Humans are hardwired to not break habits, even when we know they're bad for us. It's no wonder that many children develop attachments to pacifiers and fingers. It starts out as a way for babies to self-soothe, but can quickly turn into a dental nightmare.
So what are we to do? It seems cruel to take away their source of comfort, but at the same time those future adult teeth are already being pushed aside. Below, I've listed a wealth of resources to turn to for making the right decision for your family. One thing they all agree on: weaning from finger sucking is a delicate process.
Check out this short blurb from the American Academy of Pediatrics, opens a new window for when anyone needs a reminder that thumb sucking is normal behavior for children.
What to Expect, opens a new window lays out all the reasons why thumb sucking is beneficial for newborns and babies.
Many ways to stop a child from thumb sucking seem incredibly stressful. Parents, opens a new window encourages making your child comfortable through the whole process and finding ways that won't hurt your child's self-esteem.
The American Dental Association's page for pediatric dental needs, Mouth Healthy, opens a new window, has a brief tutorial on what thumb sucking is and tips for talking to your child about ending the habit.
Dr. Sears, opens a new window, the famous parenting expert, has 12 ways to encourage your child to give up the habit.
This post by We Have Kids, opens a new window is one of the most comprehensive takes on this topic that I've found. It's also extremely well researched and places importance on families making their own choices.
Here's a take on finger sucking from a dental hygienist writing for Colgate, opens a new window (the toothpaste company).
In an effort to be truly transparent, my child has sucked on the first two fingers of her left hand from birth. No amount of pacifier introduction worked and now I can see her orthodontic bills skyrocketing. And I'm sure I'm not the first parent to witness a complete stranger pulling my baby's fingers out of her mouth.
Do your children suck thumbs or fingers? Were they able to break the habit? What worked for you?