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Thread: thumb sucking

  1. #1
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    May 2011
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    Default thumb sucking

    My LO just started thumb sucking and I noticed she hasn't wanted to eat as much or it's been a struggle to get her to take the breast. This is the only new thing I could think of. Does this happen? Has anyone else experienced this? Perhaps I am worrying prematurely, but she went two 5 hour stretches without eating which she never does. If it was one 5 hour stretch and she had been sleeping the whole time I wouldn't have worried, but one time she was awake for a good two hours before she would consider taking the breast. Before that she screamed everytime I tried to put her to the breast after she had just woken up from a nap where she thumb sucked.

    So does thumb sucking make a baby want to eat less? Why all of a sudden is it becoming a struggle to get her to eat? Am I overreacting?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    My little guy is a thumb sucker too. when he first started doing it he was going longer periods of time without nursing- at first I thought hey this is great but then I realized that he was wanting to nurse but since the "num-nums" weren't right there and his thumb was he often would start sucking his thumb. that is when I started to taking his thumb sucking as a signal to nurse. When the thumb went in the mouth I would pull it out and nurse him. How old is your LO? Mine found his thumb at about 3 months old.
    Jessica

    Moma to DS1-the monkinroanie (3/09) and DS2-the sweet pumpkin (5/12)
    Strong Women- May we have the delight of knowing them, the courage to be them and the privilege of raising them.
    And yes I know my spelling terrible (is that spelled right? )

  3. #3
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    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    My LO has never been a thumb-sucker, though she does chew on her finger when she's teething. I would definitely be concerned about the reduction in nursing. So much of the nursing they do as newborns is comfort sucking, and you don't want her to associate a finger instead of mommy with her main source of comfort. You still want her nursing as much as possible to set you up to have a good supply for as long as you and she want to continue breastfeeding.

    I don't know if this is much help, but I found this article by anthropologist Kathy Dettwyler to be extremely interesting (along with all her other writings on breastfeeding.) It's titled "Is it Normal to Suck Your Thumb."
    -Hannah

    SAHM-WAHM to lovely Lizzie, born at home 9/14/2010


  4. #4
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    I agree with prior posters and just wanted to add that they find comfort in thumb sucking. They are self soothing and don't "need" to be at the breast as often.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  5. #5
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kst.7399 View Post
    I agree with prior posters and just wanted to add that they find comfort in thumb sucking. They are self soothing and don't "need" to be at the breast as often.
    I read that article, and while I generally love Kathy Dettwyler, I found it quite offensive. My child wants to suck and gets annoyed that milk is coming out of the breast. She then sucks on her fingers or her thumb. Sometimes I'll even put a pacifier in her mouth because she wants to suck to sleep but is getting upset about the milk continuously coming out. And she is not given subtle signals that it's only ok to nurse every 3 or 4 hours. She nurses whenever she wants and for as long as she wants.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  6. #6
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    Feb 2011
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    My LO is 7 months old, so no longer a newborn, but I will often put her to the breast and pull her thumb out of her mouth at the same time, and she latches right on. Thumb-sucking is not necessarily bad-- when my LO found her thumb and perfected rolling over both ways, she started sleeping much longer stretches at night and started napping for more than 20 minutes at a time. But if she is really sleepy or really hungry, it can be difficult for her to give us hunger signals since the thumb is in her mouth so I offer a lot by pulling her thumb out at the same time I am putting her to the breast.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kst.7399 View Post
    I agree with prior posters and just wanted to add that they find comfort in thumb sucking. They are self soothing and don't "need" to be at the breast as often.
    Amanda
    Formerly: baby-blue-eyes

    Canadian Mum to Naomi Born 03/17/08 and has a dairy allergy we are hoping she will outgrow. Nursed for 1 year
    And Gavin Born 01/13/10. 22 months, still nursing and already determined to find every possible way of giving me a heart attack with his dare devilishness

  8. #8
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommy2lilah View Post
    I read that article, and while I generally love Kathy Dettwyler, I found it quite offensive. My child wants to suck and gets annoyed that milk is coming out of the breast. She then sucks on her fingers or her thumb. Sometimes I'll even put a pacifier in her mouth because she wants to suck to sleep but is getting upset about the milk continuously coming out. And she is not given subtle signals that it's only ok to nurse every 3 or 4 hours. She nurses whenever she wants and for as long as she wants.
    in a perfect world I can lounge around all day and let my son suckle at my breast but unfortunately I have another child who has needs. I have been proud of both of my children for finding an alternative when I cannot be there.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  9. #9
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lizziesmom View Post
    I don't know if this is much help, but I found this article by anthropologist Kathy Dettwyler to be extremely interesting (along with all her other writings on breastfeeding.) It's titled "Is it Normal to Suck Your Thumb."
    That was a very interesting article! Thank you for posting it.

    DD1 is a thumb sucker. Both DH and I were too, so I just assumed that we were dealing with genetics so I didn't bother to discourage it. I don't mind that she does.

    DD2 doesn't really. Although her fingers get in there from time to time, it seems to be more about the moment than a habit with her. I don't know that I'm doing anything differently with her. Although it could be that I'm better at reading her queues now that this is my second time around. So I may be meeting her sucking needs before she feels the need to pacify herself.

    I will say though, that our society is set up for our children to need to self satisfy. Mothers need to go to work. Without us available to our babes to comfort with the breast, thumbs / fingers / pacifiers come into play. DD2 may still thumb suck, when I return to work at 1 year. If our society were better set up to allow Mom's to stay at home, longer, without the financial burden of possible ruin if we don't work - we might see less thumb sucking as with other cultures.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: thumb sucking

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kst.7399 View Post
    in a perfect world I can lounge around all day and let my son suckle at my breast but unfortunately I have another child who has needs. I have been proud of both of my children for finding an alternative when I cannot be there.
    I just want to clarify that I neither agree nor disagree with the conclusion of the article I linked to (not having any experience with a thumb-sucker, except my younger sister who sucked until she was about 7 or 8.) I just find it enlightening sometimes to think about the problems that arise in breastfeeding (of which I've had my fair share) from an anthropological perspective. Of course our culture doesn't allow our babies the same kind of free access to the breast that, say, chimp babies enjoy. But sometimes it helps to point us in a different direction when we look at the behavior of our cousins in the animal kingdom. Sometimes we find the answers we need, sometimes not.

    Sorry to OP if this is I hope you find the help that you need!
    -Hannah

    SAHM-WAHM to lovely Lizzie, born at home 9/14/2010


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