My 2-month-old has recently discovered his thumb. He used to often suck his hands, normal baby behavior, and occasionally would "find" his thumb and happily suck for a while - usually when he was starting to get hungry. However, in the past few days he has started to suck his thumb much more often, almost constantly.

At first I let him do it because it was occasional, he seemed to enjoy it - and because a 2-month-old sucking his thumb is just adorably cute :) But now I'm starting to get concerned. Should I leave him and assume he'll grow out of it, or will this just let him cement the habit and suck his thumb for years to come? (I really don't like seeing 3+ year olds still sucking...)

If I should try to discourage it, what can I do? Should I just leave him alone? And if not, what are some ideas to break the habit?

I've tried pulling out his thumb and sticking in a pacifier instead (which he doesn't seem to take too often)... but a minute later I'll pass by and the pacifier is out, and a minute later the thumb is back in. (I'd prefer an addiction to pacifiers than to his thumb, considering that pacifiers can be taken away... Thumb-sucking is a much harder habit to break.)

I did look at the 2 following posts, but found that my situation was different, hence my question:

  • Ok, something funny that just happened that shows how addicted he is... I put him on the playmat and he was happily amusing himself. Suddenly I heard him half-crying, half-whining... Went to check it out, and everything's fine - clean diaper, not hungry, etc. Went back to what I was doing and he started crying again. Came back - and noticed that his stretchy is a bit big and the sleeves are too long, so he's trying to get at his thumb and can't... His sleeve is all wet and he's crying from frustration! Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 9:34
  • Some kids refuse pacifiers and at the same want the comfort from sucking. In those cases you probably can't do much, and have to deal with it when the child is older. Thumbsucking is a problem to quit, as you can't hide the thumb. But it is possible, and I think there is a thread on this as well. Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 10:20
  • Yes, there's a question about how to quit thumbsucking but that is already linked in the question though. Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 13:16
  • @Lennart - I think your comment comes closest to answering my question. I've found that there's not much to do about it now, and I just have to wait till he's older to get him off it. In the meantime I'll just focus on enjoying the benefits :) (You can't lose a thumb, and you have a pacifying method anywhere you go! ;) And it is so cute.) If you post your comment as an answer I'll accept it... Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 13:41
  • My daughter did this at 2 months also and she is 12 and just got braces BC she sucked it till she was 8! And believe me we tried everything to get her to stop! My son is 5 months and just found his thumb and of course I freaked out and have been trying to get him to stop with a paci, toys, etc. Even my daughter is like "don't let him!" I understand why we should allow them but I don't want to pay for braces again and not just that it pulled her whole jaw forward and he's just a baby I think I can out smart him and get him to forget about his thumb so I'm going to keep on keeping on with the di
    – user6784
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 21:23

7 Answers 7


Some kids refuse pacifiers and at the same want the comfort from sucking. In those cases you probably can't do much, and have to deal with it when the child is older. Thumbsucking is a problem to quit, as you can't hide the thumb. But it is possible, and I think there is a thread on this as well.


Sucking his thumb at this age is appropriate. The next stage will be putting most things in his mouth. Encourage your little one to explore his world through his mouth. There are more receptors and development there than the rest of his body at this age. Give him lots of appropriate toys & teethers to chew on too, especially when he can hold them. Sounds like you have a normal healthy baby!

  • I agree with some of this, but I don't think this is typical baby behavior. Yes, most babies suck their hands and put everything they can find in their mouth... But I have hardly ever seen a baby this age who constantly and consistently sucks his/her thumb. Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 13:39
  • One of mine did, at about that age.
    – Marc
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 4:18

Far from preventing him, you should be encouraging him if possible. This is great way for babies to comfort themselves - now that your son has found his thumb, he shouldn't need dummies/pacifiers any more. He's getting self-sufficient :-)

  • 3
    I would not encourage thumb sucking as it can cause dental issues; plus it can be very hard to break the habit. We transitioned our baby to a dummy so that we could break the habit when she was older (18 months) - this worked well for us.
    – dave
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 21:30
  • It is is not a great way to comfort yourself at all. It can cause dental problems and it's almost impossible to get the kid to quit. Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 16:27

As he is only 2-months, there is nothing wrong with him sucking his thumb, its only natural. As he grows older, he will gradually forgo this habit. But at the moment, he is a baby!

  • "As he grows older, he will gradually forgo this habit." - Or gradually learn to hide it from you. Depends on the kid. Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 16:28

Could he be teething? In that case he might find the pacifier too soft, and he's looking for something with more chewable resistance. Try offering him teething toys (put them in the fridge first for added effect) and see if he likes them more than the pacifier.

If he's not teething, it might be that he has discovered/decided that he dislikes that particular brand/model of pacifier. Try a few different ones, and test if their relative firmness/softness or shape makes any difference.

  • +1 for mentioning teething. 2 months is young for teething but my baby had some teething pains at that age. I was told by her ped that even if the teeth aren't near the surface, they are constantly growing, and can cause aches even when they're that little. In which case, cold teething toys may not help, but a lil bit of pain medication or teething gel might. Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 20:15
  • Thanks for great background info on teething - I couldn't have phrased it so well. Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 6:13

My first thought reading this was teething.

Also, it is a way for the baby to "self soothe" which is the beginning of a vital skill that they will need to learn for later in life. Hope that makes sense. When my little one was a few months old I read that if you do not offer a pacifier (dummy) or allow thumb/finger sucking it would be "cruel" (these are not my direct words, just something that stuck in my mind).

My LO didn't take to a dummy straight away but I persisted and once she got used to it she was fine with it. I was also told by my doctor that the saliva produced during the suckling aids digestion. x


I don't agree in thumb sucking. I suck finger untill I was 12 years old and believe me, it was very difficult and challenging to stop. After seeing my cousins stopped it encouraged me to stop. I also have two other cousins Presently sucking thumb, one is 14 and the other 19. There teeth alignment is pretty bad. So I won't encourage sucking thumb because of the difficulties and the expenses it can bring.

  • Hi Kerriann, and welcome to the site. Your answer is a good start, but can you add more information to differentiate your answer from the other eight here? In particular, information sourced from reputable sites or journals that backs up your statements.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 15:25

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