IMPORTANT NOTICE: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for as long as possible. Growing up milks are formulated to meet nutrition needs of healthy young children older than 1 year and should not be fed to infants.
Does your child turn into a “wild creature” every time you try to stop him from putting his finger into his little mouth? Actually, this is what most thumb sucker children who find immediate comfort in this habit do. So, don’t worry if your child has the thumbsucking habit for he shall get rid of it as he grows up.
However, if you start noticing that your child has a difficulty speaking, playing or interacting with his peers because he’s too busy sucking or he’s spending the whole day sucking his finger which may negatively affect his teeth and mouth, then you will have to set a plan to help him gradually outgrow his habit:
- Determine the reasons behind your child’s habit and do your best to deal with them. So, if the blanket is the reason, hide it from him. If the hunger is the reason, always put a healthy snack on hand, etc.
- Ask your child’s doctor, grandparents and other close relatives, to convince him that ending the thumbsucking habit is a must.
- Reward your child for every positive behavior he makes. In this case, that could be stopping the thumbsking while in the car. As with rewards, you will encourage your bundle of joy to cooperate with you more than you could ever do with negative remarks, complaints and humiliation.
- Talk to you child about the causes lying behind the necessity of stopping the thumbsucking habit and ask him what you can do to help him achieve this goal: Is it by giving him a special reward? Is it by holding his hand at sleep time?
- Agree with your child on a secret code that will remind him of the necessity to stop sucking his finger, without embarrassing him in front of people.
- During the day, try to offer your child many distractions that will keep his mouth and hands busy for a long time, like toys, singing, drinking water with a straw and eating a snack that needs effort to chew on, etc.
- While your child is sleeping or napping, try to enter his room and remove his finger from his mouth.
All that said; don’t forget to show your bundle of joy lots of love and affection, and you would be surprised what your warm kiss can do during this transitional period!
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