Wean Your Child Off Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking
By 7 days pediatrics
September 12, 2017
Category: Pediatric Health
Tags: Thumb Sucking   Pacifier  

Thumb SuckingMost young children use a pacifier or suck on their thumb or fingers.  Sucking is a natural instinct for an infant and often sticks around as a comforting habit into the toddler years.  However, this can be troublesome if your child persists sucking a thumb or pacifier past the age of four or when the permanent teeth begin erupting.  The risk of these habits can lead to include overcrowded and crooked teeth, problems with the development of roof and mouth development and bite problems.   Sometimes the front teeth may even tilt toward the lip or not come in properly.

Pacifiers and thumb sucking usually stop on their own when your child begins pre-school or kindergarten due to the peer pressure associated with begins around other children their age.  However, if your child is having trouble giving up thumb sucking or a pacifier, your pediatrician in Edison can offer you some helpful suggestions.

How to Stop Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Dependence

As a first step in dealing with your child’s sucking habits, ignore them.  Most often, your child will stop on his or her own.  Instead of forcing a change, your Edison pediatrician offers these helpful tips:

  • Praise your child when he or she isn’t sucking their thumb or pacifier.  Be positive and do not punish him or her.
  • Reward your child if he or she does not resort to thumb sucking or a pacifier during stressful situations or falls asleep without sucking.
  • Try trading the pacifier for another special toy.
  • Don’t make it into a power struggle or a dramatic experience trying to wean your child off the pacifier.  Be patient and always remain positive.
  • Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety that may be causing your child to be dependent on sucking their thumb or a pacifier.
  • Bandage the thumb or place a sock over the hand at night to remind your child of the habit.
  • If serious enough, your dentist may also suggest a mouth appliance to block the ability to suck.
  • In infancy, avoid ever dipping your child’s pacifier in honey, sugar or syrup.

For more advice or counseling about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier habits, please visit Nimisha Shukla, MD at Edison Pediatrics. With help from your pediatrician, you can successfully wean your child off of their thumb sucking and pacifier habit. 

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