The suction is a reflection that the newborn has even before his arrival in the world; scans show that the fetuses of 13-14 weeks already suck his tiny fingers. Even it is seen some babies at birth, a small blister on hand due to the suction maintained inside the uterus.
The act of sucking not only for the baby a nutritious functions, but also provides security, tranquility, calm and pleasure; this is called “non-nutritive sucking”. The mouth is the main sensory organ, along with the smell of a newborn.
With his feed, with his demand attention, and with it initially begin to explore his little world, starting with his own body. First move both hands in an uncoordinated manner, then sporadically take hands to his mouth, and within weeks will happen to introduce for sucking his fingers.
This need for non-nutritive sucking may subside with the use of a pacifier, which essentially fulfill the same functions. However, they are not few children who reject plastic nipple and prefer to suck his fingers. The thumb is the finger most often used, although there are children trying to get other fingers, or even the whole hand in his mouth.
In principle there is no cause for alarm because the child’s thumb sucking because it is absolutely normal and physiological, and helps the baby to explore his own body, to discover, and also learn to calm down only, using his own resources. Believe it or not, a few months baby sucking finger is a sign of maturity from the point of psychomotor view.
Up to what age is normal for a child’s thumb sucking?
Most babies suck his thumb at some point during the first year of life. It is usual to let do it progressively towards the two years; only 5% of children continue the habit more than six years.
In short, we could say that it ceases to be a reflex to become a habit from four years of age. However, it is not shown that thumb sucking is in itself no sign of emotional need.
Therefore, during the first year of the baby’s life is not recommended to follow no pattern to remove the habit, since it is a normal pattern of behavior. Thereafter it is advisable to see what times of the day is more likely to do so, this way there might be identified the situations that lead to this: if he is bored, if he is sleepy and cannot reconcile, if he fear … and use as well other resources to soothe his needs.
The problems caused by this habit are related to the teeth and phonation, so if the habit is maintained it is necessary to act before the onset of permanent dentition, about 6-7 years of age.