Why did my toddler just start sucking his thumb now?

Recently my 17 month old began sucking his thumbs to the point of causing sores on his thumbs. He used a pacifier until 9 months and that wasn't hard to transition him out of, but he never was a thumb sucker. I just don't know why he's starting now. Is that normal?


Asked by thregis2002 at 1:49 PM on Dec. 28, 2008 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (3)
  • It could be stress related. Has he had any big changes in his life lately? My daughter started pulling her hair out at night as a method of pacification when we had some big changes happening.

    Answer by mistifers at 3:21 PM on Dec. 28, 2008

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  • I did start a job after being home with him for 5 weeks on unemployment. Plus the holidays have messed up his schedule and he's taking naps at weird times and sleeping longer. It's just so bizarre. I guess a part of me feels guilty like I did something wrong, you know?

    Thanks for the advice.

    Answer by thregis2002 at 6:16 PM on Dec. 28, 2008

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  • I'm sure it's stress related. The only way to keep him from doing it is to occupy or cover his hands. For some kids it could be as simple as getting "a really cool pair of special superman gloves." He won't be able to suck his thumb if it's covered. If that doesn't work the only alternative is to keep his hands busy until his schedule returns to normal and his stress level goes down.

    Take note of the times he is most likely to thumb suck. If it's TV time maybe encourage him to get up and dance to the songs or simply not watch TV. If it's bed time put him to bed with a book that takes two hands to hold.


    Answer by Butterflyechick at 7:09 PM on Dec. 28, 2008

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