Jun 13, 2018
Sucking fingers - this is a problem about which there is no consensus. I will tell you about what is known, and I will make some assumptions. It is believed that this is a bad habit. Therefore, the mother, when the child first begins to suck a finger, tries to prevent him until it "becomes a habit".But we know now that this is not a habit, at least initially. The main reason that a baby starts to suck a finger, apparently, is that the breast or bottle with a pacifier does not satisfy its sucking instinct. Dr. David Levy showed that children who are fed every three hours, suck less frequently than those fed through four, and that children whose feeding time is reduced from 20 minutes to 10( because the nipple too softened and became old), are more likely to start sucking their fingers than those that are still feeding 20 minutes. Dr. Levy fed the litters of the puppies from the pipette, so they did not have the opportunity to suck during feeding. And the puppies behaved exactly like children who do not have enough sucking during feeding. The puppies sucked their paws-their own and others', sucked the skin so hard that wool came off it. If your child began to suck fingers on his hand, it seems to me, you do not need to stop it;better give him the opportunity to suck more breasts, or a pacifier with a bottle, or a pacifier. It is necessary to think over two circumstances: how many times the baby eats and how long each feeding takes.
When to pay attention to sucking fingers. Turning time on sucking fingers is necessary at the very beginning, and not when the child gets used to it. I emphasize this, because in the first months of life the child has poor control over the movements of the hands. You can see how he hardly lifts his hand and looks for it with his mouth. If he manages to bring his fist to the mouth, he begins to suck him energetically and sucks while the fist remains in his mouth. A child like the one who sucks his fingers shows that he does not have enough sucking and that he needs to be kept longer by the chest or by a bottle with a pacifier.
The child needs the most help in the first three or four months, because at that time he has the strongest need for sucking. In the following months, this need is gradually reduced. Some children become indifferent to sucking in seven months, others - only a year.
The instinct of sucking in newborns can be of different strengths. One child never sucks for more than 15 minutes and at the same time never puts a finger in his mouth, and another feeds for 20 minutes and tries hard to suck a finger. Some children begin to suck a finger immediately after birth and continue to do so. It seems to me that a strong sucking instinct in some families is inherited.
If the child sucks a finger a few minutes before feeding, do not worry. He probably does it from hunger. But when he begins to suck just after feeding and constantly sucks between the feedings, you need to think about a way to satisfy his sucking instinct. Most children start to suck their fingers before they are three months old.
I can add that it should not be confused with sucking a finger that most children start chewing fingers or hands when their teeth are pruned( usually at the age of three to four months).Naturally, a child who * sucks fingers, also chews them when teeth appear.
Sucking fingers when breastfeeding. I get the impression that a child who is breast-fed, seldom sucks fingers. Probably, this is because the mother gives him to suck his breast as much as he wants. She does not know when her breast is empty, and she gives it to the child. And when the child drinks everything from the bottle, he stops sucking. He stops because he does not like sucking air or because his mother takes the bottle away. So, the first question that arises concerning a baby on breastfeeding, sucking a finger: will he suckle his breast longer if he is allowed to? If so, then let it suck 30 or even 40 minutes, if that suits you. The child receives most of the milk in the first 5-6 minutes;The rest of the time he satisfies his sucking instinct, attracted by a thin trickle of milk. In other words, if he sucks for 35 minutes, he will get milk only a little more than 20 minutes. If the child is allowed to suck breast as much as necessary, the results will be strikingly different. In one feeding it will last 10 minutes, in the second - 40 and more. This is an example of how breastfeeding responds to the individual needs of the child.
If a child receives one breast at each feeding and does not want to eat more, you can not help it. But if he gets both breasts at each feeding and continues to suck a finger, another problem arises. Suppose, he usually sucks from ten minutes of one breast, then goes to the second. From the second breast he can get so much milk that in five minutes his stomach will fill up. Therefore, he stops eating, although he has not yet satisfied his sucking instinct, and therefore begins to suck a finger. There are two ways to make him suck breast longer. Try to check if he has enough milk from one breast during feeding, if allowed to suck for a little longer. If he does not eat like that, let him still suck his first breast anyway. Let remains at the first breast not ten minutes, and 20 if will want. Then attach it to the second breast, and let it suck as much as it wants.
Sucking fingers with artificial feeding. Usually the child begins to suck his finger on artificial feeding when he gets used to emptying the bottle not in 20 minutes, but for 10. It happens because it grows, it becomes stronger, and the rubber nipple - weaker. No matter how much time he spends on the bottle, first of all you need to change the pacifier, leaving holes in it, which are, and see if it will prolong the feeding time. Of course, if the holes in the nipple of the are too small for the , the child can generally stop sucking. Try to make the holes so that the bottles suffice for 20 minutes
at least in the first six months. I'm talking about real-time feeding. If you take a break in the middle of feeding for a few minutes, this time should not be taught.
If has a strong child, can empty the bottle in 10 or 12 minutes, even if the nipple is brand new and the holes in the are not extended. If so, buy "blind" nipples. They are produced without holes at all. Burn the hole in them yourself with a red-hot needle. Start with a thin needle and hold it for awhile, then check how the milk or mixture flows.
The bottles with screwed plastic covers have a special hole at the edge for air intake. You can slow the output of milk from such a bottle, if you tighten the lid tightly. This partially prevents the entry of air, creating in the bottle a rarefaction zone.
If the child is sucking a finger, do not rush to reduce the number of feedings. Satisfaction of the sucking instinct depends not only on the duration of feeding, but also on the daily number of feedings. Therefore, if you have extended lactation, and the baby continues to suck fingers, it is wise not to rush with a reduction in the number of feedings. For example, if a three-month-old baby is able to sleep through the evening ten-hour feeding, but at the same time constantly sucking his fingers, I would suggest waiting a little before giving up this feeding - maybe a couple of months if he eats when he is woken. The same applies to the transition from four meals a day to three meals a day.
How sucking fingers affects the growth of teeth. Perhaps you are worried about how sucking your fingers affects your teeth growth. Indeed, in children who suck fingers, often the upper front teeth project slightly forward, and the lower ones slightly recede. The change in the bite depends on how long the baby sucks at the fingers, and even more from the position of the finger in his mouth. But dentists believe that the slope of the milk teeth does not affect the bite of permanent teeth, which grow at about the age of six. In other words, if before six years the child stops sucking his fingers - and in most cases it happens - there is very little chance that he will cause permanent teeth damage.
But regardless of this, you naturally would like your child to stop sucking his fingers. The proposals I have outlined above will help you put an end to this.
Why not use the means of restriction. Why not tie your hands together or put aluminum caps on your fingers to stop them sucking? First, it will anger the child, which - theoretically - is harmful for him. Secondly, it usually does not cure the habit of sucking one's fingers. We all heard about desperate mothers who put on their hands tires or metal caps, smeared their fingers with unpleasant substances - and not for a day or two, but whole months. But as soon as they removed the restrictions, the finger was in the mouth. True, some mothers argue that the restrictions gave a good result. But in most of such cases the child did not suck a finger too often. Most children at times suck their fingers. And quickly get used to it, even without your efforts. I personally believe that restrictions only encourage the child to suck fingers longer.
Sucking fingers in older children. Till now we talked about children who suck fingers in the first months of life. By the year, sucking fingers becomes something completely different for the child. This is something of a consolation, which he needs from time to time. He sucks his fingers when he is tired, or when he is bored, or when he is angry, or to fall asleep. When he can not cope with the problem in an adult way, he seems to retreat into infancy when sucking gave him such joy.
Even if after a year sucking fingers satisfies other needs of the child, it is still the same child who sucked instinct for a year. It is very rare for a child to start sucking his fingers for the first time after a year.
Of course, you can not treat a one-, two- or three-year-old child with the same means as an infant, that is, extending the time of sucking a breast or bottle. And what can parents do? It seems to me that they should not do anything if the child as a whole is happy, satisfied, calm and busy and sucks a finger just before bed or for a short time during the day. On the other hand, if he sucks a lot of time, replacing it with a game, parents should think about why the child constantly needs to reassure himself. Perhaps a child is bored because he does not see much with other children or because he does not have enough toys. Or maybe he had to sit in a wheelchair for hours. A child in a year and a half can be angry with his mother if she keeps him from doing everything that is particularly attractive to him, instead of helping him find an interesting game. Another child has friends for games and has the freedom to play at home, but he is too shy to take advantage of this. And here he is watching other children and sucking a finger. I do not claim that every child sucking a finger has such problems. Even the happiest and well adapted to the environment of children are difficult moments, and many young children who regularly suck fingers, as if do not need any changes in the treatment of them;in fact they are very happy. I want to emphasize that if something can be done about sucking fingers, it's to try to make the life of the child better and more interesting.
What is said above applies to those children who are sucking a corner of a blanket or chewing the collar of a shirt, when they fall asleep, or are bored, or when they are lonely.
Tires on the hands, metal caps on the fingers and substances with a bad taste only make the child unhappy, but will not stop it at an older age, as they do not stop the baby. I think that, on the contrary, these funds reinforce the habit. The same can be said if you scold a child or forcefully pull his finger out of his mouth. I remember the story of Anne, who by itself stopped sucking her finger in three years. Half a year later, her uncle George returned, who used to live with them and constantly scolded her for that habit. And as soon as he appeared in the house, Ann immediately began to suck her finger again. Often you hear recommendations that you need to give your child a toy when he sucks a finger. Of course, the child should have enough interesting subjects, with which he could play, so that he does not get bored. But if every time he puts a finger in his mouth, you give him an old toy, he will quickly unravel your cunning. And what if you bribe the child? Suppose your child belongs to the few who suck a finger and at the age of five. You, of course, worry, think about what harm this will inflict permanent teeth. You have the opportunity to bribe the child, if only offer a good bribe. If a 4-5 year old girl sucks her fingers, she can stop if you let her make up her nails like an adult woman. But almost no child of two or three years will not have enough willpower to abandon the instinct, no matter how great the reward. You will only make things worse, but you will not achieve anything.
So if your child sucks a finger, make sure that his life is better. Perhaps it will help if the child repeats from time to time that he will grow big and stop sucking his fingers. This friendly encouragement will help him end the bad habit as soon as he is able. But do not scold him. And first of all - do not think about it. If you continue to worry after you decide not to say anything, the child will feel your alarm and will respond accordingly. Remember that the habit of sucking your fingers will eventually disappear. In the vast majority of cases, it passes until the appearance of permanent teeth. But it does not disappear immediately. For a while it seems to disappear, then comes back, especially in times of illness or when the child has a difficult addiction to something. And only with time disappears forever. This rarely occurs until three years, but usually sucking stops between three and six years.
Strokes and other movements. Most of the children who have been sucking their fingers for a year have some other habits. One-third or pulls a blanket, or a diaper, or a cloth toy. The other pulls himself by the earlobe or by the hair. The third presses a cloth to his face or strokes his nose and lips with his finger. These movements will remind you how the baby touched the mother's breast or her clothes when sucked. And when he pushes something to his face, he seems to remember how he once pressed himself to his chest. These habits usually disappear together with sucking your fingers.
If a child is very attached to a rag or an old soft toy that was pressed to him when he sucked a finger, a mother who takes care of propriety can be alarmed because it looks ugly. She will probably manage to take this rag or toy for a few hours, wash it and dry it, but besides this she can do little. Sometimes a child can replace an old object with a new one, exactly the same, but rarely. Given what kind of consolation and sense of security the old thing brings to the child, I think it would be wrong to take it away from him by force. He himself will give it up when he grows up. It will outgrow this habit - but gradually, with interruptions and digressions.
"Chewing Gum". Sometimes a child has a habit of sucking and chewing his own tongue until the food that he has eaten before is again in his mouth( as cows do).This habit is called "chewing gum".This is a fairly rare habit. Sometimes it occurs when the child is tied up with his hands so that he does not suck his fingers. Instead, he begins to suck his tongue. I strongly advise in this case immediately to allow the child to suck a finger before "chewing gum" has become a habit of it. Simultaneously, make sure that he has enough society, the opportunity to play and caress. It is said that food is better retained in the stomach if it is given in a solid form. You will have to give such a child milk only in the composition of puddings and cereals.