Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thumb Sucking

Henry has been a serious thumb sucker since he was 3 months old.  We took his pacifier away at the start of sleep training.  He happily replaced it with his thumb and never looked back.  We’ve always seen his thumb sucking as a blessing. When he gets frustrated or unhappy he pops his thumb in his mouth.  His thumb also helps him fall asleep like a pro, and if he wakes up in the middle of the night he uses it to fall back asleep on his own.  We run through our sleepy time ritual, put him down in his crib, he grabs his sleep sack, sucks his thumb and closes his eyes.  Thanks to the thumb, car rides are pleasant as he usually sits quietly in the car sucking his thumb and looking out the window.  I sometimes wonder if the thumb sucking is inhibiting his development, but then I remember that it is comforting for him and it isn’t hurting him.  He would be a different child without our friend the thumb.  I do, however, try to curtail the thumb sucking when it’s gratuitous. 

Unfortunately, our thumb sucking bliss almost came to a screeching halt last week when I noticed a yellow callous and 2 open raw gashes on his thumb.  He had cracked skin from the dry air and constant sucking.  I found some home remedies online that worked in 1 day.  I fed him homemade tomato sauce (with carrots, celery and onion blended in), cranked up the humidifier and rubbed petroleum jelly on the dry area a few times a day.  I researched the effects of ingesting petroleum jelly to ensure a little would be harmless.  Thankfully due to one, two or a combination of the above remedies, the yellow callous has completely healed.  The cracked skin is slowly healing and looks like it will clear up in a couple days.  According to our pediatrician, there is no need for worry unless puss develops.  

I’m sure when Henry turns 2 we’ll start discouraging the thumb sucking to avoid damage to his teeth, but until then I think we’ll let sleeping dogs lie.

1 comment:

  1. Whatever helps a baby sleep is a good thing - two of my three were/are serious pacifier users. No ill effects (and the oldest was 3 before he completely gave it up)!