Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Michelle | 2010/03/02


Dummy or Thumb

My baby is 3 months old. He self-soothes by sucking his thumb. What would you advice - thumb or dummy?

Expert's Reply



Everyone has an opinion on this. Dentists seem to prefer babies to suck dummies to soothe themselves, but there is no strong evidence that dummies are better than thumbs. In fact a thumb is always available and cannot fall on the floor and does not need sterilising. Children appear to give up dummies and thumb sucking at about the same age so the question of habit forming is not a problem.

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user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2010/03/03

I''m definitely with the pead on this one. I don''t believe thumb sucking causes any harm to teeth and I even read a rather interesting study that said that neither dummies nor thumbs cause that many problems - the real problem is bottles.

My personal feeling though is that a thumb needs to be taken out of the mouth to play and to talk, so it''s just in there less than a dummy is, as children can continue playing with a dummy in their mouth and they just talk with it in there too.

I didn''t give my son a dummy and he never sucked his thumb either. I did breastfeed on demand though, so he was nearly constantly feeding, so maybe he didn''t need anything else to suck. He was very fascinated by dummies and used to yank them out of other babies and toddlers mouths much to my embarassment. He never put them in his mouth, just wanted to see what they were I suppose.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Neiras | 2010/03/03

My sister-in-law, a dentist, looked weird at me when I let my baby suck his thumb. He was just never interested in a dummy, he is now 13 months and gave it up thumb sucking a couple of months ago with no problem teeth.

Reply to Neiras

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