around the house, holding them in some weird position, playing certain music, letting them sleep in the bed with you, dummies, thumbs, you name it. You really just do what you can to survive those first few weeks when you are trying to learn who your baby is and what they want.

Babies are born with very little skills to self settle. Learning to calm yourself and go to sleep is a skill that takes time to learn. Babies don’t know how to think rationally and logically and make that decision. They just know when something doesn’t feel right and signal you by usually crying. The trick, and often difficult task is learning to read your baby so that you can recognise what is wrong with them and then help them. What works for one baby, doesn’t necessarily work for another.

Over time your baby learns ways to help settle themselves. One way could be sucking their thumb or dummy, holding a blanket, or listening to music. There are all sorts of things that babies do to self settle. For my son it was finger sucking. From the day he was born he has been sucking his fingers. My husband and I remember being in hospital when he was born and when the room was quiet all you could hear was this loud sucking sounds. He would try and put his whole hand in his mouth. I let him, and now when he is upset, tired, or needs comfort he will suck his fingers. It works, and I have never seen a problem with it. The way I see it is that it works for him, and it’s not harming him- so let him be. I hope that as he gets older he will learn more coping skills and ways to comfort himself and then will gradually stop doing it.

Some people argue it’s a bad habit, and it will damage his teeth. As far as I’m concerned that’s just an opinion, and he is too young to be trying to discipline or go to great measures to stop him from sucking his fingers. He doesn’t even have any teeth yet!

He usually does it when I put him to bed. He will then suck his fingers while falling asleep. He is happy, and therefore I am happy! I tried the dummy thing a few times and he didn’t want a bar of it. Spat it straight out. But then all you are really doing is replacing one habit with another with that idea.

So for now I’m going to let him suck those little fingers till his heart is content no matter what anyone says and we will see where it takes us. (Hopefully not to the orthodontist) 🙂

Author: Lisa

Mummy to 3 under 4. Wife. Child and family health nurse.

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