One day, all young parents are faced with the fact that the child constantly sucks a finger. If it makes a crumb, which is only a few months old, then it's not scary. Another thing is when a child is already 2-3 years old, and he does not pull his finger out of his mouth. And the only thing left for parents is to wean him from his bad habit.
Why is sucking reflex so important for children? Infants suck not only from the feeling of hunger, but also for full development. In this case, the child develops the brain, improves digestion, and all nutrients are completely absorbed. And for the normal development of this reflex, the baby needs a mother's breast. Often, especially when the baby is bottle-fed, he replaces the breast with his own finger.
This confirms even the experiment that scientists conducted in the 70s. Then, 50 children were taken for study, who constantly sucked their fingers. Their age did not exceed 7 years. This group was compared with another group of babies who did not have this habit. And it turned out that the mothers who did not suck their fingers did not breastfeed, unlike the second group of children. And so they replaced the chest with a finger to satisfy their need.
Most of the actions of young children are due to reflexes, including sucking fingers. But often the child sucks a finger because:
- He is hungry. It doesn't matter if the mother is breastfeeding or the baby is breastfed. Most often, thumb sucking means that the baby is hungry.
- He is concerned. Children feel the emotional atmosphere in the house very well. And in the first months of life, children are generally very sensitive to any manifestations of emotions. They may be frightened by the appearance of strangers in the house and much more. The only protection of the child during this period is the mother. And they are trying to suck a finger, replacing their mother's breast.
- He does not get enough contact with his mother. If mothers early wean a baby from the breast, etc., he feels a lack of love and communication with his mother.
- He is already teething. And he begins to pull in his mouth, not only fingers, but any objects.
When you need to sound the alarm
If a child sucks a finger up to 1 year, rarely what parents pay attention to it. Anxiety begins at the age of 1 year. It would seem that the baby should already stop sucking his finger. But pediatricians claim that even at this age there is nothing terrible in the fact that the baby continues to pull a finger in his mouth. Most likely, this happens reflexively and over time the child stops doing it.
And if the baby sucks a finger in 2 years? In this case, parents should pay attention to the emotional and psychological state of the child. Finger sucking at this age may indicate hidden fears and anxieties. If you miss this moment and do not help him, in the future, the state can only worsen.
How to wean a small child
You should not expect that the child to disaccustom to suck a finger independently. After all, the habit is very difficult to get rid of without additional help. Therefore, parents should help the baby quietly stop sucking on a finger. For this you need:
- In no case do not deprive the baby breastfeeding. Of course, if not for this very serious reasons. The baby should get as much mother's love and caress as possible, and the most effective way is breastfeeding.
- Stop using nipples and pacifiers. As practice shows, they only interfere.
- Make the baby's life calm and serene. Mom is able to convey her mood to the child, so she must leave all the stress and trouble behind the threshold of the house. For a newborn, mother is his whole world, so it’s not necessary to immediately put pressure on him with a large number of emotions.
- If the baby has teeth, then it is better to stock up on special toys in advance. With their help, the baby will be able to relieve the itching in the gums and will not stick his fingers in the mouth.
How to wean a child in 2-3 years
Children at this age often begin to suck their fingers when they try to calm down, because of boredom, etc. However, if the child began to suck his finger, it means that he constantly did it in infancy. Just parents could not wean him from his hobbies. And he remembers this, as this action has always calmed him.
Weaning a child at that age is necessary when his habit becomes permanent. If almost all the time the baby is cheerful and cheerful, and the finger sucks only, for example, before going to bed, then with time this will pass. In the case when the child does not take out a finger all the time, it means that something is very worried about him. Perhaps this is a tense situation in the family.
It is important to find out the reason for this behavior of the child in order to understand how to act. Some children are too shy to play with other children. Such babies can be seen alongside other playing children. They just watch what is happening and out of habit suck a finger.
So, you need to wean the baby. No need to scold the child for the fact that he reflexively put his finger in his mouth. Also, you can not sharply pull it up or immediately give a toy or sweets. In the first case, the child can begin to do everything the other way around, and in the second case, he quickly guesses the trick and starts using this method.
With children at that age, you can try to negotiate. Or explain to the baby that he will soon become an adult, and adults do not do that, etc. It is also necessary to ensure that the hands of the child are always busy with something. To do this, there are lots of toys that will not only distract the baby, but also contribute to its development.
How to wean from nipples
Most parents make the same mistake - change the finger on the nipple. And the problem does not go anywhere. In order for the baby to stop sucking the nipple, you must:
- Make an exchange. This is possible if the child is already 3-4 years old. You can exchange the pacifier for a toy. Let the baby choose a toy in the store and give his pacifier for it to the seller.
- Allow the child to use the pacifier only in a specific place. That is, to put some kind of restriction. For example, let him use it only in his room. Sooner or later, the child gets bored and he throws the pacifier.
- If this does not help, you need to distract the baby. As soon as he puts his nipple in his mouth, he should start singing his favorite songs, blowing balloons or reading with him. He did not hold out and make the company, forgetting about the nipple.
- You can talk to the child, explaining to him that using a pacifier, he will not become large and strong. This is especially applicable to boys. And the girl can be said that she will become more beautiful if she stops sucking the nipple. But it should be a little trick, and not a hoax, which children recognize very well.
What not to do
Some too busy parents often resort to various methods that not only do not help wean the child to suck a finger, but also harm. For example, you can not smear the fingers of a baby with garlic or mustard, hoping that he will stop putting them in his mouth. It can burn the mucous of the stomach and mouth with such bitter substances.
Also, do not scream and scold the child if he does not listen and continues to suck his finger. In public places, the baby’s finger can simply be removed from the mouth. At home, try to distract him and retrain. But to drive into the stress of the baby, who is already in nervous tension, is not an option at all. Not suitable as assistants and various special children's gloves. The child simply does not understand what his fault is and why he is constantly being shouted or punished. And very young children up to 3-4 years old, by virtue of their development, can simply forget the instructions of their parents. Therefore, it is necessary from time to time to gently remind and, of course, be patient.
Thumb sucking and teeth growth
This is very troubling to many parents whose children continue to suck their fingers. Any dentist will say that this habit leads to improper growth of teeth. The upper teeth most often come forward, and the lower teeth begin to grow a little further. And the longer he sucks his fingers, the more visible the difference between the upper and lower teeth. But since the teeth in children change at the age of 6-7 years, they may not suffer. Of course, if by that age the baby no longer sucks a finger.
Usually, children stop sucking their fingers when they reach the age of 5-6 years. But you can prevent the development of this habit. It is enough to breastfeed the baby and at the same time do so for as long as the baby needs. Then the baby's sucking reflex will be satisfied, and he will not suck his finger.