Baby Gray entered this world ready to suck his thumb. I had to plead with the nurses to let me give this breastfed baby a pacifier before he was two weeks old (it was more like two hours old, really). Let me tell you, he was really deterred from eating by that pacifier… NOT!
I had a horrible fear of a child who sucks their thumb based on the few bad stories I had heard and some experiences of my own. When I was teaching third grade, I had a student who still sucked her thumb. When I was teaching kindergarten (and we still had rest time), I had several who still sucked their thumbs while they napped. My brother and aunt both sucked their thumbs until they were way past thumb-sucking age. I didn’t want the weird, thumb-sucking kid.
As time has gone on, Baby Gray has continued to suck his thumb in the absence of a pacifier. He loves his paci, and he holds it, chews on it, sucks on it, and whatever else, but he uses his thumb to self-soothe. It took me a while to see it, but kiddos who suck their thumb are, in a sense, taking care of their own needs. He is showing me he knows he is comforted by sucking, and that’s a way he can do it himself.
Plus, he’s so stinkin’ cute while he sucks this thumb anway! I’m pretty sure I’m over my thumb-phobia. (On a side note, I visited with the pediatrician about it, and she said most children give it up naturally with praise rather than resistance. Dually noted.)