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Infant having the habit of sucking fingers. How to get rid of it?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
My 6 month old daughter keeps her fingers always in the mouth.even when she sleeps she has developed a habit of keeping fingers in her mouth.
Is this expected?We are worried if this will turn into a habiit which could be tough to get rid of
Posted Thu, 7 Jun 2012 in Growth and Development in Children
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.
Yes it's developmentally a normal sign for infants to suck their fingers at this age.
Actually, 4-6 months is about the age when babies discover their hands -- and find that they're wonderfully useful! They most love using them to get anything they can into their mouths, including their fingers. Sucking can be a sign of hunger, but if your daughter is eating and growing well, I don't think she's hungry constantly. Most likely, she's doing it to soothe herself, which is a very normal behavior; up to a third of infants suck a pacifier or their fingers. Unless you're ready to substitute something equally relaxing as often as your daughter sucks her fingers, stopping her could be hard and pretty upsetting for everyone. Also , finger sucking now doesn't mean she'll be a thumb sucker later.
So relax , please don't think this to be abnormal ,if the child is healthy, growing well ,achieving appropriate milestones then this will soon resolve once the child develops other means to pacify herself and explore the world by crawling ,grabbing etc some infants stop this habit on their own by 9- 12 months of age . If the habbit persists beyond that or the child does not show interest in other activities like clapping ,
grabbing objects etc then you should consult your pediatrician to assess the child for developmental problems or behaviour modification .
As of now your child seems to be absolutely normal and you need not worry.
Just make sure you clean her hands frequently .Also you may put clean mittens
( gloves )before she sleeps or even during the day to help in decreasing the habbit .
Hope I have answered your query.
I'll be available for any follow up queries .
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